Classics: Ashford & Simpson – Street Corner (Capitol)
More than anybody else ever Ashford & Simpson embody the distinction and sophistication. Be it musicwise, but first and foremost as husband and wife… A reality which they perfectly translated in their art, as singers, songwriters and producers. Responsible for seminal gems such as ‘Ain’t No Mountain High Enough’ or ‘I’m Every Woman’. And I’m not even talkin’ about their impressive repertoire.
1982 would mark a turning point in their career with their switch from Warners to Capitol Records. The twosome making their debut on their new label with their ‘Street Opera’ album. Speakin’ of it, the least one can say is that it didn’t generate the same following as its predecessors. Not necessarily because of its content. But most probably because of the label not doin’ that much about it at the time. Only releasing a couple of singles from it. From ‘Love It Away’ to ‘Mighty Mighty Real’. Not to mention ‘Street Corner’.
Mind you, the period also marked a change in many ways. With Disco altready seen as hasbeen Stateside, and R&B in its early days at the time. Something one could definitely already feel though on Ashford & Simpson‘s music. And most definitely on the memorable ‘Street Corner’. Be it while havin’ a listen to its rhythm pattern which I would tend to consider as R&B with a live touch. But also when referring to its lyrical content.
All in all, ‘Street Corner’ remains in the true tradition of those songs which put Ashford & Simpson above their contemporaries. Standing as one of their signature cuts, it would be followed by ‘Solid’ 2 years later…
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.
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