Monday, 6 February 2017

"Is It Still Good To Ya" by ASHFORD & SIMPSON (2015 Big Break Records (BBR) 'Expanded Edition' CD Remaster with Seven Bonus Tracks) - A Review by Mark Barry...

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"...The Debt Is Settled..." 

Like many Soul and Funk fans I’ve been waiting for Big Break Records of the UK to have a proper go at the superb Ashford & Simpson catalogue on Warner Brothers Records having had to do with the Warner Bros 2CD set Rhino put out a few years back (2008). And here BBR comes with "Is It Still Good To Ya" from 1978 and "Stay Free" from 1979 – both Remastered to perfection and with loads of cool bonuses. Here are squeeze me details...

UK released 31 July 2015 (August 2015 in the USA) - "Is It Still Good To Ya" by ASHFORD & SIMPSON on Big Break Records CDBBRX 0320 (Barcode 5013929062030) is an 'Expanded Edition' CD Remaster with 7 Bonus Tracks and pans out as follows (70:50 minutes).

1. It Seems To Hang On
2. Is It Still Good To Ya
3. The Debt Is Settled
4. Ain't it A Shame
5. Get Up And Do Something [Side 2]
6. You Always Could
7. Flashback
8. As Long As It Holds You
Tracks 1 to 8 are the album "Is It Still Good To Ya" – released September 1978 in the USA on Warner Brothers BSK-3219 and in the UK on Warner Brothers K 56547

9. It Seems To Hang On (12" Disco Mix)
10. Flashback (12" Disco Mix)
11. Is It Still Good To Ya (Alternate Mix)
12. The Debt Is Settled (Alternate Mix)
13. It Seems To Hang On (Mike Maurro Mix)
14. Flashback (Single Version)
15. It Seems To Hang On (Single Version)

There’s a 16-page booklet with liner notes by a veteran of these releases CHRISTIAN JOHN WIKANE - along with photos of US Warner Brothers 45s and those sought after American Promo 12" singles ("It Seems To Hang On" and "Flashback"). There’s even a photo spread of the US trade advert that accompanied the album's release in the USA. The remaster is by BBR’s own WAYNE A DICKSON with additional work from the vastly experienced NICK ROBBINS (does tons of work for Ace and other labels). The audio is fabulous – full of power and the amazing Production values afforded the album in the first place. And stepper fans are going to love those bonus 12" Disco Mixes that exchange for such huge money...

While both the smooth Funk of “It Seems To Hang On” and the dancefloor filler of “Is It Still Good To Ya” dominated the charts (Nos. 2 and 12 USA R’n’B) – album cuts like the brilliant Soul-Funk of “Get Up And Do Something’” and the warm sweet melody of “You Always Could” will send fans of thios largely forgotten album. Apart from the pseudo Teddy Pendergrass spoken-smooch of “Ain’t it A Shame” - the whole record is classy which wicked grooves like “As Long As It Holds You”. But what puts this CD reissue into another league is the killer extras - DJs will love the 7:00 minute Disco Remix of “It Seems To Hang On” and the 5:32 minutes of “Flashback” – even the 7” single mix of “It Seems To Hang On” at 3:39 minutes is an unexpected winner.

Great sound and tasty presentation – another winner from BBR and one that fans of this long-lasting Soul/Funk/R&B duo will need...

PS: Big Break Records (BBR) CD Remasters I’ve reviewed:
1. Send It – ASHFORD & SIMPSON (1977)
2. Is It Still Good To Ya – ASHFORD and SIMPSON (1978)
3. Stay Free – ASHFORD and SIMPSON (1979)
4. Central Heating – HEATWAVE (1977)
5. Hot Property - HEATWAVE (1979)
6. Candles - HEATWAVE (1980)
7. Turnin' On - HIGH INERGY (1977)
8. Harvest For The World - THE ISLEY BROTHERS (1976)
9. Go For Your Guns - THE ISLEY BROTHERS (1977)
10. In The Heart – KOOL & THE GANG (1983)
11. I Hope We Get To Love On Time - MARILYN McCOO & BILLY DAVIS (1976)
12. I Miss You [known as "Harold Melvin The Blue Notes" in the UK] - HAROLD MELVIN & THE BLUE NOTES (1972)
13. Black & Blue - HAROLD MELVIN & THE BLUE NOTES (1973)
14. Love Is The Message - MFSB (1973)
15. Universal Love – MFSB (1975)
16. All The Faces Of... - BUDDY MILES (1974)
17. For The First Time – STEPHANIE MILLS (1975)
18. I Can See Clearly Now - JOHNNY NASH (1972)
19. In Philadelphia - O'JAYS (1969)
20. Back Stabbers - O'JAYS (1972)
21. Ship Ahoy - O'JAYS (1973)
22. Down To Love Town – THE ORIGINALS (1977)
23. Ebony Woman - BILLY PAUL (1970 and 1973)
24. 360 Degrees Of Billy Paul - BILLY PAUL (1972)
25. War Of The Gods - BILLY PAUL (1973)
26. Platinum Hook – PLATINUM HOOK (1978)
27. Love For What It Is - ANITA POINTER (of The Pointer Sisters) (1987)
28. Live: Stompin’ At The Savoy – RUFUS and CHAKA KHAN (1983)
29. Summernights – SILVER CONVENTION (1977)
30. Smoked Sugar - SMOKED SUGAR (1975)
31. Spinners – SPINNERS (1973)
32. Soul Master – EDWIN STARR (1968)
33. Involved - EDWIN STARR (1971)
34. Switch - SWITCH (1978)
35. Watercolors – THE WATERS (1980)
36. Just As I Am - BILL WITHERS (1971)
37. Heartbeats – YARBROUGH & PEOPLES (1983)

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