Monday, February 27, 2023

Truest statement of the week

To the extent there was a political perspective, it was provided by Paul, the former Texas congressman. In his headline speech, Paul falsely claimed that by eliminating the Federal Reserve, the US government would be forced to pay its debts and therefore could not fund military expenditures.

In reality, Paul’s program of austerity and debt elimination, if put into practice, would result in the evisceration of every single social welfare program in the United States, which is in fact the aim of the most right-wing sections of the ruling class and the program of the Libertarian Party.

Paul ended his speech with a call for an end to all “regulations,” i.e., minimum wage, social security, medicare and medicaid, child labor and work place safety laws, that “bankrupt the country.”


-- Jacob Crosse and Joseph Kishore, "The 'Rage Against the War Machine' rally: A reactionary political freak show"  (WSWS). 



Truest statement of the week II

Peace will win out over escalation only if the people raise their voice and demand it. On March 18 at 1:00 p.m. outside the White House, people from across the United States will converge in a powerful rejection of U.S. policy in Ukraine and the Pentagon’s entire global war drive. The war has been a catastrophe for Ukrainians, Russians, and all people in the world who fear an all-out clash between the two countries with the largest nuclear arsenals. We need to stop the U.S./NATO war machine before the world reaches the point of no return.

 -- "PSL Editorial – U.S./NATO responsible for one year of needless war in Ukraine" (LIBERATION).

A note to our readers

Hey --

Monday night. 

Let's thank all who participated this edition which includes Dallas and the following:

The Third Estate Sunday Review's Jim, Dona, Ty, Jess and Ava,
Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude,
Betty of Thomas Friedman Is a Great Man,
C.I. of The Common Ills and The Third Estate Sunday Review,
Kat of Kat's Korner (of The Common Ills),
Mike of Mikey Likes It!,
Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz),
Cedric of Cedric's Big Mix,
Ruth of Ruth's Report,
Wally of The Daily Jot,
Trina of Trina's Kitchen, Marcia of SICKOFITRDLZ,
Stan of Oh Boy It Never Ends,
Isaiah of The World Today Just Nuts,
and Ann of Ann's Mega Dub.

And what did we come up with?





-- Jim, Dona, Ty, Jess, Ava and C.I.





Editorial: Susan Benjamin needs to step aside from leading CODEPINK

We look at Susan Benjamin and wonder many things.   Including why she thought using Medea as her stage name would be a good thing?  

Is she going Greek on us?  In which case, why would a woman supposedly working for peace want to be some Greek help-mate to a man?

Is Susan going Shakespearean on us?  If so, how is that Medea -- who kills children -- a model for what Susan Davis wants to be.


peace fake


Susan Benjamin, pictured above in Isaiah's THE WORLD TODAY JUST NUTS "Peace Fake,"  is the face of CODEPINK and has been for many years.  For far too many years.  20 years should be enough.

She's as bad as Dianne Feinstein and Nancy Pelosi and Joe Biden -- long past the time they should have sat their tired asses down.

Susan didn't end the Iraq War.  The 20th anniversary of the start of that war is nearly upon us.  And Susan will remember it because it might get her some coverage in the media.  That's all it's really about to her.

Before Barack Obama was sworn in as president (the first term), Susan had joined with UFPJ and others to flee Iraq.  She'd dropped the issue repeatedly throughout 2006 and 2007.  The queen of the fake asses, making like the Red Cross rushing off from one disaster to the next -- basically  running to wherever news cameras were.

She was a lousy 'leader.'

Age has not made her any better.

She'll be out being the face of CODEPINK yet again -- the White face, right?

We can remember conversations with CODEPINK in 2005, when we still spoke to them, and they assured us that they were fully aware that they were seen as a group of White privileged women of a certain age.  But don't worry, they insisted, they were bringing in young people and they were bringing young people of color.

Two decades later, where are these mythical young people of color?  Every time we look up, it's Medea yet again crying for attention. 

If this was a serious group, they should've handed off the baton long, long ago.  But they refuse to do so -- over and over..

Do they not get that Susan Benjamin does not appeal to young people.  She's not relatable.  

Susan should move to the back and allow young people to move to the front -- even just younger people would be an improvement.  

There are young women in CODEPINK who make a difference.  Every now and then, they do an action that's amazing.  But they don't move up to leadership and they don't get to be the face of the organization.  Instead, day after day, it's elderly Susan Benjamin.  Out of step Susan Benjamin, in fact.

