CHICtribute.com News

CHICtribute.com News

About the blog

News and musings about CHIC and related stuff.

Back To CHICtribute.com Home GO!
Previous CHIC News Page GO!

The LAST! Mathis Track.

Johnny MathisPosted by pocat 2010-10-01 15:43
In another stroke of good fortune we here at chictribute.com has been sent yet another one of the lost Johnny Mathis tracks, from his work with CHIC on the Bernard Edwards & Nile Rodgers produced album "I Love My Lady". This track comes from another, before this, unknown benefactor, who wishes to be kept anonymous. Thank you dear Sir for this, the last of the Mathis tracks.

"Take Me" is one of the greatest tracks on the album imo. Only "Sing" can really rival it. There is stellar work by the CHIC choir on this one especially at the end, though Mathis sometimes sound a bit weak, the music, especially the muscular bass and the intro piano, is great.
CHIC plays in a somewhat new style on this, it's angular and at the same time loose, it's a very interesting track, and if you couple this with the CHIC gang vocals, in a very precise (and lovely) staccato style, that I really don't think anyone can match, you get serious funk.

Oh! I mustn't forget the fabulous CHIC Strings, they're doing IT on this one.
The song clip I've chosen is from the last half of the track.

"Take Me" is 06:50 min and the longest track on the album, it was supposed to be the B-side opener.

We now have the song lenghts and, what we suppose is, the correct track list of the A & B-sides.

A-side

1 - I Want To Fall In Love (06:00)
2 - It's Alright To Love Me (04:20)
3 - Something To Sing About (04:13)
4 - I Love My Lady (05:26)

B-side

5 - Take Me (06:50)
6 - Judy (03:11)
7 - Stay With Me (03:38)
8 - Love And Be Loved (04:54)


Below is Simon Parr's review of the entire album:


1) I WANT TO FALL IN LOVE - I think the instrumental beginning should have been mirrored at the end. It's a classic CHIC slow ballad sung well and a polished product. My only negative comment again would be too much emphasis on repeating the chorus and could have done with some more diversity in the middle. Love the track nevertheless.

2) IT'S ALRIGHT TO LOVE ME - I have to agree with Nile that this is one of the best tracks they ever wrote. In saying that I think it could be extended more and I definitely agree with your comments (ed. note: Responding to a comment I made) that "Go With The Flow" and "It's Alright To Love Me" sound awkward together sometimes, and could be two seperate songs. I still think it's a slick CHIC Production and has nearly all the qualities I require from a CHIC song.

3) SOMETHING TO SING ABOUT -
How could any CHIC fan not like this song. So typical of their style and I also feel has elements of the group Change within it. Fantastic CHIC vocals, great bass lines and just typical of CHIC at their best. Could have sat on many of their best albums.

4) I LOVE MY LADY - I've always had problems with the lyrics on this track. I know it's an excellent record but seems unfinished to me. Mathis vocals seem weak again on this track. Can't believe I'm saying this but I wonder, if Dimitri got hold of this and did his magic what it would sound like. Maybe a much slicker, well flowing and complete product. A great song there but screaming to be re-mixed with some great finishing touches.

5) TAKE ME - If it wasn't for the verses then Take Me would be No. 2. I find the lyrics and the way the verses are sung to be very disjointed. Compare it to something like "I Got Protection" where in that song the verses flow to such an extent it's a sheer joy to listen to. With Take Me I feel they definitely need a re-write. Outside of that though, the music is just amazing, vocals the same and it just has the feel of a well produced, sheer quality track that has no problem doing the 6.50mins as it has so many variants. Wish Nile's guitar solo in the last few seconds was picked up upon more and continued for about another minute of the track. That would be the iceing on the cake for me.

6) JUDY - Probably the most pop song done by The Organization but can't help but like it. So catchy, well sung and lyrics OK. Needs to be extended though, like a lot of the tracks on the album. I feel there is too much emphasis on the vocals and it needs some relief from them sometimes with instrumental breaks. I can hear a saxophone solo simply copying the chorus in that track and more attention made to the CHIC part of "'Cause I Love You Only" bit.

7) STAY WITH ME - Pleasant enough track, nice guitar bit by Nile. Definitely an album filler but not a weak one.

8) LOVE AND BE LOVED - Can't help but really like this track but again it isn't finished enough for me. Mathis vocals are weak, and he seems lost in it at times, they should flow much better. Great CHIC backing vocals. I think the lyrics for the chorus could be clearer i.e. "LOVE AND BE HAPPY BE LOVED". Catchy song though, that you just can't help but sing along to. Wish the the bass line at 3.37 mins continued with just Mathis doing the "Love And Be Loved" lyrics and left the CHIC background vocals out at that stage. Again, I think there's a 6 min track there that could have some more instrumental or less vocal attention.

