Since September 2010, this blog has recorded the journey of this middle-aged man as I attempt to listen to all the music in my CD collection. CDs revisited in their entirety from start to finish - no skipping tracks, no shuffle. CDs only - no vinyl, no tapes, no downloads. And just as CD technology (and the album format itself) becomes obsolete. I'm no music critic, just a music junkie with too much time on my hands.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Chic - Dance, Dance, Dance (The Best Of) (1991)

It's easy to ridicule disco music, but its also incredibly easy to dance to. And where I grew up in the late '70s, there weren't a lot of other genres of music being played on the radio. I'm not complaining because I think Nile Rodgers and the late Bernard Edwards are/were musical geniuses. Taking a holistic view, you could say the evolution of R&B music goes like this: Ray Charles, James Brown, Sly Stone, Chic, Prince, and so on. Interestingly, I've read interviews with Rodgers that the band's major influence was Bryan Ferry and his band, Roxy Music. In recent years, the band has been nominated 6 times for induction into the always confusing Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (2003, 2006-09, & 2011). As of this writing, they have not been selected for induction.

Chic gets bad rap because their music was popular in the disco era. That just happens to be the type of music that would sell at that time. Put Edwards' bass lines up against any in the history of funk and you'd be hard pressed to find any better. Take away the strings and the hand claps and you'd hardly be able to date this music. If there's a downside to this CD, it's the fact that the disc contains the extended LP mixes of most of the singles. For example, we're treated to a 8:13 version of Good Times and 8:30 version of Dance, Dance, Dance. On some tracks, the groove never gets old. But on others, my cup runneth over after about three and a half minutes.

On a side note, Rodgers was recently diagnosed with cancer and has kept up an interesting blog about his experiences since hearing that diagnosis.

Tracks: The hits are all here and they're great. You remember Dance, Dance, Dance (Yowsah, Yowsah, Yowsah), Everybody Dance, My Forbidden Lover, I Want Your Love, Le Freak, and Good Times, which could have the most important, most sampled, most imitated bass lines of all times (see Bowie's Let's Dance, Queen's Another One Bites The Dust, and, of course, Rapper's Delight). I usually skip Chic Cheer and Soup For One.

Nile Rodgers tells the story that the song Le Freak came about when he was not allowed into Studio 54 one night. He went home and wrote the song with it's original lyrics, "f*** you" instead of "freak out," directed at the bouncer of the famous disco. Of course, he changed the lyrics and the song was a big hit. Part of me wonders if he'd like to restore the original lyrics and dedicate the song to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Personal Memory Associated with this CD: This music reminds me very much of my 7th and 8th grade years at McAllister School. We actually learned disco dancing in PE. Now that's a curriculum I can fully support.

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