The next studio album “Touch Me in the Morning”, released on 22nd June 1973, was another significant project because it returned Diana Ross to number one on the Billboard Soul and R&B Albums Chart, week-ending 25th August 1973 (2 weeks) for the first time since the self-titled album “Diana Ross”. It also reached number five on the Billboard Top 200 Albums Chart and number seven on the UK Official Pop Albums Chart week-ending 1st September 1973 (1 week) and spent thirty-five weeks on the chart.
On this album Ross collaborates with various producers and arrangers including Gil Askey, who was part of Motown’s Artist Development Department, which included Maxine Powell, Maurice King, Cholly Atkins, and Harvey Fuqua. Askey also became a member of staff at Curtom Records, once co-owned by the late Curtis Mayfield. He wrote, conducted and arranged several major hit albums for Linda Clifford and other acts on the label. Another collaborator was Michael Masser who co-wrote and co-produced the single “Touch Me in the Morning”, the first major hit of his career. He went on to produce Whitney Houston’s debut self-titled album that sold over fourteen million copies in America and also co-produced the majority of tracks on Teddy Pendergrass’ post-accident gold-certified album “Love Language”.
Deke Richards, Michael Randall and Diana Ross herself made contributions to the production. The album obtained gold certification in England for 100,000 copies sold according to the BPI on 1st May 1974. The title track “Touch Me in the Morning” peaked at number one on two Billboard singles chart listings: the Billboard Adult Contemporary Singles Chart week ending 28th July 1973 (1 week) and the Billboard Hot 100 Singles Chart week ending 18th August 1973 (1 week). The song was nominated for a Grammy Award for “Best Pop Female Vocal Performance” in 1974. The arrangements were conducted by Gene Page, Tom Baird, Michael Randall, James Anthony Carmichael, Deke Richards, Gil Askey and Diana Ross, which gave the album a great variety of moods and performances, incorporating a smooth relaxing jazz fusion style with sweet vocal background support. Music and lyrics were masterfully co-written by Michael Masser and Motown staff writer Ron Miller, creating a memorable song of outstanding quality, with wonderful strings arranged by genius Gene Page helping to create a deeply emotional song with a classy rich tone.
The track also demonstrated the brilliance of Russ Terrana. The chief engineer and his staff of sound engineers overdubbed the song as it reached the ending, during which Diana Ross sings along with herself like a full ground of background vocalists, doing justice to John Bahler’s remarkable vocal arrangements. There is no list of credits for the musicians that participated on the album but they were drawn from the finest studio musicians on the West Coast.
Available soon in the Signature Sounds Shop