Musical Notes – Valerie Simpson
Simpson’s Still Solid
Voiceover by Lawrence Standifer Stevens
Written by Joseph E. Casanova
After penning numerous pop/R&B standards with late husband Nicholas Ashford, Valerie Simpson returns with new solo album, Dinosaurs Are Coming Back Again.
Known for composing “You’re All I Need to Get By” and “Reach Out and Touch (Somebody’s Hand),” legendary songwriters Valerie Simpson and Nicholas Ashford once inspired me to pursue a musical career.
However, I couldn’t play an instrument and my vocal talents would’ve made Gong Show host Chuck Barris gong me himself.
But I knew I had a knack for poems and lyrics. So I bombarded family and friends with an endless barrage of rhymes and verses.
“What the hell is this?” one classmate asked. “I hope it’s better than that last piece of crap you made me read.”
I wonder if the Songwriter Hall of Famers faced such adversity. Some are meant to compose classics and others to blog about them.
During a rare San Antonio appearance at the Carver this summer, Ms. Simpson showcased tunes from her latest solo effort, Dinosaurs Are Coming Back Again.
She opened the show with “The Boss,” a disco smash the couple co-wrote and produced for Diana Ross.
During an homage to her late husband, images of Ashford flashed across the top of the stage, leading into the Marvin Gaye-Tammi Terrell duet “Ain’t Nothin’ Like the Real Thing.”
One of the backup singers was former Chic lead vocalist Alfa Anderson, who lent her talents to British crooner Bryan Ferry’s stellar CD Boys and Girls in the mid-80s.
Ms. Simpson closed the show with the uplifting “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” and the empowering “I’m Every Woman,” in which she invited the ladies in the audience to join her on stage.
For the encore, she further proved her vocal prowess with “Solid,” a top ten pop/R&B hit they recorded in 1984.
The only thing missing was club favorite “Found a Cure,” which should’ve ruled the disco charts forever.
Who needs actor Chris Pratt and Jurassic World when Ms. Simpson can resurrect those prehistoric creatures all by herself? All hail the new age of dinosaurs!