Classics: Ashford & Simpson – Found A Cure (Warner Bros.)
Hard not to think of the most beautiful couple in th history of contemporary music when referring to Ashford & Simpson. As not only they wrote some of the most meaningful songs one may think of (Tammi Terrell & Marvin Gaye‘s ‘Ain’t No Mountain High Enough’, Chaka Khan‘s ‘I’m Every Woman’). But also because they embodied the sophistication in terms of arrangements and production during the Disco period. Not to mention their story as a couple which (still) resonates like a fairy tale…
Their 1979 ‘Stay Free’ album perfectly sums up their situation at the time. Both enjoying their maturity in all senses of the terms. And spreading their obvious happiness in an irresistible way. As if nothing bad could happen to them. Just the way one could feel it on the boiling ‘Found A Cure’. A cut which they delivered with mixing work courtesy of the inevitable Jimmy Simpson.
A Disco manifesto to say the least, ‘Found A Cure’ is to be considered as one of their definitive peaks…
Nickolas Ashford and Valerie Simpson stand without a single doubt among the most prolific artists of their generation. With their names being associated to an impressive list of masterpieces…
As songwriters, they delivered the classic ‘Ain’t No Mountain High Enough’ (Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell, Diana Ross, Inner Life featuring Jocelyn Brown). But also ‘I’m Every Woman’ for Chaka Khan. If not ‘Uh-Uh Ooh-Ooh Look Out (Here It Comes)’ for Roberta Flack. This in addition to ‘Taste Of Bitter Love’ and ‘Bourgie Bourgie’ for Gladys Knight & The Pips. And ‘No One Gets The Prize’ and ‘The Boss for Diana Ross a to name but a few.
As producers, they collaborated with Teddy Pendergrass, Gladys Knight & The Pips and Ullanda McCullough among others.
And, last but not least, as a singing duo, they released 15 studio albums between 1973 and 1999. Most of their classics bringing us back to their period with Warner. There, they delivered gems such as ‘Over And Over’ (covered by the late Sylvester) and ‘It Seems To Hang On’. But also ‘Don’t Cost You Nothing’, ‘Stay Free’ and ‘Bourgie Bourgie’. Not to mention ‘Found A Cure’. ‘Street Corner’ and ‘Solid’ marking their following period with Capitol.
Nick Ashford sadly died on Aug. 22, 2011 in a NYC hospital after havin’ battled against a throat cancer. He was 70.