Suse got a little upset and took to Twitter recently.  She wanted the country to know that 'feminist' that she is, she had no problem standing on stage with a registered sex offender and War Hawks and homophobes and racists and transphobes.  Left to her own devices, she Tweeted, she would be up on that stage.  However, members of CODEPINK made it clear to her that this was not acceptable.

Guess what, Susan, it's not acceptable.

And that others had to point that out to you just goes to the fact that you can't represent CODEPINK anymore.  As Aretha sang, "It's a different world then where you come from."

CODEPINK needs to have young people leading it and young people as the face.   Susan can offer commentary -- like that column that 'feminist' Susan writes with a man every week.  But she needs to step back from leadership.  She's too damn old and she's out of step.  

If CODEPINK is more than a vanity project, she needs to step aside so that it can grow.

Otherwise, it's going to die with her.  And maybe that's what she wants.  And maybe the name she's going with isn't Medea -- maybe she means Media Benjamin because all it's ever been about for her was getting press attention.

TV: Is ABC even on the board

ABC seems to be on a non-stop losing streak.  ABBOTT ELEMENTARY is supposed to be the network's saving grace -- and it has won critical praise.  It's just unable to deliver viewers.  BLACKISH was cancelled for having similar numbers in its final two seasons.  Prior to that,  BLACKISH did deliver viewers.  Or there's THE GOLDBERGS.  For nine seasons, it delivered some form of an audience.  In its tenth season, the ratings have fallen down to ABBOTT ELEMENTARY level and ABC announced last week that THE GOLDBERGS was cancelled. 


Other programs like THE ROOKIE have also lost viewers but not so many that ABC needs to cancel the show just yet.  It's really not a good time to be ABC.  The network that was on top only a few years ago, now struggles for viewers and has given up in the struggle for significance.  

Losing Shonda Rhimes and Kenya Barris didn't help them.  Cancelling ROSEANNE didn't help them.  Worst of all, the garbage that they've put on is a non-stop embarrassment.  Possibly they can take comfort in the fact that this season, they only have one embarrassment -- but it's a huge one.

NOT DEAD YET -- unless you count the ratings -- is a a sitcom they wasted too much time and money on.  It was never going to be a hit.  A so-called comedy about death really requires comic genius.  They went with the run-of-the-mill talents both behind and in front of the camera.  

That's most obvious in their choice of a lead actress: Gina Rodriguez.  What made anyone think the tiny headed actor could deliver an audience?

It's not just her freakish appearance (in the land of TV and film, actors often have heads that are too big, they rarely have heads that are too small for their body) or the fact that she's made a career out of attempting to play much younger than she is (and failing repeatedly at that attempt), it's also her glaring lack of talent.  

It was evident in JANE THE VIRGIN.  An overhyped blend of nonsense that critics couldn't stop pimping (maybe with the DOBBS decision, they'd now find the character Jane trapped carrying another woman's fetus less entertaining), the show never reached an audience.

Some tried to argue that it had an audience for THE CW.  No, it didn't.  Non-stop pimping allowed it to deliver approximately one million viewers an episode.  For a few seasons.  Then it fell to half a million.  This at a time when, for example, SUPERNATURAL was drawing in three million or move viewers a week for THE CW.  

She was too old for the role, she looked freakish and she really can't act.  The latter part became especially obvious when she was going to be the next big thing in movies -- she and the press insisted as they promoted MISS BALA.  The film was a huge bomb.  The only thing worse than its ticket sales in North America?  It's global ticket sales.  As it became obvious that Americans weren't interested in financing Gina's deluded fantasy of film stardom, we were told, "She will appeal on the global market."  Did they never see that tiny head on top of that thick neck.  She was ridiculed in Latino markets for her looks and her attempts at acting.

Yet some idiot at ABC thought she was the actress to build a laugh-less sitcom around.  ABC decided the thing to do with NOT DEAD YET was to air two episodes in a row for the series premiere.  The ratings for that night made it clear that the show was a bomb.  At the half-hour, 800,000 viewers chose any other program over enduring a second episode of NOT DEAD YET.  Since it's so-so debut, it's bled viewers each week. 

