Personnel includes: Valerie Simpson (vocals, arranger, piano, synthesizer); Nick Ashford (vocals, arranger); Chaka Khan (vocals); John Tropea, Eric Gale (guitar); Vinnie Della-Rocca (flute, saxophone); Hubert Laws (flute); George Young (tenor saxophone); Howard Johnson (baritone saxophone); Jon Faddis (trumpet); John Trevor Clark (French horn); Richard Tee (piano, organ); Ray Chew (Fender Rhodes piano, Clavinet); Michael Boddicker (vocodor, synthesizer, programming); Francisco Centeno, Anthony Jackson (bass); Yogi Horton, Steve Jordan, John Sussewell, Steve Gadd (drums); Ralph MacDonald (electronic drums, congas, percussion); Gwen Gutherie, Patti Austin, Ullanda McCullough, Raymond Simpson (background vocals).
Producers include: Nickolas Ashford, Valerie Simpson, Quincy Jones.
Compilation producer: Gregg Geller.
Engineers include: Mike Hutchinson, Jon Child, Tony May.
Recorded between 1973 and 1984. Includes liner notes by Jim Bessman.
All tracks have been digitally remastered.
Rhino's 2002 release The Very Best of Ashford & Simpson comes very close to being a complete greatest hits, but it stumbles on a major point -- it only contains two songs from the group's Capitol recordings from the early '80s, including the hit "Solid." The rest is devoted to the duo's Warner recordings of the '70s. This isn't a bad thing, actually, since Ashford & Simpson were at their creative peak then, and this collection also touches on their superb writing gig at Motown with an opening live medley. So, this hits nearly all the bases -- but misses just enough to stop it from being definitive. Still, it's arguably the best Ashford & Simpson collection assembled, and it will satisfy many listeners looking for a collection like this. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine