26 March 2010


This week Obama had a major reform passed on the American Congress, a reform that will change the balance of power between the people and a greedy insurance system, unwilling to assume any risk inherent to the business. Obama definitely entered in History by achieving this, following a social trend iniciated in the 60s (Medicaid, 1964) and the 70s.

To celebrate in a 70s Disco mood I propose this superb track from Ullanda McCullough, from the out of print 1980 album she did backed by Ashford&Simpson. As you can expect, arrangements are explosive and sweet at the sametime, I just love this sound...

Ullanda McCullough, Bad Company (1980), mp3 320kbps (vinyl rip)

(Note that I upgraded some elements of my HiFi system, the sound is even better now)

21 March 2010

One of the best labels in re-edition of super-hard-to-find 60s/70s music (ace records) has strike again with a splendid compilation of material composed by the trio Nick Ashford, Valerie Simpson and Josephine Armstead.

These 3 genius met in NY in the mid-60s (they were 20 years old) before they separate and that Ashford and Simpson left to Detroit for Motown (you know the rest of their success, check my previous posts). Nick, Valerie and Josephine had all started writing music in Church Gospel groups, Valerie had learnt the Piano by ear (isn't it genius?..). Each had joined NY in search of a fertile ground for work, Nick was inicially homeless for a time in the Big Apple (a bench in Bryant Park Manhattan says "Nick was here").

During 3 years (1964-1967) the trio scored superb compositions for a big number of chart-busting groups like the Shirelles, Betty LaVette, Aretha Franklin from R&B labels as VJ, Scepter Records, ATCO, Wand.

This compilation is a must-have for any 60s/70s collectors, it is absolutely good from track 1 to 24, great remastered sound and the notes are really well documented. I will post one teaser track but of course do not count on me to go further, this is great work by the guys at Ace Records /Kent soul and and it needs to be respected.

The Diplomats - Love ain't what it used to be (Wand 1965)
Ashford, Simpson, Armstead

from the Compilation
The Real Thing - the songs of ASHFORD, SIMPSON & ARMSTEAD
(Ace Records 2009)

download of the track with the right arrow in the box

13 March 2010

1979, Capitol records, Hollywood : it had to be disco.

Freda Payne jumps late on this train with the "Hot" LP. I picked the track that best meet with my expectations from this Capitol period. The song builts up perfectly, in a Patrick Adams way, backed by a nice strings section, James Gadson on the beatbox and Lee Ritenour on the guitar.

Freda Payne - Savin'it (Capitol 1979)
320kbps mp3 original vinyl rip

06 March 2010

In a previous post I presented the "Hits, remixes and rarities" compilation of (Nickolas) Ashford & (Valerie) Simpson Warner Bros years.

I feel I need to pay more tribute to this extraordinary couple who ranks so so high within the category of the 70s multi-talented composers-musicians-singers. Besides their own hits they composed dozens of 70s anthems like "Ain't no mountain high enough", "The Boss" for Diana Ross, "Clouds" for Chaka Khan.

To my opinion, almost every thing they did is between good and pure genius... until 1981. After this year, as most artists who had crossed the whole 70s scope, they didn't feel "at home" in this new synthetic-digital-pop environnement and the novelty they had brought was impossible to repeat a decade later.

The more I listen to their discography from 1973 to 1981, the more I understand how their style built-up, particularly thanks to a rythmic section that reached perfection with genius bass player Francisco Centeno who complemented perfectly Valerie Simpson's piano skills. Francisco Centeno who can also be noted for his role in the monster disco LP "Rap-O-Clap" by Joe Bataan, equals Bernard Edward from the Chic tandem or Marcus Miller and Louis Johnson in the way he made bass guitar a key element in the rythmic section and give it a funky bouncy fat sound. You can spot Francisco Centeno in great shape here, live with Aretha.

I will share with you a great track extracted from the double live LP "Performance", although this track and 2 more from this LP were recorded in studio only.
This Show is available at Itunes, Spotify, Amazon etc... so I will only share one track as a "promo" initiative, and strongely recommend you to get the full LP, excellent all the way through (check out the "Clouds" medley...)

Ashford & Simpson - It shows in the eyes (320 kbps)
full album "Performance" available on itunes and dustygrooves