They can point to WILL TRENT as a critical success and. unlike THE ROOKIE, not something Spelling and Goldberg would have churned out in the seventies.  In terms of viewers, it continues to build on streaming.  They can also take pride in THE COMPANY YOU KEEP.

As one friend said, "What do you know, ABC finally got THE CATCH right."  Exactly.  THE COMPANY YOU KEEP is like the earlier Shonda Rhimes' series only with charismatic leads -- Catherine Haena Kim and Milo Ventimiglia -- who have real chemistry together.  

And, honestly, that's all an escapist series like THE COMPANY YOU KEEP needs.  No one's viewing for social significance or dramatic reveals.  It's escapist entertainment.  

We spent the weekend watching another series on AMAZON, THE AVENGERS.

No, not an animated program about superheroes.  We were watching season five (or 'series five' as they would call it in the UK) of the long running espionage drama.  This was the season that the show switched to color and the second season that the British series aired on the US ABC network.

Yeah, as you try to muddle through an episode of THE ROOKIE grasp that ABC, once upon a time, had Diana Rigg and Patrick Macnee every Saturday night as Mrs. Peel and Steed.  If you weren't already depressed over the current state of ABC programming, that may do the trick.


Books (Marcia, Ava and C.I.)



Last week, Marcia's "Boze Hadleigh's Hollywood Gays" went up and we're talking to her about the book.  The author is Boze Hadleigh.  You enjoyed the book.


Marica: 100% and it really goes with the review you two did of Anne Heche's CALL ME ANNE.  We really need Boze Hadleigh's book HOLLYWOOD GAYS and books like it to reclaim history.  A whole group of people have been rendered invisible and since this people is a community currently under attack and since you have Republican members of Congress issuing bald face lies about what has come before, it really does matter.

Is that what stood out the most about the book for you?

Marcia: It really was.  Not only do you have people like Cesar Romero, William Haines, Randolph Scott, Richard Deacon, Paul Lynde, Waylon Flowers and others talking about their own lives, they talk about others including Agnes Moorehead, Tony Randall, Rock Hudson, Cary Grant, Ramon Novarro, Sal Mineo, Errol Flynn among others.  It's a large tapestry and we need to reclaim it and refuse to allow others to erase us.

Knowledge is power, of course, but there's also the issue of relating.

Marcia: Right.  And that's why WILL & GRACE was so important.  As Joe Biden said, back when he was vice president, it did a lot of good.  And there were people who didn't know any lesbians or gay men -- or realize that they did.  When people can grasp that LGBTQ+ members have always been with us, always a part of history, it will make a difference.  

What chapter of the book was your favorite -- each actor gets his own chapter in the book.

Marcia: I really loved Paul Lynde a lot.  It was funny.  But I also like Richard Deacon's a lot.  He played Mel Cooley on THE DICK VAN DYKE SHOW and he seemed like a nice guy but I felt sorry for him because he wasn't anyone's idea of a stud or a beauty.  Maybe if he were a young man today, he'd be better appreciated than he was in his own time.  But could I talk about something else for a moment before we wrap up.


Marcia: Actually, I have two things.  First up, the State of the Union Address.  One of you, C.I., noted in an Iraq snapshot that it was stupid for Joe to devote only a single sentence to LGBTQ+ and I think I know why you said that but I wanted to be sure.

Sure.  Joe's popularity was in the toilet.  That's for most of the summer.  Dems haven't delivered and they haven't done much we can be proud of.  That's pretty much the description of 2022.  When Joe's popularity moved up briefly -- before tanking again due to mishandling classified documents -- it was because he delivered on marriage equality.  It wasn't everything it needed to be.  But it was him making a promise and keeping it.  And most Americans -- especially Democrats -- can grasp that the LGBTQ+ community is under attack.  So Joe kept a promise, delivered on one, and also stood up for a community under attack.  That's what caused his popularity to rise.  And then came the classified documents issue and the thing to do was to shine in the State of Union.  And a single sentence is not enough.  He should have made it longer -- at least several paragraphs.  I felt that way before hand.  And since a number of Republicans chose to boo everything, all the more reason to make it longer -- let them be seen booing and hissing by all of America.

Marcia: That's what I thought you were talking about.  I did feel Joe delivered on that.  I was feeling kindly towards him.  And he should have used the SOTU to remind us of that.  Second question, did Anne mention Alec Baldwin in her book?

