Ashford and Simpson ‘So So Satisfied’ (BBR) 4/5

ashford-and-simpsonDating from 1977, disco was at its zenith when this album first surfaced and, as with previous recordings by the duo from this era, the LP was preceded by a dance floor oriented single, ‘Come as you are’. This entered the top thirty of the R & B charts in the US. Once again the music offers a variety of moods and was somewhat more jazzy in parts owing to the coming on board of musicians of the calibre of Don Grolnick and Richard Tee on piano, and Fender Rhodes player Pat Rebillot who was more used to gracing an album by Cal Tjader. Nevertheless, despite the jazzy chords that are subtly integrated into the songs, this is still ostensibly a soul album and a song such as, ‘Tried, tested and found’, features some of those trademark Ashford and Simpson such as instrumental breakdowns and a general heightened sense of drama. Although there were no major pop hits this time round, both singles entered the disco charts and the second of these, ‘Over and over’, is included in a bonus version re-edit by Joey Negro. With a strong hook, it was originally featured as an extended 12″ by Jimmy Simpson and disco fans have the luxury of comparing the original and new versions here. In fact the song itself had a second lease of life in that disco diva Sylvester recorded it and managed to breath new life into it. This alternative working is included on a wonderful CD compilation of other artists interpreting the Ashford and Simpson songbook on Goldmine records well worth checking out. Gospel and blues elements are both discernible on songs such as ‘Couldn’t get enough’ and ‘If you’re lying’.
Arrangement duties on the album are shared by Paul Riser and William Eaton, the latter of whom would be indispensable to the early 1980s chart success of Grover Washington Jr. Success was just around the corner for Ashford and Simpson and their next album, ‘Is it still good to ya’, would ensure they were back in the higher echelons of the pop charts.

Tim Stenhouse