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

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


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

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.

Product Details

Release Date: 06/09/2009
Label: Kent Records Uk
UPC: 0029667231824
catalogNumber: 318

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 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
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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