Thursday, September 16, 2021

Lost in their music

Sometimes, when writing about a revered legend, you can reach a point where you find yourself thinking, "why do I ever listen to anything else but this?". So it was with the subject of my new piece for Tidal, the Chic Organization and its dominance of the Eighties audio Zeitgeist. Listening to non-stop Chic, Sister Sledge, the album Rodgers & Edwards wrote and produced for Diana Ross, etc, for several days, I was truly "living in ecstasy". But then the obsession focused to where I only wanted to play a single single - "Everybody Dance" over and over. Then it zoomed in further still and I was just playing Bernard Edwards's miraculous bass break again and again and again. (Some "air bass" did occur, I confess).   

The famous singles everybody knows and loves - "Le Freak", "Good Times", "We Are Family", "Lost In Music", "I Want Your Love", "He's The Greatest Dancer", "My Forbidden Lover".... 

But how about the ChicOrg deep cuts?

This is almost too obvious to mention, beautifully doubled as it by Robert Wyatt's version

I also found myself fixated on these albums cuts, "Happy Man" and especially "(Funny) Bone" . 

Love the singles off Diana Ross. "Upside Down" particularly - unusually for Chic Org, the fast-flecked rhythm guitar takes a very far-back back seat and the arrangement is based around some wonderful piano vamps. This somewhat overlooked beauty was the third single off the Diana Ross album and funnily enough it's called "My Old Piano". 

"My Feet Keep Dancing" was a Chic single but it felt less familiar to me - it has this wonderful steadfast chugging groove with a slightly involuntary, forced-march feel to it, and then this really gorgeous glassy motif that I think is electric piano, a real ice cube sliding down the back of your neck tingle effect.

That "forced march" feel fits the lyric, which is a bit like Ian Dury's "What A Waste" crossed with The Red Shoes and They Shoot Horses, Don't They?

Fly into space or maybe save the human race
All these things seem so appealing
But I'll never get the chance, 'cause all I do is dance
My mama said my brains are in my feet

Albeit with a happy ending, the affliction turned to career path: 

"So I ran away from home to live all alone
And make myself a standout in the crowd
Then it hit, my ideas began to fit
I had to be what I was meant to be
Now my name is up in lights and I hoof here every night
They were right my brains are in my feet"

Always liked this Carly Simon tune with a lilting, reggae-ish feel