Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Diana Ross: All the Great Hits [Motown, 1981]
First time through this double I said fine, perfect in fact--only aficionados will remember anything else. Even ascertained that the fifteen-minute Supremes medley, segued together from the originals rather than recorded live with her show band, wasn't offensive. But it is useless, and it's also true filler--imagine, her entire solo decade has been good for less than four sides of compilable material. This woman is nothing without a context, and beyond the obvious, Rodgers & Edwards are the only one she was ever made for--Ashford & Simpson's domesticity still sounds awkward on her after years of familiarity, and her movie themes are no better than Shirley Bassey's. The great exception is "Love Hangover," produced in 1976 by true hack Hal Davis, who with that song and that track could probably have gotten a disco classic out of June Pointer, Sarah Dash, Cindy Birdsong--though not Shirley Bassey. B