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Picks and Pans Review: Send It

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Ashford & Simpson

The transition from writer to performer is often shaky; not so in the case of Nickolas Ashford and Valerie Simpson. With five albums out, this husband-and-wife team is hardly untried, but some of their best-known material was written for the likes of Diana Ross (Reach Out and Touch) and Marvin Gaye (Ain’t Nothing Like the Real Thing). What makes their latest album exceptional is a Mo-town-smooth style, highlighted by Let Love Use Me, where Simpson’s smoky overtures are answered in Ashford’s breathy tone. A&S seems equally comfortable with ballads and up-tempo numbers. Send It is a very special delivery from a fast-rising couple.