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Chic featuring Niles Rodgers “I’ll Be There” Reviewed

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I wrote this after a Chic back in 2012, or if you prefer pre-Daft Punk (here): “The rest of Chic are simply back up players, and with the exception of the bassist, immediately replaceable cogs. But center stage, Niles leads them with ease.Before playing a Sister Sledge song, Niles says “We used to go to the studio and play for hours, days, weeks…. months. Lost in music”. Yes, Chic, like disco as a whole, is a producers art form. Niles genius Saturday night was his superb translation. You can’t help but be in awe of a set that includes “Everybody Dance”, “Dance, Dance, Dance” “Le Freak”. Really, a setlist ANYBODY would die for and all played with the precision so necessary for dance.”

I wrote this about the Chic singers two years later (here): “Top of the list were the three singers from Chic,  Alfa Anderson, Luci Martin, and Norma Jean Wright. Chic, indeed disco, was not a singers art form, though listening to the voices Saturday afternoon it is hard to imagine why, so Chic is not thought of as the result of the genius of three young women, it is all and always the late great Bernard Edwards and the back on top Nile Rodgers. I saw Niles a couple of years ago and  he didn’t even mention the missing singers but watching them deliver “Dance Dance Dance”, it was like the missing half of the show I saw in 2012. The three women were in fine voice and with the freedom to improvise on the groove they did so, and it was great.”

Niles wrote this yesterday about his just release Chic featuring Niles Rodgers single “I’ll  Be There”

The music snippet that’s playing was supposed to never be heard. That’s the reason why it’s crossed out with a red x on the track sheet (image on the right).

When I listened to that track, I liked the fact that it was never heard by the public before. As you can see on the track sheet we replayed that song, and it became a song for Sister Sledge called “Love Somebody Today.”

The outtake became a new song called, “I’ll Be There,” so named because when I discovered my band’s co-founder Bernard Edwards’ body a few hours after he’d passed away, I said, “Now, I can be there for you in death, the way you were there for me in life.”

Back in the day ‘Nard always looked out for me. I was the reckless one. We had lots of fun and good times. So on the song’s surface it’s really happy. It’s about the origin of CHIC, and how dance music changed our lives forever.

We’ve just shot the video for “I’ll Be There” with Inez & Vinoodh, on the first day of Fashion Week NYC. Perfect timing for a group called CHIC.

It’s also perfect that we’ve got one of the hottest and coolest supermodels in the world to star in the video. Karlie Kloss. The first thing she said when we met was, “Diana Ross’ album Diana is my favorite record in the world.” I knew we’d found our R&B loving disco girl.

As with all CHIC albums, this one’s based on a concept. Four years ago I was stricken with very aggressive cancer and I wasn’t sure how much time I had left. I decided the album’s concept would be about time and I’d feature as many people from the lifespan of CHIC that I could on it.

The first single drops on March 20, 2015. It’s the vernal equinox – when day and night are of equal length. But in parts of the Northern Hemisphere, there will also be a total solar eclipse… so I’ll be releasing the record at the exact start of that celestial event, in the country and city where they set Greenwich Mean Time – London, England.

We’ll then do a series of concerts in England, and premier the video too.

The album’s title is: It’s About Time… because It’s About Time.”

The two songs streaming on Spotify, “I’ll Be There” and “Back In The Old School” are simply first rate and the reason is the same precise reason “Get Lucky” was so great, Rodgers, rhythm master guitar is sublime on both tracks, on “I’ll Be There” it is so huge it powers the entire track, on “Old School” the horns do more than merely back it up and if Bernard Edwards, through no fault of Niles, is not along, and Alfa Anderson, Luci Martin, and Norma Jean Wright., who would have been a huge addition to these songs, through fault of Niles isn’t there, there is no discounting or dismissing these pure disco missives.

“I’ll Be There” is a collaboration with the Martinez brothers and it is really great If only iles had brought back his singers, it would’ve been a perfect return for the first Chic track since 1992.

 

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