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REVIEW
LYRICS
VIDEO

I Love My Lady

Sony/Columbia 1981

Johnny Mathis

UNRELEASED

VOCALS MUSICIANS SONGS
No confirmed participation. Thanks to Raymond Jones for recalling participators.
 
Johnny Mathis
Alfa Anderson
Luci Martin
Fonzi Thornton
Michelle Cobbs
No confirmed participation. Thanks to Raymond Jones for recalling participators.
 
Bass: Bernard Edwards
Guitar: Nile Rodgers
Drums: Tony Thompson
Keyboards: Raymond Jones, Andy Schwartz, Rob Sabino
The CHIC Strings
Thanks to Nancy Hunt, Nile Rodgers & Simon Parr for the track list.

A-side

1 -I Want To Fall In Love (06:00)
2 -It's Alright To Love Me (Go With The Flow) (04:20)
3 -Something To Sing About (04:13)
4 -I Love My Lady (courtesy of Ralph Tee at JazzFM) (05:26)

B-side

5 -Take Me (06:50)
6 -Judy (03:11)
7 -Stay With Me (03:38)
8 -Love And Be Loved A (sung by Johnny Mathis courtesy of Ralph Tee at JazzFM) B (demo clip released by NileRodgers.com sung by Fonzi Thornton) (04:54)

All song samples in Quicktime
MORE INFO
This album was recorded in February of 1981. It was not a failed project, it was finished! The true reason behind the decision not to release it is not truly known. However people have said that Johnny Mathis management and Columbia records execs thought it was too modern sounding, not like Mathis efforts in the past.
 
It is sad that Johnny Mathis, Columbia or however matters in this, STILL, after 23 years! to my knowledge, aren't making any effort to get this classic CHIC Organization production released. As a CHIC fan I'm wondering what extraordinary Tony Thompson drumming, Bernard Edwards bass play or Nile Rodgers guitar work the world and I have missed hearing for 23 years. Or for that matter what extraordinary singing Johnny Mathis and the CHIC vocalists; Alfa, Luci, Fonzi & Michelle did on this record.
 
Is this album still something that can hurt Mathis career? Of course not, the only thing the release of this album can effect is gratitude and happiness. Diana Ross and/or Motown (?) overcame fears in 23 years and finally released the original CHIC mix of the 'diana' album last year 2003 (MUCH respect to them!). So, Columbia, Mr. Mathis or whoever, make us happy and release this album. (pocat webmaster)
 
After having written the above I have received new info that Johnny Mathis is NOT! opposed to this album being released, in fact his people have tried to get Sony to release it, but Sony refuses! And they wonder why people are angry at record company execs? Thanks so much to Dianna Poling Witucki at JohnnyMathis.com for the below statement. Now we fans can focus entirely on Sony, and help them see reason. (pocat webmaster)
 
"We regret that, to our knowledge, "I Love My Lady" will not see the light of day. We have forwarded to Sony, by way of our attorney, letters, inquiries, etc. from fans who were hoping to hear this album. This seems to have had no impact. Although we appreciate your enthusiasm, we won't be pursuing the matter any further with Sony. Mr. Mathis has already weighed in on the matter, and they refused to release it. Sorry."
 
SAID ABOUT THE ALBUM:
 
-Tony Thompson about the album (TONY THOMPSON-'The Man Who Put The Backbone In CHIC' interview by Ian Mcann, in Echoes magazine, March 16th 1985):
 
Ian Mcann: What about the Mathis LP? Did it exist?
 
Tony: "That's right. It's a serious album. It's serious, and it's on the shelf. I think that Columbia, his record label, thought that it would alienate his audience. So they didn't want to release it and it was such a good album. You never heard Johnny Mathis sing like this. No-one has. He grooves to death with this album, grooves to death. It was serious. We did like a Brazilian type funk-samba on this; oh, incredible. Sang his ass off. Phut. No-one's ever gonna hear it. I hate that. We spent time on this. It was a real good album."
 
-It sounds like the writer Glenn O'Brien has heard the album? (ALL THE WAY OFF 'Take It Off' reviewed by Glenn O'Brien in Interview magazine, February, 1982):
 
Being the new godfathers of the new funk, it's only natural that they would concentrate on basics and dance-motivating material-especially since some of their recent production projects-JOHNNY MATHIS, DIANA ROSS and DEBBIE HARRY-contained a lot of strong ballad and production number stuff.
 
-CHIC fan Simon Parr asked Nile Rodgers about the album last year (2003);
 
Nile has no idea if the Johnny Mathis album will ever be heard. He said he thought it was a great album and that a track off it called "Go with the Flow" was one of their best. No material from that album was ever used on future CHIC projects.

A video clip of Fonzi Thornton singing on the demo of "Love And Be Loved" has been released in the members area of NileRodgers.com (free to sign up) (April 15th 2006) GO!

