- Released: June 9, 2009
- Label: Kent Records UK
Record Collector (magazine) - p.98
"The Apollas' stomping secular prayer, 'Mr. Creator,' and the rarer, poppier Chiffons reading of 'The Real Thing' are highlights of a set which is solid as a rock."
Ashford, Simpson & Armsted were songwriters Nick Ashford, Valerie Simpson, and Josephine Armsted, who wrote many songs together in the mid-'60s, usually in the soul-pop style. Ashford & Simpson, of course, later became famous as both a songwriting team and hit recording artists in their own right. This various-artists compilation is another entry in the Ace label's excellent long-running series anthologizing recordings of compositions by major '60s pop/rock songwriters. It features a couple dozen songs that the trio penned at the time, either as a threesome or in combinations of two, occasionally with additional co-authors, all but a couple of them drawn from 1964-1967 releases. There are no big hits here, though there are plenty of efforts by stars (including the Shirelles, Betty Everett, the Crystals, Aretha Franklin, B.J. Thomas, Chuck Jackson, Maxine Brown, the Chiffons, Doris Troy, Ronnie Milsap, and the Coasters), mixed in with some lesser known names. It remains, however, a very historically interesting listening for those who like the poppier end of mid-'60s soul. True, not many of the cuts sound like they should have been big hits, but Betty Everett's "Too Hot to Hold," the Shirelles' "Look Away," Mary Love's "Baby I'll Come," Aretha Franklin's "Cry Like a Baby," and Doris Troy's "Please Little Angel" -- to name just some of the obvious highlights -- are well worth hearing.The liner notes, as you'd expect from Ace, do a great job in filling in the complicated background of both these (largely rare or little-known) recordings and the songwriters' early careers.