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A Musical Affair

Ashford & Simpson

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Album Review

The year 1980 was fairly eventful for Nick Ashford and Valerie Simpson. In addition to writing and producing Gladys Knight & the Pips' excellent About Love, the duo had a major hit of their own with the snappy "Love Don't Make It Right." Nonetheless, 1980's A Musical Affair didn't go down in history as one of Ashford & Simpson's essential albums. This vinyl LP isn't bad; most of the tracks are decent, and a few are excellent, most notably "Love Don't Make It Right," the melancholy "Get out Your Hankerchief," and the sentimental ballad "Happy Endings." But overall, A Musical Affair isn't exceptional — likable and pleasant, but not exceptional. After five-star treasures like 1977's Send It, 1978's Is It Still Good to Ya, and 1979's Stay Free, one greeted this record with high expectations; however, A Musical Affair falls short of the consistent excellence that had characterized some of their best late-'70s albums. Some might even go so far as to say that in 1980, Ashford & Simpson gave their best songs to Gladys Knight & the Pips, whose About Love is nothing to be ashamed of. Both commercially and creatively, that LP was the group's most successful album since 1974's I Feel a Song. In fact, the single ("Landlord") made it to number three on Billboard's R&B singles chart. So Ashford & Simpson certainly did right by Gladys Knight & the Pips in 1980, even though their own 1980 album falls short of essential. A Musical Affair is only recommended to Ashford & Simpson's hardcore fans.

Biography

Formed: 1964 in New York, NY

Genre: R&B/Soul

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Nick Ashford (born May 4, 1942, Fairfield, South Carolina) and Valerie Simpson (born Aug 26, 1946, New York City, New York) have two careers, as songwriters and as performers, with the former seemingly more important than the latter until the mid-'80s. The two met in 1964 and scored their first songwriting hit in 1966 with Ray Charles' recording of their "Let's Go Get Stoned." After a period at Scepter Records, they moved to Motown, where they wrote hits for the duo of Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell...
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A Musical Affair, Ashford & Simpson
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