Friday, January 2, 2009

music: CHIC live

Santa gave me Chic - Live at Montreux 2004, an entertaining performance with some sensational rhythm guitar riffing from Nile Rodgers. It's interesting to compare it and Live at the Budokan with the Chic originals.

Dance, Dance, Dance (Yowsay Yowsah Yowsah) is better at Montreux, and the sax and trumpet are top-notch; Le Freak, with a burning guitar solo from special guest star Slash, is awesome at the Budokan. It's chilling to hear Bernard Edwards say "I'm a little sick tonight. I've got the Tokyo flu" only a few hours before his death. Even though the Chic studio originals have a similar large group of musicians, they sound sparser — it's a core sound, not the block sound of many musicians playing together. Also the studio sound is darker, so the splashes of piano on Good Times and the bells on I Want Your Love sparkle and scintillate.

Omar Hakim is on both live albums. He's an exciting, propulsive drummer, but somehow lacks the inexorable punch of Tony Thompson.

Good stuff for fans.

As in 2007 Chic are nominated for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. And again Yes is ridiculously snubbed.

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Tuesday, November 6, 2007

music: CHIC nominated for Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

I belatedly heard that CHIC were 2007 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Nominees. Wow, nice to see them getting respect. I loved "Everybody Dance" the moment I heard it with that killer fast bass line, and when "I Want Your Love" came out with the unique tubular bell melody and those nervous, desperate lyrics
I think of you
and I dream of you
All of the time
What am I gonna do?
I want your love, I want. Your love
I was hooked. They're the tightest group ever, yet they have a large sound from lots of musicians. It's like concentric circles: guitar and bass (Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards), then drums (Tony Thompson), then two girl singers and a guy, then two or three keyboard players, then the CHIC strings and brass.

I was shocked by the repetition of CHIC, especially after a diet of Yes records where after a phrase is repeated twice the melody or chords change. CHIC just gets into a groove and stays there, forcing you into submission. When I taped Risqué I got fed up with "My Feet Keep Dancing" so I switched the turntable to 45RPM. But compared to modern looped samples, CHIC's grooves are alive.

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