The Real Thing: The Songs of Ashford, Simpson and Armstead

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Richie Unterberger
Ashford, Simpson & Armsted were songwriters Nick Ashford, Valerie Simpson, and Josephine Armsted, who wrote many songs together in the mid-'60s, usually in the soul-pop style. Ashford & Simpson, of course, later became famous as both a songwriting team and hit recording artists in their own right. This various-artists compilation is another entry in the Ace label's excellent long-running series anthologizing recordings of compositions by major '60s pop
ock songwriters. It features a couple dozen songs that the trio penned at the time, either as a threesome or in combinations of two, occasionally with additional co-authors, ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Richie Unterberger
Ashford, Simpson & Armsted were songwriters Nick Ashford, Valerie Simpson, and Josephine Armsted, who wrote many songs together in the mid-'60s, usually in the soul-pop style. Ashford & Simpson, of course, later became famous as both a songwriting team and hit recording artists in their own right. This various-artists compilation is another entry in the Ace label's excellent long-running series anthologizing recordings of compositions by major '60s pop
ock songwriters. It features a couple dozen songs that the trio penned at the time, either as a threesome or in combinations of two, occasionally with additional co-authors, all but a couple of them drawn from 1964-1967 releases. While this is solid stuff, it's not quite up to the level of brilliance of the best Brill Building songwriters, including most of the others spotlighted in this Ace series of compilations. Nor does it have any big hits, though there are plenty of efforts by stars (including the Shirelles, Betty Everett, the Crystals, Aretha Franklin, B.J. Thomas, Chuck Jackson, Maxine Brown, the Chiffons, Doris Troy, Ronnie Milsap, and the Coasters), mixed in with some lesser known names. Just because it doesn't have classic hits, however, doesn't mean it isn't good and very historically interesting listening for those who like the poppier end of mid-'60s soul. Ashford & Simpson had yet to really perfect their craft, but that's not a big loss, as the less polished nature of the tunes might actually appeal more to fans of '60s rock and pop than their slicker, more popular later material. True, not many of the cuts sound like they should have been big hits, exceptions being the Chiffons' terrific (if heavily Martha & the Vandellas-influenced) "The Real Thing"; the Coasters' 1965 single of "Let's Go Stoned," which soon became a big hit for Ray Charles; and "I Don't Need No Doctor," also a big Charles hit, though here represented by a rather oddball instrumental cover by drummer Sandy Nelson with Dr. John on guitar. But Betty Everett's "Too Hot to Hold," the Shirelles' "Look Away," Mary Love's "Baby I'll Come," Aretha Franklin's "Cry Like a Baby," and Doris Troy's "Please Little Angel" -- to name just some of the obvious highlights -- are well worth hearing, and little here is subpar, though some of the cuts are rather generic or derivative. The liner notes, as you'd expect from Ace, do a great job in filling in the complicated background of both these (largely rare or little-known) recordings and the songwriters' early careers.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 6/9/2009
  • Label: Kent Records Uk
  • UPC: 029667231824
  • Catalog Number: 318
  • Sales rank: 91,532

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 Are You Trying to Get Rid of Me Baby - La la Brooks (2:21)
  2. 2 Too Hot to Hold (2:11)
  3. 3 Look Away (1:56)
  4. 4 Love Ain't What It Used to Be - The Diplomats (2:39)
  5. 5 Same Old Feeling (2:30)
  6. 6 You're in Love - Maxine Brown (2:21)
  7. 7 Only Your Love Can Save Me (2:37)
  8. 8 Baby I'll Come - Mary Love (3:22)
  9. 9 Cry Like a Baby (2:13)
  10. 10 I'm Satisfied - Chuck Jackson (1:56)
  11. 11 Dance Children Dance - Mary Love (1:56)
  12. 12 You're Absolutely Right (2:13)
  13. 13 Mr Creator (2:39)
  14. 14 Looky, Looky (What I Got) (2:03)
  15. 15 Never Had It So Good - B.J. Thomas (2:39)
  16. 16 The Shoe Won't Fit (2:24)
  17. 17 The Real Thing - The Chiffons (2:16)
  18. 18 Smokie Joe's - The Jewels (2:31)
  19. 19 Say It Again - Marie Knight (2:53)
  20. 20 Please Little Angel - Doris Troy (2:38)
  21. 21 I Saw Pity in the Face of a Friend (2:18)
  22. 22 Running Out (2:55)
  23. 23 Let's Go Get Stoned (2:54)
  24. 24 I Don't Need No Doctor (2:22)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Bert Keyes Conductor
Horace Ott Conductor
Technical Credits
Trade Martin Arranger
Gene Page Arranger
Doris Troy Author
Mike Akopoff Producer
Nick Ashford Composer
Billie Barnum Memorabilia
La la Brooks Author
Dave Burke Memorabilia
Calvin Carter Arranger
Dick Glasser Producer
Belford Hendricks Arranger
Stanley Kahan Producer
Bert Keyes Arranger
Bettye LaVette Author
Clyde Otis Producer
Horace Ott Arranger
Nick Robbins Mastering
Garry Sherman Arranger
Valerie Simpson Composer
Arthur Wright Arranger
Mary Love Author
Stan Green Arranger, Producer
Miles Grayson Arranger
Tony Rounce Memorabilia
Ady Croasdell Memorabilia
Gregory Carrol Composer
Beverley Lee Author
Peter Gibbon Memorabilia
John Ridley Memorabilia
Mick Patrick Memorabilia, Sleeve Notes
Robert Bateman Arranger
Richard Monica Composer
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