music: CHIC appreciation part 42

Great to see Jack Stratton acknowledging the Titans of funk R&B, Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards (RIP) of CHIC, in his Don’t Steal This Groove music production video. He recreates their chucking guitar sound and clear bass.

But I’ve been listening to Sister Sledge (try “Thinking of You” (below) and “You Fooled Around” before playing their hits) and… CHIC is on another level. Tony Thompson (RIP) is a rock drummer beast that Nile and ‘Nard kept on a tight leash, his feel can’t be matched by a drum machine, then they often brought in Sammy Figueroa on percussion (the tubular bells on “I Want Your Love“, the sleighbells on “You Fooled Around”, the congas on “Thinking of You”!!). Rob Sabino’s sparkling piano is 😘 on all those tracks and of course the killer “Spacer“; the piano fills on Vulfpeck’s “Disco Ulysses” are a sweet homage). Then CHIC could hand the chords to Nile’s rhythm guitar OR Ray Jones/Andy Schwartz on electric piano OR the neutron bomb weapon, the CHIC strings. And behind the lead singer, the twin female singers and the unheralded Fonzi Thornton singing those insistent choruses. As football commenters say, “So. Many. Weapons.” All while leaving more space than today’s 100+-track stems on a DAW, with that fabulous honeyed warm sound.

Another couple of days in the studio in 1979, god-tier results

On Sister Sledge’s Love Somebody Today album, Kathy Sledge’s great vocal on “You Fooled Around” is followed by “I’m a Good Girl” with a sensational great vocal performance by Joni Sledge. The way Nile Rodgers’ guitar tracks and interplays with their vocals is sublime.

I’m not pulling a tired “Today’s music cRap get off my lawn!” Vulfpeck isn’t just slavishly copying old school, they’re making their own good music; “Vulfpeck Live at Madison Square Gardens” is one of the greatest live show videos of all time. But, folks, listen to the people who inspired them. There’s gold in them thar vinyls.

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3 Responses to music: CHIC appreciation part 42

  1. Jane doe says:

    Hello, I am involved in a search for an obscure, likely mid 80s track. I stumbled upon your blog during the search. Do you have any idea of a song with the lyrics “everyone knows that, you’ve got, ulterior motives, tell me you do”. It’s a poppy, upbeat track. I would greatly appreciate any correspondence.

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