C.I. covers it in the snapshot and I'm glad because Ashford & Simpson have, as a rule, never been given their true due.
That's the cover of Street Opera.
In 2008, we started doing some 'tech' pieces. And one thing that stuck for the year was digital downloads. Wally, Mike and Cedric downloaded. I'm not sure about others. I was a buy the disc person. Had to buy in the store.
So part of the fun of doing the pieces at Third was learning about things like downloads.
For "Best digital download buys," we were supposed to bring in an album to propose we cover. I forgot what I came up with. But C.I. offered Street Opera and noted that it was $7.92. Jim immediately replied that's not a bargain for eight songs.
C.I. was about to speak but I jumped in, "Oh, it's a huge bargain. For $40 bucks it would be a bargain. This is a classic album and it's never been issued on CD" (in 2010 it would be) "and my vote is for this album too. This is too damn important."
Then Cedric asked what was on it and I sang a bit of "Mighty Mighty Love" ("brick by brick to make it stick, you gotta use all of you, cause that's the glue, it's gonna take a Mighty Mighty Love"). And then C.I. did "Times Will Be Good Again." Now I was just trying to get the funk across. C.I. sang "Times Will Be Good Again" so well, it would have impressed Nick and Valerie. And that's when Cedric knew the album from an uncle who had it on vinyl. So he was explaining that, like we were saying, this was a soul classic and it had been out of print forever so, yes, we had to include it in the article. (Rebecca was always on board, she's an Ashford & Simpson fan.)
So bit by bit, we got the votes to include it.
And I love Ashford & Simpson. They're so wonderful.
And they were a marriage that lasted.
How does that happen?
Paul and Linda McCartney broke up, Carly and James too, Janet Jackson and James DeBarge, on and on.
But Valerie and Nick were the groovy couple making marriage look cool.
Nick was a huge man, tall, very tall. (He was also very thin, just to be clear.) And Valerie was so small and dainty. And then they opened their mouths and, wow.
I love their songwriting, but wow. Those voices.
I am really sad by the news. I assume many people are. But I'm sad that many more probably don't even know what has been lost because Ashford & Simpson really didn't get the acclaim they deserved. (As evidenced by, among other things, Warner Bros. doing such a bad job with their catalogue and EMI -- their last label -- letting all the albums go out of print.)
"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):