CHIC fan Simon Parr found a note on the net saying the DJ Ralph Tee at JazzFM had played the title track "I Love My Lady" in the summer of 2008. He contacted Ralph and asked him to play it again, which he did on November 9th 2008. After playing it Ralph mentioned that three tracks of this album will be included on the "coming"??? CHIC box. The track is as Tony Thompson said back in 1985 "a Brazilian type funk-samba". -Having heard this excellent albeit unusual CHIC track it still baffles me why the full album can not be released. To include just three of the tracks from the album in the CHIC box is tantamount to a maddening tease, which makes me almost not wanna buy the box. Why!!!!! not include the full album? (November 29th 2008)

Lyrics to "I Love My Lady" courtesy of the stellar CHIC fans Simon Parr & Graham Lewis are now on the site GO! (November 30th 2008)

OH the joy!!! The flood gates are apparently opening, Just months after we got to hear "I Love My Lady" an anonymous benefactor sent our stellar Simon Parr another track from the Mathis album, the very CHIC-ish "Sing". Unfortunately we've had to agree to post only a short clip of the track. Simon have also posted lyrics to the track. Hopefully this is not the last track we will post. So anyone who have the Mathis album, please send us any of the remaining tracks. (pocat for Simon Parr February 2, 2009)

More evidence is surfacing that we may? actually see a complete release of CHIC's production for Johnny Mathis, the "I Love My Lady" album, in the near future. Andy Zax a reissue producer, writer & DJ has dug up the album from the vaults and are having a presentation of the project next month on April 19th at the EMP/SFM at Seattle Center. What is significant is that it is Andy Zax who is also putting together the long..long..long awaited CHIC box. Let's hope he will be able to convince the powers that be that a full album release is a good thing.

Below text from http://www.empsfm.org

""
Lost in Lost Music: Rediscovering Johnny Mathis' I Love My Lady"

In 1981, crooner Johnny Mathis--fresh from a successful collaboration with Deniece Williams--entered the studio with Chic, the innovative disco/funk band. Chic auteurs Bernard Edwards and Nile Rodgers were then at their commercial and critical peak, and the album they wrote and produced for Mathis, I Love My Lady, was intended to reinvent the vocalist for a younger generation. But upon its completion, the record was perceived—whether by Mathis, his management or the record company remains unclear—as having Gone Too Far. I Love My Lady sounded too funky, too black, too intertwined with the kind of musical sound Mathis had spent his entire career avoiding. Amidst fear that the album would alienate a straight-laced audience that Mathis had cultivated for more than two decades, the project was killed. 28 years after it was recorded, I Love My Lady remains unreleased. Since then, the album's mysterious disappearance has made it the subject of considerable myth and speculation; despite the fact that virtually no one has ever heard a note of it, it is often included on lists of “Great Lost Albums.” In 2007, I discovered a set of masters to the album while combing through the Warner Bros. vaults for material related to an upcoming Chic boxed set. As the producer of that project, I will be discussing both the history behind the album’s original recording and subsequent suppression as well as the current attempt to bring it back into light. I’ll also be touching on some of the challenges facing recovery projects of this sort, especially in a time where record companies are making it more difficult to search through archived material for just these kinds of forgotten recordings.
" (March 14th 2009)

We here at chictribute.com are very pleased to bring you another clip from the CHIC produced Johnny Mathis album "I Love My Lady" from 1981. "I Want To Fall In Love" begins with a jazzy acoustic intro, with slight similarity to "Savoir Faire", and then falls into the chorus. At the end Mathis holds the last note really long. To listen to his circular breathing during this is fascinating. (April 1st 2009)

Today Andy Zax is presenting the CHIC produced Johnny Mathis album "I Love My Lady" from 1981, at the Experience Music Project Center in Seattle WA. In anticipation of what we might hear from this event we here at CHICtribute.com are presenting yet another track from that legendary, and highly sought after unreleased project.

This time we have the opportunity of letting you hear, a clip of, one of Nile Rodgers favorite tracks from the Mathis album, "It's Alright To Love Me" a.k.a. "Go With The Flow". (April 19th 2009)

"Judy" is a composition which originated from Bernard Edwards, and is imho a wonderful CHIC standard...Let's hope Andy Zax manages to persuade the powers that be to release this gem of an album, because so far, 6 songs (of 8) in, there are no duds on the album. Nowadays, the record co's should be so lucky to have that perfect a product. So com'on release it already! (May 1st 2009)

"Stay With Me" is a CHIC standard, with nice guitar work from Nile Rodgers and lovely piano from, I guess, Rob Sabino (?). The clip could not have been published here without our trusted associate Simon Parr, who also transcribed the lyrics to this song. Now we are only missing a sample from "Take Me" if anyone are willing to provide this please contact me. (August 25th 2010)

"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 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 (se above) of the A & B-sides. This track comes from yet another, before this, unknown benefactor. Thank you dear Sir for this, the last of the Mathis tracks. Simon Parr has, as usual worked his magic and, transcribed the lyrics to this song.
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 CHIC gem please contact us at pocat@chictribute.com all help is greatly appreciated. (October 1st 2010)

John Wilson on the BBC Radio 4 program "Front Row" interviewed Johnny Mathis on the show broadcast October 4th 2011, on the CHIC production. Listen to an excerpt from that interview GO! (October 16th 2011)