ASHFORD & SIMPSON are quite simply one of the best song writing duos the world has ever known. Being former Motown hit writers and having written a string of hits for greats like Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles, Marvin Gaye and Diana Ross, its little wonder that they were inducted into the Songwriters Hall Of Fame in 2002. 1982’s STREET OPERA was the first album to be recorded by ASHFORD & SIMPSON on Capitol after nine years with Warner Records and is considered by many fans to be their best offering from the 80s. Written and produced by ASHFORD & SIMPSON, the album gained a top 50 Pop chart position reaching #45 and a top ten R&B spot getting all the way to #5 and served as a warm up to the massive success they later enjoyed with SOLID? in 1984.
The English veteran’s album tally reaches 20 with this release, and appropriately it’s one of his finest, an exquisitely played distillation of standards from both sides of the Atlantic, with a brace of originals for ballast. Well-worn favourites like Rufford Park Poachers and Blues Run the Game are presented in polished form, with Simpson’s virtuoso guitar and banjo tailored and layered by producer Andy Bell, plus classy guest accompaniments. Highlights include a cavernous version of Emily Portman’s Bones and Feathers, while Maps is a glance back at a 1950s childhood and Ridgeway evokes England’s ancient past. A master musician on top of his game.