Lost but not least! Ashford & Simpson – Stay Free (Warner Bros.)
I suppose it won’t come to you as a surprise reading as to how Ashford & Simpson stand among our all time fav artists. Their incomparable legacy as singers, songwriters and producers speakin’ for itself.
‘Stay Free’, the title track from their 1979 album of the likes, is just another Soul peak. Be it lyrically with a theme that says it all. But also musically with arrangements (and mixing work courtesy of Jimmy Simpson). With the whole reachin’ a rare level of subtlety.
Ironically, Warners preferred including ‘You Always Could’ as the flipside of ‘Found A Cure’ Stateside as opposed to their British alter egos. Warner-France doin’ the same, although only releasing it as a Promo copy. Therefore makin’ of it a highly sought after package on the second hand market. You don’t wanna miss this, do you?
“God works in mysterious ways…” And so does the record industry!
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’ 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.