My favourite box set of 2010 is The Chic Organisation – Vol. 1 Savoir Faire. There you have it. I find it very hard to write about Chic, the band. Where to begin? – They have been such a big part of disco, pop and hip-hop. Wouldn’t it be super boring to list the most successful production work that Bernard Edwards and Nile Rodgers have done outside of Chic?
Diana Ross – diana with the singles “Upside Down” and “I’m Coming Out”
David Bowie – Let’s Dance
Madonna – Like A Virgin
Mick Jagger – She’s The Boss
Duran Duran – The Reflex and Wild Boys singles / Notorious
Grace Jones – Inside Story
B 52’s – Cosmic Thing
I mean, you might as well just read their Wikipedia page. Of the above, the Savoir Faire set only has the Diana Ross singles, although in different mixes. Apparently, Ms Ross didn’t like the funky Chic version of the album, so she went back into the studio with one of her well-known Motown engineers and remixed the whole record. And that’s the version that we all became to know.
What is in this box set then? Of course, there are the biggest Chic hits like “Le Freak” (which was supposed to be called “Fuck Off”, written on New Years Eve 1977 after Rodgers and Edwards couldn’t get past the bouncer of Studio 54), “Good Times” (which can’t be mentioned without Sugarhill Gang’s “Rapper’s Delight” and being the inspiration for the bass line to Queen’s “Another One Bites The Dust”), “Everybody Dance” and “I Want Your Love”.
With some of the hits on the compilation I have the feeling that I can’t listen to them anymore. Not that I don’t like them, but I heard them so many times either in original, sampled or remixed form that I need little break. I know them too well. But really that’s only “Good Times”, “Le Freak” and “We Are Family”.
The box set also includes 5 new remixes by Dimitri from Paris. These new versions of the disco classics are almost worth the whole box set alone. Even if these remixes only provide a new spin on well known disco staples like Sister Sledge’s “Lost In Music”, they don’t sound tired. Au contraire, these remixes sound very 2010 to me, with so much new disco coming out anyways. Their extended intros and breakdowns are perfect for slipping them into a current dj set. My two favourite Dimitri remixes on the box are “Thinking Of You” by Sister Slegde and “Saturday” by Norma Jean Wright.
“Saturday” originally appeared on Norma Jean’s solo album from 1978 which was released shortly after the first Chic album, on which she was the lead vocalist. The song sums up the disco area with its living-for-the-party-on-Saturday and being-bleak-and-dull-during-the-week theme. But really, nothing has changed for the weekend warriors of this world. The build up to the song that Dimitri has created has to be one of the most over the top intros ever. Listen below.
I just want to explode after hearing this.
I JUST CAN’T WAIT TIL SATHHHHUUUUUURDAY.
Earlier this year, I became aware of Johnny Mathis’ unreleased “I Love My Lady” album, produced by Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards in 1980/81, around the same time they worked with Diana Ross. Johnny’s record label, concerned with the image of the all American crooner, thought the disco set would alienate his mom and grandmother audience and shelved the Chic collaboration. They didn’t know he would come out as an homosexual one year later, only to retract his statements in 1983.
Savoir Faire features 3 of the previously unreleased songs. I can recommend to track down whole album on the interwebz: the stripped down funky sound of Chic paired with Johnny’s smooth and silky voice is a great match.
Another Chic box gem is the reggae inspired Why by Carly Simon, which first appeared on the “Soup for One” soundtrack. Joey Negro has recently released an excellent cover of Why featuring Kola Kube in a Hot Toddy Club Mix.
I could go on and on about Savoir Faire. But really, get the 4 CD 46 song compilation and discover the Chic Organization. Can’t wait for Vol. II.
The Chic Influence List