Yes, they knew each other, liked each other and worked together and she had many kind things to say about him.  

Marcia: Your thoughts on the lawsuit.

C.I.: The prosecutor is out of control and they're smart to make that an issue -- Alec's team is smart.  I don't see how she expects to win because you have to have SAG testify.  When the union testifies that Alec did what he was supposed to do -- what anyone would have done -- then that makes the whole case crumble.  

Marcia: Thank you for answering both of those.  I do want to emphasize that I agree with you and Ava that if someone can't come out in life, at least come out after you're gone.  Do an interview now that can be published after you pass.  There are so many people you would influence.  Coming out now would be great if you can -- and I don't understand why people can't -- but I came out in elementary.  But if you can't come out for whatever reason now, make sure that your truth will be known when you pass.  We exist.  We are part of history and it pains me that we have to justify ourselves.

Marcia, can we ask you to speak to something. 

Marcia: Sure.

A point we make repeatedly -- in writing, in talks -- is that an elected official claiming to help children is not helping them with nonsense like ''don't say gay.''  We point out that these people are ignoring that gay children are in elementary school.

Marcia: And you both are right about that.  We are there.  And some of us know.  We know we're gay.  And your decision to pull books or try to silence conversations are not helpful to us.  It's nonsense.  I remember the kids in my class all looking at TIME magazine because it had a KING KONG story and Jessica Lange was pictured with her top down as Kong fondled her.  You don't know what's already in your libraries, to be honest.  And you can't kid proof them.  Even if you could, you're only hurting someone like me who knows she's a lesbian early on.  You're telling me that I'm not valued.  Stop saying you're helping children because you're not and, let's be honest, it's going to be the LGBTQ+ kids that are more likely to need help and books in school at a young age.  We're navigating and we need the resources.

Thank you so much, Marcia.

Previous book discussions this year:

 "Books (Ann, Ava and C.I.)," "Books (Trina, Ava and C.I.)," "Books (Marcia, Ava and C.I.)" and "Books (Ava and C.I.)."







CRAPAPEDIA.  It's more than earned that name.  Need an example?  Monterey Pop.  It was a huge music festival that pre-dated Woodstock.  If you read CRAPAPEDIA, they will tell you it was staged by Lou Adler, John Phillps, Alan Pariser and Derek Taylor.  See anything wrong with that?

Like maybe it's missing Michelle Phillips?  Not only was the Phillips money that went into the festival half her money, she also made constant phone calls lining up support and acts.  But the sexism of CRAPAPEDIA strips Michelle of her role (read her memoir CALIFORNIA DREAMIN' for more on the festival).  Because it's not enough that they sport sexism, they'll also serve up this:

The festival is remembered for the first major American appearances by the Jimi Hendrix Experiencethe Who and Ravi Shankar, the first large-scale public performance of Janis Joplin and the introduction of Otis Redding to a mass American audience.

Did your mouth just drop?

Same here.

Again, read Michelle's memoir.  Laura Nyro was in tears thinking she had bombed (they wouldn't find out until the late 90s, but she hadn't bombed).  To comfort her, Michelle put her in a limo and smoked a joint with her and ended up missing her "beloved Otis."  

Like many Americans, Michelle Phillips knew who Otis was.  Before June of 1967, he'd had five charting albums -- all top five on the soul charts -- including the number one OTIS BLUE.  Before June of 1967, he'd have 16 hit singles on the R&B charts and four top forty pop hits ("I Can't Get No Satisfaction," "Respect," "I've Been Loving You Too Long" and "Try A Little Tenderness").  A year before Monterey Pop, he'd played the Fillmore.

Exactly how was he needing an introduction to American audiences?  Do American audiences not include African-Americans, for example?

Usually, by the time someone has four singles on the chart -- let alone 16 -- they've been introduced to America.

Sexism and racism -- if CRAPAPEDIA couldn't sport that, what would they exhibit?


CRAPAPEDIA part II.  Does history matter?  Not to CRAPAPEDIA.  That's the only way to explain this in the entry on actress, singer, entertainer Teresa Graves (LAUGH-IN, GET CHRISTIE LOVE, etc.):

Graves was the second African-American woman to star in her own hour–long television series and the first for a drama television series.[1][2]

[. . .]

