Ashford & Simpson

The Real Thing [DVD]

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Backed by a small band in an modest setting (a Manhattan nightclub with 140 seats, one of which was occupied by Freddie Jackson, who joins in at one point), Ashford & Simpson roll through 14 of their best known songs, whether they were written for others or themselves. Since they throw in a couple crowd-pleasing curveballs, like opening with "It's Much Deeper" (a relatively low-charting single off 1983's High-Rise), it's not quite a greatest-hits set, but it's both rich and unpredictable enough to leave any follower satisfied. Though Nickolas' upper register isn't quite as durable as it once was (he was in his mid-sixties here, after all), he and Valerie put on enjoyable show where it's apparent they're feeding off the appreciative energy of the crowd. The material spans 20 years, from "Let's Go Get Stoned" (written for Ray Charles), to "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" (Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell), to "Stay Free," to "I'm Every Woman" (Chaka Khan), to "Solid," and all of it is timeless. [A DVD version was released simultaneously with the CD version.]

Track Listing

Title/Composer Performer Time
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
feat: Maya Angelou
20
feat: Maya Angelou
21
blue highlight denotes track pick