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February 20, 2009

If you don’t know the names Ashford & Simpson then you have not been a part of mainstream music in many, many years.  Songwriters, producers and performers, the husband and wife team Nick Ashford and Valerie Simpson began writing music together in the early 60’s. They have created hits for icons such as Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin, Diana Ross and Gladys Knight.  And lets not forget the Motown era when Ashford and Simpson helped to create “the sound of young America”.  They wrote hit after hit for Diana, The Supremes, Gladys Knight & the Pips, Smokey Robinson & The Miracles and all those wonderful duets with Marvin Gaye and Tammy Terrell.  That was long ago.  Today the dynamic duo continues to write and score music and are relevant as ever! Ashford & Simpson helped Amy Winehouse score a hit with her 2007 CD “Back to Black” for the single “Tears Dry On Their Own”. The track is based on Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell’s 1967 Motown classic hit “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough”. 


Nick and Val has dropped a new CD entitled The Real Thing which is a live performance recorded at Feinstein’s at the Loews Regency in New York City and it is fantastic!  Nick’s voice isn’t as good as it used to be but, along with Val, they make it work.  After all, Nick is hitting on 70 years old and sometimes with age things change.  They treat us to 17 of their greatest hits including – Found A Cure, I’m Every Woman, Let’s Go Get Stoned, Ain’t Nothing Like The Real Thing.  One song I never heard is I’m Not That Tough, which Nick leads.  They could have kept that one off of this CD.  Even with that one questionable addition it is certainly worth buying.   It would have been enough for Nick and Val to just give us good music on The Real Thing but they also treat us to a interview that took place in their home.  Some people have forgotten what real music sounds like.  Just go out and get The Real Thing and you will be reminded.



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