Graves pivotal role in the 1974 ABC crime drama television movie and later series Get Christie Love! featured Charles Cioffi and Jack Kelly as Lieutenants Reardon and Ryan, respectively, Love's supervisors. At the time of the series creation, Graves' was noted as the second African-American woman to star in her own hour–long television series, after Diahann Carroll in Julia which aired six years prior. An article in the November 1974 issue of Jet magazine described Graves as "television's most delightful detective, the epitome of a tough lady cop with more feminine features than Venus".[6] In 1983, Graves retired from show business to devote her time to her faith.

See the problem?

JULIA wasn't an hour long program.  It was a half-hour sitcom starring Diahann Carroll.  So Teresa couldn't be the second African-American woman to star in her own hour-long TV series if we're counting JULIA as the first.

Cicely Tyson was part of an ensemble cast of 1963's EAST SIDE WEST SIDE (fourth of the five billed actors).  It was an hour long drama headed by George C. Scott.  She was not the star -- it was an ensemble (she played Scott's secretary) so we wouldn't consider her the star anymore than we'd consider Karen Valentine the star of ROOM 222.  If you are going to consider her the star and not part of an ensemble, then Teresa wouldn't be the second woman.  It would be Nichelle Nichols for STAR TREK.  But unless someone can think of an actress who starred in an hour long drama -- carried the show -- before Teresa Graves, Teresa holds the record. 

2023 passings


Lisa Presley -- Elaine noted her passing.

Christine McVie -- Kat covered her passing.


Adam Rich -- Marcia noted his passing.


Jeff Beck -- Kat noted his passing.


Lance Kerwin -- Rebecca noted his passing.

Barrett Strong -- Ruth noted his passing.


Lisa Loring -- Rebecca noted her passing.


Burt Bacharach -- Rebecca noted his passing.


Raquel Welch -- Elaine noted her passing.


Stella Stevens  -- Rebecca noted her passing.


Richard Belzer -- Ruth noted his passing






The Hate Merchants

This is a list of people who attack the LGBTQ+ community.  They're hate merchants and should be avoided at all costs.

1) Marjorie Taylor Green

2) Ron DeSantis

3) Lauren Boebert

4) Anthony Monteiro

5) J.K. Rowling

6) Kristi Noem

7) Kim Reynolds

8) Marco Rubio

9) Rand Paul

10) Tucker Carlson

11) Greg Abbott

12) Ron Johnson

13) Todd Aiken

14) Doug Lamborn

15) Dan Burton

16) Candace Cameron

17) Kirk Cameron





"Mafia Wives (Susan Williams' WHITE MALICE)" -- C.I. reviews this book.


 "The Sewing Circle" -- Marcia reads Axel Madsen's THE SEWING CIRCLE.


 "Ellen Sander's The Lifestyle That Classic Rock Unleashed" -- Trina reviews this book.

"Phyllis Diller 1917 – 2012: News, Quotes, Interview" -- Ann reviews this book.

"Call Her Heroic (Ava and C.I.)" -- Ava and C.I. review this book.

"Boze Hadleigh's Hollywood Gays" -- Marcia reviews this book.





Tweet of the week


Marcia reviews Boze Hadleigh's HOLLYWOOD GAYS

Reposting Marcia's latest book review:

Boze Hadleigh's Hollywood Gays

Okay, book review.  This week I read Boze Hadleigh's Hollywood Gays: Conversations With: Cary Grant, Liberace, Tony Perkins, Paul Lynde, Cesar Romero, Randolph Scott.

I really loved this book.  

Paul Lynde comes across very funny.  I think I enjoyed most reading his chapter and the interviews with Dick Sargent and Waylon Flowers.  

And it's really something to read this book.  I think it was the right week for it because it was the week Ava and C.I. noted "Call Her Heroic (Ava and C.I.):"

We're told that various people can't come out because it would destroy their careers.  We don't believe that.  But, okay, fine, stay in your closets if you have to.  What's the reason for keeping someone closeted after they've died?


THE NEW YORK TIMES supports enshrining the dead in a closeted tomb.  Of course, they do.  They have to.   Mel Gussow reviewed or 'reviewed' plays and based his opinions on who he slept with -- if, he slept with an actor in the play before the play (especially if he paid for sex), he panned the play.  Gussow wasn't alone at THE TIMES and to this day we're all supposed to pretend that this well known john to countless men was straight.  It goes to the paper's image.

