MUCH TO DO ABOUT HURRICANE IRENE FETE

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THE WEB GOSSIP
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Mike Bloomberg



WELCOME HOME --- I'll say one thing, I never had a vacation end so abruptly or quickly as my 13-day adventure out of NYC. Let's just say it was a break-neck race back to New York Saturday morning on the red eye from L. A. There was absolutely no waiting for a cab when we hit JFK; and, an eerie silence that immediately announced something was about to happen. From there it was straight home while listening to the dire warnings from Mayor Bloomberg on down (isn't it interesting that most ALL of the politico-talking heads come out when a situation like this develops; to whit: they ALL want to look their best). Being the Mayor of any urban town, cannot be easy. Damned if you do; damned if you don't. Turns out, the whole shebang was somewhat over hyped, but watching some of the footage now of Downtown Manhattan is downright scary. Me, these days, I prefer to be a bit over cautious. With the tenth anniversary of 9/11 coming up ... one can't be too cautious ... right? Sure, the pundits will say they were right and continue on their road to ruin ...but, for me, safety, first and foremost.

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Valerie Simpson And Nick Ashford



SO LONG NICK --- The most devastating news of the past two weeks has just got to be the passing of singer-songwriter Nick Ashford. Has there ever been a more revered songwriter ... along with life-partner Valerie Simpson? Their cannon of songs, including "Ain't No Mountain High Enough," "Solid As A Rock," "Ain't Nothing like The Real Thing"; as well as Diana Ross' "Reach Out And Touch" and Chaka Khan's "I'm Every Woman" and "Clouds" are all solid smash songs. I remember well in 1979, at the legendary Paradise Garage, when RFC Records' Ray Caviano gave the house DJ, Larry Levan, the first shot at playing their newest record "Found A Cure." Needless to say, the place went wild as it was one of the duo's strongest records ever. It was one magical evening and everyone there knew it. Ashford & Simpson's career as recording artists began in the early 1960's as part of the gospel group The Followers, with whom they recorded the album Gospel Morning, later re-issued as Meetin' The Followers on the legendary Roulette Records.In 1964, they recorded "I'll Find You," as Valerie & Nick. Simpson subsequently recorded two solo LPs for Motown: Valerie Simpson Exposed in 1971, and, the following year, Valerie Simpson, which included the single "Silly, Wasn't I," which was later sampled on 50 Cent's "Best Friend" from the movie Get Rich or Die Tryin'. In 1973, the duo left Motown after the albums Simpson recorded for the label received poor promotion and the company refused to release an album of the duo recording a collection of their most famous songs for other artists. In 1974, Ashford & Simpson married and resumed their career as a duo with the Warner Brothers album, Gimme Something Real. This was followed by the hit singles, "Don't Cost You Nothin'" (1977), "It Seems To Hang On"" (1978),"Is It Still Good To Ya" (1978), "Found A Cure" (1979), and their biggest hit,"Solid", released in 1984.They were given writing credit on Amy Winehouse's 2007 CD Back To Black album for the single "Tears Dry On Their Own" which featured a sample of Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell's 1967 Motown classic hit "Ain't No Mountain High Enough." They had begun performing their act in small, intimate venues, such as Feinstein's at The Regency here in New York and the Rrazz Room in San Francisco, and in January 2009, they released a CD and DVD of their live performances titled The Real Thing. On June 22, 2009, they made a guest performance at a party at Tribeca Rooftop, here in New York, to celebrate Virgin Atlantic's birthday party. They also made their first appearance in Tokyo, Japan, in November 2009, and performed 8 shows in 4 days at Blue Note Tokyo. What a tremendous legacy ... while his legacy will live on forever, Nick will be sorely missed. Rest Easy!


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FITZGERALD PASSES --- One of the best people ever in the record business lost his battle with cancer last week, Warner Bros. Rich Fitzgerald, who rose to the presidency of the embattled label. Most recently Rich became involved in managing Eric Clapton. Mary Prout Fitzgerald, Rich's wife, posted the following message on Facebook: "I am sorry to say that our lovely Rich passed away yesterday afternoon. As you know, we were able to bring him home form his hospice, so he was able to go peacefully, wearing his Jimi Hendrix tee, listening to his favorite music, and lay in the arms of our children, Hunter and Sloane, and myself." Rich, aside from distinguishing himself by his superb knowledge of music and the business, to me, perfectly embodied what his predecessors at the label, Mo Ostin, Lenny Waronker and Russ Titleman, so well started there. he will be deeply missed. Warners hasn't been the same label ... but, Rich's presence made it all easier to take. Sad.


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Billy Crystal



GERVAIS REDEUX? --- Ricky Gervais says NBC has invited him back to host the Golden Globes; and, that the Oscars have called too? Well, I can't say I'm all that surprised. The comedian gave the Globes not only the highest ratings in years, but PR too. I mean, I don't think the news cycle of the Globes winners ever went more than two or three days. The fallout from the last broadcast literally went on for weeks. As has been reported, Oscar-mega-host Billy Crystal is itching to get back in the saddle (yes, a City Slickers reference) … so, I believe he'll be a lock, but, our little Ricky will certainly be back. According to our comrades at Deadline Hollywood: The British comedian said at the Edinburgh International TV festival, that the network has asked him to host again, and adding that he is considering it "but, I shouldn't do it." NBC declined to comment on the matter. "I love NBC, I love the fact that they stuck by me through it," Gervais said, adding, "I don't think I should do it. What am I going back as? Well, how about as the best Golden Globes host ever?


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James Taylor



FIRE & RAIN --- I just finished (on vacation) the best music-book of the year, David Browne's Fire & Rain; a brilliant re-look at the four most significant albums and artists of 1970: The Beatles; Simon & Garfunkel; James Taylor; and, CSNY. Brilliant book! More Wednesday.

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Julia Roberts



LAST BITS: Saw 1999's Notting Hill again while I was away. With Hugh Grant and Julia Roberts. Written by Richard Curtis and lovingly directed by Roger Michell ... has there ever been a sweeter movie? Never seen it? Run out now and rent it. You won't be sorry! And, though I almost forgot it, the strangest moment has got to be eyeing NBC news correspondent Jeff Roseen at the Minneapolis Airport looking positively twitchy! Weird.


Photos By: RD/Orchon/Dziekan/Kirkland/Walter McBride/Eckstein/Retna


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