On this day in music history: August 11, 1978 …

On this day in music history: August 11, 1978 – “Is It Still Good To Ya”, the sixth album by Ashford & Simpson is released. Produced by Nickolas Ashford and Valerie Simpson, it is recorded at Sigma Sound Studios and Celebration Studios in New York City from Early – Mid 1978. Landing their first major commercial success with the Gold selling “Send It”, Ashford & Simpson immediately go to work on the follow up. Recorded during an especially prolific time in their career, it comes during a time where they have co-written songs for the film adaptation of “The Wiz”, as well as the R&B chart topper “Stuff Like That” with Quincy Jones. Writing and producing all of the material on “Is It Still Good To Ya”, the duo are backed by top studio players including Steve Jordan, John Sussewell (drums), Eric Gale (guitar), Ralph MacDonald (percussion), Ray Chew (synthesizers), Francisco Centeno (bass), and their former Motown associate Paul Riser (string arrangements). Valerie Simpson’s younger brother (and future Village People member) Ray Simpson and Ullanda McCullough provide backing vocals on the album. It is led by the single “It Seems To Hang On” (#2 R&B), becoming an R&B radio and club smash, and is their highest charting single to date. A longer version of the track is released as a promotional only 12" single in the US, and commercially in some international territories. The album spins off two more singles, including the title track “Is It Still Good To Ya” (#12 R&B) and “Flashback” (#70 R&B). Originally released on CD in 1996, the album is reissued by Wounded Bird Records in 2010 with three additional bonus tracks. The extra tracks include the original 12" disco mix and a later remix (by Tommy Musto) of “It Seems To Hang On” and the extended version of “Flashback”. The album is remastered and reissued again in 2015, by BBR/Big Break Records. The expanded reissue includes seven additional bonus tracks including single edits, 12" mixes, and previously unreleased alternate mixes of “It Seems To Hang On” and “The Debt Is Settled”. “Is It Still Good To Ya” spends one week at number one on the Billboard R&B album chart, peaking at number twenty on the Top 200, and is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.  

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