Super Mega Music Mix:

Chic (currently known as Chic featuring Nile Rodgers) was a pioneering all-black disco band with a hard funk underpinning first made critically famous when their third single “Le Freak” (1978) hit #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and R&B charts. Chic was widely regarded as the slickest and most talented musicians on the New York disco scene. because of their unerring sense of style, belief that disco was a glitzy escape from reality and their impact on not only the disco music of the 70s but 80s music as a whole.

The Origins of Chic

Guitarist Nile Rodgers and bassist Bernard Edwards founded Chic in 1976. Inspired by a concert for Roxy Music, an English glam rock band, they attended, Rodgers and Edwards began sourcing talent to form a group that would present an immersive experience with influence by the glam rock style of bands like Kiss. Tony Thompson joined the band in 1977 as a drummer and recruited Raymond Jones as a keyboardist. Norma Jean Wright joined the band as their lead singer and the group recorded “Dance, Dance, Dance (Yowzah, Yowzah, Yowzah)” with a fresh-faced recording engineer Bob Clearmountain.

Despite the high quality of the two-sided pressing of the single, Chic nevertheless found themselves rejected by every major label. However, an independent named Buddah released the 12 inch, and it became so popular in dance clubs that Atlantic soon signed them to a deal. Edwards and Rodgers’ minimalist, funky take on disco proved perfect for the last half of the genre’s era, and they soon found themselves in high demand, with Nile and Bernard also finding lots of side work as producers and songwriters for acts like Sister Sledge and Diana Ross.

Chic’s Commercial Success

In 1977 they released their self-titled debut album “Chic” on Atlantic Records, which featured later hits “Dance, Dance, Dance,” and “Everybody Dance.” After a conflict with her solo career, Wright left the group in 1978 and the band replaced her with Alfa Anderson and Luci Martin for their subsequent albums.

It wasn’t until their 1978 release of their second studio album, “C’est Chic,” that the band truly took off. Featured on the album, “Le Freak” went on to become one of their most played tracks, smashing records on the Billboard Music charts. The album itself also went on to be their only #1 album, hitting the top of the R&B chart after its release.

Chic’s Best Known Songs

It’s pretty much impossible to reach the adulthood without being exposed to Chic’s two biggest hits “Le Freak” and “Good Times,” usually in the context of some party-rock atmosphere. But the groove of “Good Times” was consciously recreated for the Sugarhill Gang’s “Rapper’s Delight,” which means Chic helped birth classic old-school hip-hop as well. “Le Freak” is now shorthand for any wild party, whether it be in “Gossip Girl,” “Glee,” “Nip/Tuck,” Shrek 2 or Toy Story 3.

Chic’s Later Years

Unfortunately, the anti-disco backlash soon swept Chic into the bargain bin, but Edwards, Rodgers, and Thompson arguably found even greater success afterward. Rodgers went on to produce David Bowie’s “Let’s Dance and Madonna’s “Like A Virgin LPs. Edwards produced Robert Palmer’s “Riptide” breakthrough album and formed the Power Station.

(Thompson played drums on all these projects!) The band reunited with its female leads for a mildly successful comeback in 1992, but sadly both Edwards and Thompson have since passed on. Original singer Norma Jean Wright occasionally performs Chic classics live with Anderson and Martin.

Many great acts went on to cover their work, most notably late-’80s dance diva Jody Watley had a minor hit with her version of “I Want Your Love.” “Good Times” has also been sampled by Grandmaster Flash, De La Soul, and the Beastie Boys. Wham! and Duran Duran, both big Chic fans, often covered “Good Times” in concert.

 

Hello Groovers,

Today in the Liquid Sunshine Discotheque it’s an all salsoul disco dance special.

(A copy of the show will be available soon – in the meantime, enjoy the special music mixes available on the Liquid Sunshine Sound System Mixcloud page – https://www.mixcloud.com/sasmancometh/)

 

Operating out of NYC, SalSoul was one of the foremost and influential disco labels of its time. Having dabbled in latino music through their Mericana imprint, the Cayre brothers, Joseph, Kenneth and Stanley, founded SalSoul in 1974 taking the name from a Joe Bataan album previously licensed to CBS. Salsoul was literally a combination of ‘salsa’ and ‘soul’ and in an inspired move, the brothers immediately put together a house band known as the SalSoul Orchestra. Drummer Earl Young, bassist Ronnie Baker, guitarists Norman Harris and Bobby Eli, keyboard players Bunny Sigler and Ron Kersey, vibes man Vince Montana Jr and conga player/band leader Larry Washington had all played on Gamble & Huff’s Philadelphia productions and would provide SalSoul’s signature sound. Unable to secure a major label distribution deal, the brothers managed to get legendary DJ Frankie Crocker to support the debut single ‘SalSoul Hustle’ and the label was up and running.

A succession of disco classics followed, including the first commercially available 12” single, Double Exposure’s ‘Ten Percent’ and recordings by First Choice, Candido, Carol Williams, Inner Life, Skyy and Loleatta Holloway. The label was unable to ride the disco backlash, although it continued until 1984. In 1992 the label was revived and interest in its catalogue bloomed when Holloway’s ‘Love Sensation’ was sampled and became an integral part of Black Box’s ‘Ride On Time and Mark Mark & The Funky Bunch’s ‘Good Vibrations’. Particularly popular throughout Europe, the SalSoul catalogue has since been sampled and remixed on numerous occasions. The SalSoul master catalogue was acquired by BMG in 2015 as part of the Verse Music Group, which also includes Salsoul Orchestra, Joe Bataan, Double Exposure, Loleatta Holloway, First Choice, Carol Williams, Skyy, Silvetti, Jimmy Caster, Charo, Aurra, Eddie Holman, Candido, Funk Deluxe, Bunny Sigler & Candido

To finish up, here’s another sweet taster.

I really like this, but not nearly as much as I’d like a full sitcom where Santigold and Yachty run a bakery for real. Can we make this happen? Anyone? James Van Der Beek, you out there, bro? Good to see Diplo switching up the template: the guitars and steely beats join the dots between The xx and ‘The Morning’-era Weeknd, with a sense of fun that’s more more-ish than all those donuts in the video. “You keep the fame, keep the phony canned applause,” sings Santigold. “I’ll keep on dreaming and keep on rising high above.”

This is a great pairing of personalities – you’ve got Yachty, the little kid who refuses to grow up and just wants to live in a “nice house on the shore”, and Santigold, endlessly charismatic and weirdly ageless, bringing the catchy quotables. It’s all believable. They just love to make cakes! And they don’t wanna worry about stuff! They like to play with frosting and wear hats with their names on!

The video is great, the song is great, can’t argue with any of it.

Just had we had such a wonderful neo soul show last Thursday, on Saturday comes the sad news that Charles Bradley died this Saturday.

Charles was one of the great neo soul artists. He had been performing for most of his life, but did not become well know until he was well into his sixties. He had a remarkable life, going from homelessness lows, to singing career highs. I highly recommend watching the documentary “Soul of America” which documents Charles life from his childhood in Florida, to his life on the streets and then later his career as Screaming Eagle of Soul”

What the documentary highlights, is what a truly wonderful and warm person Charles was.