We don't give a s**t.  The image -- the false image -- needs to be dismantled for truth.  Even if you did nothing in life to help equality, in death your truths can help others.  Your truths can explode the lies of right-wing hate merchants who want to pretend that there is no historical truth to LGBTQ+ persons.  Your truths can provide reality to the ignored history.


As CALL ME ANNE makes clear, Anne Heche always lived in her truth.  As life made clear, even in her final days, Anne had to take hate from people.  She was so much better than the times she lived in.

 There are truths in the book that provide reality.  So many gay people who were in the closet.  So many that we embraced and that knowing the truth about would make a difference. 

Cary Grant.  Why can't his daughter talk about the truth today?  Who's going to be harmed?  Randolph Scott is in the book -- Cary's lover.  The book has people talking about Gary Cooper.  They were talking about some millionaire kept him.  I thought, "I didn't know Anderson Lawler was rich."  Anderson was his love affair.  Turns out, he also had a rich man who kept him.  

I liked the chapter on Caser Romero -- especially when they talked about books on gay actors -- like Sal Mineo -- were minimized or avoided and when they wrote about someone who had come out as bi -- like Marlon Brando -- results in a book that ignores his public comments and instead renders him straight.  

It's historical and really increased my understanding and perspective.

Gays were hidden and not by accident and not just in the 50s.  

It's a really great book.  Also loved the chapter with Richard Deacon -- Mel Coolie on The Dick Van Dyke Show. 

I read the book on Amazon Kindle and strongly recommend it.

Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Kat's Korner: The re-release of Diana Ross' SURRENDER

Kat's latest music review:

Kat's Korner: The re-release of Diana Ross' SURRENDER

Kat: "Don't you know I'm taking my case to the highest court of love and these are some of the crimes you'll be found guilty of."  My nephew Matt used to sing that all the time as he'd play in his grandparents' (my parents) backyard.  The Ashford & Simpson song featured an incredible lyric opening and, of course, an amazing vocal by one of America's greatest singers.  

Diana Ross is a huge star today.  She's had a string of hits like no other.  And was recently nominated for a Grammy for her THANK YOU album.  She's an Academy Award nominated film actress on top of everything else (LADY SINGS THE BLUES), a Golden Globe winner and a Tony winner.  Success is linked to Diana Ross.

But it wasn't always so obvious.  

She took a big leap at the start of 1970 as she stepped away from Diana Ross & the Supremes -- the only group to rival the Beatles on the US top forty during the sixties.  The big leap was the solo career.  

With the Supremes, she'd sung lead on 29 top forty hits (I'm counting top forty in the US -- both pop and R&B charts) -- and for the 29th, I'm counting the dance chart in the 90s when a remix of "Someday We'll Be Together" charted).  Solo? 62 recordings became top forty hits on the US chats (pop, soul, adult contemporary and dance -- 62 includes her vocal on "We Are The World").  

What seems so obvious now was a gamble in 1970 and it could have gone either way. 

DIANA ROSS was a hit in 1970, all the way to number one on BILLBOARD's Soul Album Chart.  And EVERYTHING IS EVERYTHING was also a hit.  But it was a less focused album.  It might be an album that would benefit from a reissue.

I say that because Diana's third solo album, SURRENDER, benefits from a reissue.  

It's one of the three albums that Diana did with Ashford & Simpson -- Nickolas Ashford and Valerie Simpson -- producing (and with most of the songs written by the duo).  DIANA ROSS, SURRENDER and THE BOSS.  I had always felt SURRENDER was a rather weak entry in the trio. 

What the re-release does -- on thick vinyl -- is let SURRENDER reclaim its own legitimacy.  

I don't think, for example, that you can understand Michael Jackson's THRILLER without first listening to Diana Ross' diana album ("Upside Down," "I'm Coming Out," "Have Fun Again," etc) and you really can't get appreciate Michael's earlier vocals without listening to the remastered SURRENDER.

I had SURRENDER on CD.  I never had it on vinyl.  I don't think I had it on cassette but you know my memory.

SURRENDER on CD isn't worth any amount of money unless you just want to have every CD that Diana released.  It's sound quality -- like too many of the ones MOTOWN produced in the 80s -- is very poor and makes the album sound underwhelming.  (In 2008, an expanded version was released on compact disc, I've never owned or heard that release.)  

