'diana' Deluxe Edition (2CD)

Released on July 28/29th 2003


All music samples are from the original CHIC mix

CHIC's Diana Ross project was released in the spring of 1980, amidst rumors of a major fall out between the diva and, CHIC's creative core, the projects producers Bernard Edwards & Nile Rodgers. Those rumors had Diana Ross taking the tapes and having Motown remix them to her liking. Because of this there has been a long standing wish by the CHIC fan community to hear the original 'CHIC' mix of this album, and that day has finally come, though it took 23 years.

Comparative review of the original CHIC mix from the 'diana' Deluxe Edition (10/8 2003)

Oh happy day...FINALLY!
7:30am and there's only one item I'm interested in mr. postman!
Off with cellophane-excellent sleevenotes, excellent packaging under the cds showing the tape masters sleevenotes. Even though I've been playing my original vinyl copy in anticipation for 2 weeks, I decide to play the cd from the beginning...
...until we get to track #16, original Chic mix.
Main difference is that the Motown mix is punchier. Chic's version more "lush". More strings throughout. Different lead vocal in parts too.
BONUS: More Nile guitar at the end. You have to say that Russ has made Chic sound raunchier. At the end of the second verse, on his remix he put in a keyboard stab just as she starts the chorus. It's not evident on the Chic mix & it's always created a "peak" for me, pretty much what he felt some of the tracks needed according to the sleevenotes.
Preference: released version. Just.
Sounds like classic Chic. Russ broke it down to just vocal & bass & drums with pizzacato strings & then brought Nile's guitar in towards the end of the track when she sings "please be gentle", genius. He gave the Chic rhythm section a moment to groove. But he then edited what is now a fantastic piece of music. It was criminal. But we have it now.
Preference: Chic mix
Russ it seemed preferred to strip down Nile's flowery guitar licks & present the song on it's own 2 feet. I always thought this didn't sound at all like Chic. The Chic mix is perfectly in keeping with how they wrote & produced their ballads at the time. I liked Russ's version but I always wished Tony Thompson's playing was a little higher in the mix, just as on the Chic mix.
Preference: released version. At the moment...
Russ you have to say made some crucial changes to this track-repeating the rallying cry several times during the intro. We have heavier drums too. Giving us a different vocal lead-Diana sounds a little desperate to be "loose" & shake off any shackles & let rip. Unusually, Chic never really encouraged too much ad-libbing & with the exception of Kathy Sledge, preferred the song to take centre stage & not allow too many vocal acrobatics. Diana's going for it though. Perhaps they wanted to get a more soulful vocal performance.
Russ also gave us her triumphantly screaming "I'm coming...OUT!" at the end of the track which isn't there on the Chic version. We also hear the trombone solo which sounds unfinished on the Chic mix. Not unusual when you recall similar saxaphone performances on Chic's "Baby Doll" & "Just Out Reach".
Preference: released version
Glorious. Aside from Diana's opening "Even back at the ranch", vocal, absolutely glorious. Russ suppressed a lot of the guitar licks which are now
audible.Their inclusion makes this track even better now.
Preference: Chic mix
My favourite track at the time & I always thought there wasn't much tampering with this one. I liked Russ' touch of not opening straightaway with the chorus at the beginning. Other than that he pretty much let the tape run, aside from a few subtle touches fading in the guitar & piano towards the end. Then he deprived us of a minute of pure aural pleasure. Shame on you Russ.
Preference: Chic mix
Hardly touched again. Until you hear 'Nard's bass doesn't have that fretless bass/echo effect on it. I tip my hat off to you Russ for that effect made the track for me back in 1980. And you gave us an extra 19 seconds!
Preference: released version
Three minutes into this track & you think it's not been touched at all. Then WHOA! Classic Chic was edited out! SACRILIGE!
I do miss Diana's ad-libbing towards the end of Russ' version though.
Preference: Chic mix
Russ adopted the correct approach when it came to remixing-He effectively re-arranged the album. Breaking down some sections of a tune to accentuate & compliment Ross AND Chic and crucially the song. However, he criminally left out excellent instrumental breaks at the end of Tenderness & Give Up. It was reported that the Chic strings stayed with Diana after this album. You have to admire Nile & 'Nard to still create future classics after what was it seems, a bitter experience. Remixers over the years have tended to want to put their "stamp" on remixes. Replace the drums with a house beat, take out the guitar & replace the bass, losing the essence of what made it Chic in the first place. When Nile & 'Nard remixed some of their old tunes in the eighties, "Lost In Music" et al, it still sounded like a Chic record. You have to say that with the expectations for this album at the time, Russ Terrana did a rather good job. Yep, very exciting-all so familiar, yet so new, to finally have & to listen to.
by Glen Russell

Get album info on 'diana' 1980 release GO

Watch video clip of 'My Old Piano' GO

Read review of 'diana' 1980 release GO

special fan section courtesy of Glen Russell e-mail:glen@chictribute.com,
by pocat productions, sthlm 2003. e-mail:pocat@chictribute.com