Monday, 6 February 2017

"Send It" by ASHFORD & SIMPSON (2015 Big Break Records (BBR) 'Expanded Edition' CD Remaster with Four Bonus Tracks) - A Review by Mark Barry...

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"...Take Me Up To The Top..." 

Big Break Records of the UK (known also as BBR) have been doing ASHFORD & SIMPSON fans the world over a solid for some time now - reissuing their voluminous Warner Brothers back catalogue onto superb CD Remasters - and all with quality audio, liner notes and rare Bonus Tracks. Here comes another - this time dealing with their American-only 1977 platter "Send It" - a quality album in their cannon of work. Here are the details...

UK released 28 August 2015 (September 2015 in the USA) - "Send It" by ASHFORD & SIMPSON on Big Break Records CDBBRX0315 (Barcode 5013929061538) is an 'Expanded Edition' CD Reissue and Remaster with Four Bonus Tracks and plays out as follows (62:07 minutes):

1. By Way Of Love's Express
2. Let Love Use Me
3. Don't Cost You Nothing
4. Send It
5. Top Of The Stairs [Side 2]
6. Too Bad
7. Bourgie Bourgie (Instrumental)
8. I Waited Too Long
Tracks 1 to 8 are their album "Send It" - released September 1977 in the USA on Warner Brothers BS-3088. It peaked at No. 10 on the US R&B charts and No. 52 on the Pop charts (it was unreleased in the UK).

9. Don't Cost You Nothing (12" Disco Mix)
10. Bourgie Bourgie (Joe Claussell's Classic Remix)
11. Send It (Single Version)
12. Don't Cost You Nothing (Single Version)

The 16-page booklet is the usual BBR plethora of American label repros ("Send It" on Warner Brothers WBS 8453 - "Don't Cost You Nothing" on Warner Brothers WBS 8514 and "By Way Of Love's Express" on Warner Brothers WBS 8571) - as well as photos of the hip couple and superbly detailed new liner notes by CHRISTIAN JOHN WIKANE alongside full reissue credits. The 'super' jewel case and see-through CD tray add a touch of reissue class - but the best news is the new Remaster by WAYNE A DICKSON and NICK ROBBINS - two very experienced transfer merchants. All the great Funk lines are in yer face - lovely Bass and Vocals - sweet sound filling your living room. A very nice job indeed...

Their albums always feature goodies amidst the lesser tunes – but "Send It" feels sweet all the way through both sides. It opens with an obvious single "By Way Of Love’s Express" where Nick Ashford tells his lady Valerie Simpson that a train is hurrying his love towards her (what a gent). Their ballads always felt a notch above syrup and the lovely "Let Love Use Me" is proof - a duet-vocal mid-tempo smoocher with strings. But that moment of lurve is roundly whomped by the fabulous dancefloor groove of "Don't Cost You Nothing" - a total Funk-Soul winner clocking in at just under five-minutes in its album form (the Bonus Tracks give us the 12" Disco Mix at 6:48 and the 7" single edit at a svelte 3:40 minutes). I can remember dancefloors filling to this great Piano-Funk groove as DJs spun those 12" singles with their Warner Brothers die-cut sleeves. Side 1 then ends on the album's other killer - the 'spread a little love' slowy "Send It" - a No. 15 R&B hit in August 1977.

Side 2 opens with the bopper "Top Of The Stairs" where our Nick has an urge he's hoping his woman will understand (take me up to the top and we'll get lost in the darkness). "Too Bad" is cool too but my poison is the sensual and slick instrumental "Bourgie Bourgie" - represented here twice by a Joe Claussell Remix in the Bonus Tracks. It ends on the tremulous vocals of "I Waited Too Long" where our hero laments his 'without love' situation and that he missed the last dance (self-inflicted misery pal). The Four Extras come as very cool icing on an already very tasty cake.

A top reissue from BBR once again - well done to all involved - and a must own for fans...

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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