In publicizing their release, ELEMENT (the label) notes,  "Limited Edition LP. Deluxe 180-Gram Reissue. Including Original Artwork & Credits. The third studio album by American singer Diana Ross, Surrender was released by Motown Records on July 6, 1971. The album saw her reuniting with writer-producer team Ashford & Simpson who had overseen her self-titled debut album in 1970."

Don't get excited about 'original artwork.'  That's the cover and back cover.  Otherwise, all you have is the white sleeve the album comes in.  Don't get excited about "credits" either -- there are no credits -- other than songwriter and producer credits.  They're on the back cover. 

And don't get excited about it arriving if you do order it.

There are two stories there.  The first is ELEMENT wasn't ready to meet the requests.  The second is AMAZON fell asleep on the job.

I did an advance order of this album which meant I was supposed to have it on January 27th.   I did not.  And I was not happy.  AMAZON, in replies to my questions about this (and I did note I was going to be writing about this), insisted that it was the label's fault.  They hadn't provided the product.  They also changed their listing to "not in stock."  So that was part of the delay.

But two weekends ago, I'm looking around and still waiting on the album when I see that AMAZON no longer lists it as "not in stock" and is also promising delivery within six days.


I'm back online arguing with them.  It takes three days of arguing to get an informed response.  Oops, they forgot they had people waiting.  It was out and they were shipping, but oops, they forgot that some of us had ordered in advance.  They forgot us, Woops.  Sorry.  

So the album that I was supposed to receive on January 27th never arrived until February 21st. 

If you go to AMAZON now, you'll see "only six left in stock." (WALMART and TOWER RECORDS have it in stock and don't note that they're limited on the amount they have -- WALMART has it cheapest at $21.57 currently.)

I'm telling you that because I don't want to hear you complaining to me if you order it and you have trouble getting it. 

That happened long ago with Holly Near's album with Emma's Revolution.  It wasn't a very good album to begin with but they couldn't deliver it -- and this was digitally.  I got so many e-mails complaining about that -- complaining as though I was over digital releases -- that I've not been in the mood for it again.

So you have been warned.  

If you walk into a record store and see it, grab it.  If you're willing to possibly wait a month, order it.

What have you got if you do?

A great album.  I am so impressed with this vinyl copy.  The music and the vocals are front and center.  The 80s MOTOWN reissue made the music sound small and tinny.  With this reissue, you get the mountains and valleys of soundscape that Nick and Valerie came up with to accompany Diana's thrilling vocals.  And the vocals are so much more thrilling.  

I don't know, for example, why "I Can't Give Back The Love I Feel For You" wasn't a single.  

Diana has posted the song on her YOUTUBE channel, four years ago, and it's a pretty strong version in terms of sound.

As strong as that sounds, it sounds even better on the vinyl version.  

Side one is a hit on all five tracts -- perfection.  And I love the background vocals from Nick and Valerie and from Diana Ross herself.  I hadn't noticed her in the mix before the vinyl.  But mainly, I love marveling over Diana's lead vocals.  

"Didn't You Know (You'd Have To Cry Sometime)?" is an Ashford & Simpson song Gladys Knight & The Pips released in 1969.  It made it to number 11 on the soul chart.  It's a strong recording.  But Diana's version is the definitive one.  The thrill of hearing her roll the note up as she sings "know" in the chorus, the talk-singing of the second verse (the conversational way she phrases it), the final chorus, it's all a dazzling piece of art.

The vocal on "A Simple Thing Like Cry" is equally amazing -- the way she throbs and draws out "cry" in the chorus.  And the piano figures throughout.  Why isn't someone begging Valerie Simpson to not just sit down at the piano for one of their albums but also to produce it?

The vinyl re-release of SURRENDER makes clear it's part of a one-two-three punch for team of Ross, Ashford and Simpson.  As for Diana, she's had 103 recordings make the top 100 of the US charts and listening to SURRENDER makes clear why.  "I'm A Winner" is one of the songs on side two and she certainly is.  

This edition's playlist




1) Diana Ross' SURRENDER.






4)  Diana Ross' THANK YOU

5) Robbie Williams' XXV

6) Sam Smith's GLORIA.



10) Billy Davis Jr. and Marilyn McCoo's BLACKBIRD: LENNON - MCCARTNEY ICONS.




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