Having contributed to reshaping soul music of the mid 1960s and early 1970s via other recording artists (notably Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell, Aretha Franklin, Diana Ross, Chaka Khan, The 5th Dimension), Nickolas Ashford & Valerie Simpson were a long established song-writing success before expanding on this as a recording duo in 1973. Following on from their surprisingly low-key Warner Bros. debut GIMME SOMETHING REAL, their sophomore release I WANNA BE SELFISH saw Ashford & Simpson reintegrating their trademark smooth, and joyous soul sound into the quieter moods of their debut.
Principal Edwards Magic Theatre is one of those hard-to-classify bands that made the late '60s a musical adventure playground for listeners. What was more, the live music scene and airwaves were broad-minded enough to give bands who dared to be different the chance of exposure. They enjoyed the attention of the late John Peel who broadcast them on his BBC shows and made them the first band to be signed to his Dandelion record label. The Devon Tapes was recorded in the summer of 1974 under the shorter name Principal Edwards. This is the first time these recordings have been made available to the public.