Valerie & Nick “Lonely Town” (Grover 3000-B, 1964)
A Virgo’s work is never done. Valerie Simpson should know, as we celebrate her 69th Birthday, we also celebrate her 52+ years as one of the premiere Singer/Songwriters of the Post War Era. Though we haven’t started looking at the compositions she did with late husband Nick Ashford (and quite often with Josephine Armstead) as Pop Standards in the same way we do look at Rodgers & Hart, Cole Porter or Irving Berlin, she had her hand in so many classics that it would be shameful *not to* at this point.
Appropriate too is this song at the end of a summer 50+ years later as many a big American City feels a bit colder and lonelier than they might have felt only shortly before. Had the focus not been so much on her and partner-soon to be husband Nick Ashford’s efforts with the Onion Skins, the burbling potential of their first of 3 singles for Glover may have focused them in a more solidly self contained singer-songwriter direction that they’d eventually carve out for themselves in the 70’s and 80’s.
But by 1965, their splendid compositions were in demand for a variety of other artists, and Valerie put her recording career on hold until her splendid efforts at Motown in 1971.