If
I'm honest, I can see why Columbia had a problem with the album. From a Mathis viewpoint, CHIC didn't make best use of his voice which I think is amazing. Sometimes he just sounded lost in the sessions and I think Nile and 'Nard wasted an opportunity to really make his voice stand out with songs that suited his voice. I know CHIC aren't known for their lyrics but some of them on this album I think are particularly weak and sometimes disjointed (ie. "Take Me").

I always knew I was going to love "I Love My Lady" and I do. CHIC obviously put effort into putting some of their better tracks onto it but if I compare it to say "C'est Chic", "Risque", "Diana", "We Are Family" and "Love Somebody Today" it doesnt' quite make the grade. The other 5 albums are sheer brillance from beginning to end... absolute perfection, and faultless. Can I say that about "I Love My Lady"; no I can't, but I think at the time there should have been some compromise between Columbia and CHIC with the realisation that there's a great album there that just needs further work.

I always had the feeling "I Love My Lady" was going to be massively better than "Frostbite". I still think that's going to be the case but wonder if "massively" is now the approrpriate word; maybe considerably!

/Simon Parr


So Guys'n'girls do you agree with Simon, or me, or are you of a timidly, or perhaps convulsively, different opinion?
Leave your comments below.

This concludes our hunt for the LOST Mathis album. We here at chictribute.com thank all the people who have helped us in this quest for one of the holy grails of the CHIC fandom.

Now the hunt is on for the full Fonzi Thornton album "Frostbite" and, as before, anyone who is willing to help us fans to get to hear this other "lost" CHIC gem please contact us at pocat@chictribute.com all help is greatly appreciated.

Remember three of the Mathis songs will be out on October 18th 2010 on the "Nile Rodgers presents The CHIC Organization Boxset Vol. I/Savoir Faire" courtesy of masterful work done by the CHIC fans at Warner/Rhino France. GO!


Simon Parr has transcribed the lyrics GO!

  • Comments(13)

Fill in only if you are not real





The following XHTML tags are allowed: <b>, <br/>, <em>, <i>, <strong>, <u>. CSS styles and Javascript are not permitted.
Posted by Charles 2010-11-07 23:53

Cheers Frenchic. Great news, in the mean time I can listen to the mathis tracks on the boxset! Do you know if the album artwork was produced in 1981?

Posted by FrenCHIC 2010-10-24 16:25

Nile has met Johnny Mathis yesterday during a Johnny's performance. Johnny as presented Nile as "My new old producer" !

According to some information of a CHIC Fan, Nile is beginning to say that the LP "I love my Lady" will be released next year !!!

Posted by Rj Samuels 2010-10-12 02:52

Hmmmm, lots of comments here and all valid to some degree. You have got to remember that 1980 was a very busy year for the guys and it was awash with controversial albums a plenty! Chics own Real People, Diana Sister Sledge... What I mean by controversial is that the albums were not what people expected and this album is no different. You have the Brazilian tinged "I love my lady" which has a certain feel like "You cant do it alone" from "Real People." "Sing" has a "Have fun again" feel about and "Judy" has a "what about me" feel to it. Yes there is a definate direction change there but a good change. Some might say too rapid a change for the taste of some purists out there. The one track that totally blew me away was "Take me" with its "Take it off" funky break. I feel the songs were well thought out musically and lyrically and yes Nard and Nile are not best renowned for their lyrics but their grooves and yes Mathis gets lost in the mist of such funky grooves, buts thats what the post production team are there for ..sorry I digress. Its a damn fine piece of music and I am proud that Chic did something no other producer would dare do and that is bring that unique voice of Mathis and make it current.

Thats me done, I think I will go and lay down ;)

Posted by Charles (chill8) 2010-10-09 10:14

Don't get me wrong, I am not a fan of remixes of CHIC Org material. I want to hear the 100% pure mix of the Mathis album. I just think there could be an opportunity to make the album more commercial. My view would be to create a deluxe version, similar the the "Diana" album, with the pure original mix along side a reworked Dimitri version. Also it could include out takes, the Fonzi guide vocal demos, interviews etc. I see it as a collectors edition that would really tell the story of this legendary album! (umm, maybe I should get out more)

Posted by FrenCHIC 2010-10-03 16:02

I also think the Johnny Mathis album needs no remix or re-touch. I just want it as he was mixed by Nile and Bernard in 1981 100 % CHIC org.

I love the Dimitri works but don't forget it 's good because the original songs are gems !

Posted by BoysWillBeBoys 2010-10-02 22:12

Hmm, don't agree with Simon's review, I love the album, the title track and the other songs. I feel it is a much better effort than "Love Somebody Today" for instance. And I'm one of those people ;-) that think the "diana" album works best in the Russ Terrana mix (except for "Tenderness"). So to me it's no disappointment and I can only hope more tracks will be released, either on vol 2 of the box set or as a stand alone release.

Posted by John Robert 2010-10-02 17:13

My favourite track from this album so far. It would be incredible if this album was commercially released.
I'm not into Dimitri touching CHIC songs. No remixer needed. The clips of remixes I've heard are not bad but I find they clutter the elegant, brilliant simplicity and structure that is CHIC.
I'll still be getting that boxset though!! Cheers so much for all these recent clips and news posting lately. It's bringing me back to blissful days.
I love Chic.

Posted by pocat 2010-10-02 15:34

btw guys, all the lyrics are now up (se above link) even "Love And Be Loved" which, my bad, I missed posting before.

Posted by pocat 2010-10-02 15:06

I still feel that the album is good enough to be released as is. There are lots of great CHIC moments on this, and even if Mathis seems lost, mostly on "Love And Be Loved" and "Take Me" he redeems himself greatly on "I Want To Fall In Love" and "Something To Sing About". While I don't agree that the original CHIC mix of "diana" buried Diana's vocals (a criticism that was leveled against that album), I think the mix on this album does bury Mathis in some parts, but that is something that easily can be fixed before a proper release.


Some may think Simon's review is harsh, but it's not. CHIC is perfection, and when you measure perfection you have to do it against perfection. The only way of measuring this album is against perfect CHIC productions, like "Risqué" and if you do, it comes up short.


Chill8: Love! the suggestion of a full Dimitri treatment of all the tracks coupled with the original mix. For one thing, most of the tracks are too short (as Simon points out) and we can be sure they won't be after Dimitri's got his hands on them. He has also proven himself to be very respectful, at the same time as having a fresh approach, to the original sound. And as Nile Rodgers' said he's now a CHIC Org. member.


FrenCHIC: The clip I chose of "Take Me" is starting at 03:13 of the song, if you look at Simon's transcription of the lyrics, you'll see that it misses all of the verses. You can't judge the song from this clip. I chose it because I simply love the CHIC Strings and CHIC choir in this part of the song.


I didn't like "I Love My Lady" the first time I heard it, because I hadn't expected the CHIC choir to be so un-CHIC as they were, but after having listened to it quite a bit :D I agree with Tony Thompson's assessment "oh, incredible. [Mathis] Sang his ass off". And as you I think "Sao Paolo" is a great track so I love the Brazilian mood in many of CHIC's songs.

Posted by Simon 2010-10-02 12:02

Totally agree with Chill8 about the Dimitri thing. Never thought I'd hear myself say that about a Chic album as all the others to me have been impossible to improve upon. Like I've said, I think "I Love My Lady" is a great album but it just needs some repairing with tender loving care!!!

Posted by Chill8 2010-10-02 10:26

Obsessing further about this! When "I Love My Lady" is released it would be great as a deluxe version with the original CHIC mix, along side a demitri from Paris polished up mix! Thanks for posting this, and loved the Simon Parr review. Bring on the quest for The fonzi album!

Posted by Chill8 2010-10-01 23:33

I have just listened to the clips of the songs in order. Whilst I appreciate the view that Mathis' voice does sound weak and a little lost at times, the album does feel to have a cohesiveness about it. I think the songs sound great together and there are some real gems. It truly has some great CHIC moments. I really love "Take Me", it reminds me a little of soup for one. All in all, if I rate "Diana" as a 9 out of 10, from what i have heard of this album (all the clips plus Ralf Tee's radio play) I would rate it 8 out of 10.

Posted by FrenCHIC 2010-10-01 23:21

Thank's so much Pocat : you are one of a kind.
And of course Simon for his brilliant review.

"Take me" is a great track with some more pop guitar of Nile in the beginning : I love it !

I always had a special feeling for the song "I love my Lady" because of the brazilian mood I love so much. The same I have for "Sao Paulo".

2 weeks ago in Paris Nile said they wanted Johnny Mathis to groove, not the way he sings his eternal Christmas songs.