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Atlantic 11/22/1977

CD 7567-80407-2

Billboard: Pop#27, Black#12

Norma Jean
Luther Vandross
David Lasley
Alfa Anderson
Bernard Edwards
Nile Rodgers
Robin Clark
Diva Gray
Bass: Bernard Edwards
Guitars: Nile Rodgers
Woodwinds: Kenny Lehman
Drums: Tony Thompson
Orch. Bells, Vibes: David Friedman
Keyboards: Robert Sabino, Andy Schwartz, Tom Coppola
Flute, tenor sax: George Young, Vito Rendace
Trumpet: Jon Faddis
Trombone: Barry Rodgers
Percussion: Sammy Figueroa
Strings Contractor: Alfred Brown
Harp: Gloria Augustini
1. Dance, Dance, Dance (Pop#6, Black#6, Disco#1)
2. Sáo Paulo
3. You can get by
4. Everybody Dance (Pop#38, Black#12, Disco#1)
5. Est-ce que c'est Chic
6. Falling in love with you
7. Strike up the band
All song samples in Real Audio
P O C A T'S ... R E V I E W
The first Chic album...huh? Surely one must approach it with the respect it deserves, 'cause it launched a great band's career. I've wondered if people in the disco's really noticed the distinct quality of the first Chic hits, or just thought of them as just another danceable tune? Nile has stated in a radio interview that Bernie and him tried out the song "Dance, Dance, Dance (Yowsah, Yowsah, Yowsah)" on people in a local club, and it was an instant hit. The best feature of the song is the string & horn orchestrations, which pervades an ominous feeling that if you don't get up right now and dance something bad will happen-Yes Sir! Personally I'm more into the second hit of that album "Everybody Dance" which positively en-trances you to move your body. Tony Thompson's drumming and Bernie's bass makes the intro into a spell that even the children of Hamlet would desert the Piper for. Then the simple but genius piano chords sets the stage for the singers to chant, we dancers, into the magic and glittery gala of an evening at the disco-the ultimate of disco songs! With it's references to '40s Big Band Jazz and phrases like "Music never lets you down," it's a statement of joy. The best dance scenes from the Walt Whitman movie "Last Days of Disco" is when they play "Everybody Dance," the actors really seem to enjoy themselves. The rest of the songs of the album weren't hits, but they are still great songs, especially "São Paulo" and "Est-ce Que Cést Chic". "São Paulo," is a wonderful laid back jazz tune where Nile gets to display homage to his musical base. There are direct lines of heritage and/or influence between blues - jazz - soul and disco. That's why there is jazz elements implemented, with such ease, in a lot of disco. I have heard from others in the jazz community that Chic indeed has clear jazz influences. 'Bet they wouldn't have dismissed Chic as mere "disco" if they had had that notion in the '70s! "Est-ce Que Cést Chic" is one song where one reviewers statement; "The Chic sound in which mannequin voices issue cryptic telegrams...," is applicable. I like the alteration between the soft spoken lead and the cold stating backup singers. The song sounds like a nonsensity, very alluring and indeed cryptic-what's it about? Well my take is that it says that there's more to life than nightlife, a statement ahead of it's time at the start of the 'Disco Fever' years. The other three songs are in my view not bad but not as good as the ones I've discussed. However the break on "You Can Get By," with one of the first (on LP) real samples of Nile's guitar play, is a wonderful interplay between guitar and strings. And on "Strike Up The Band," Nile and Nard have a jam of bass and guitar, also in the break. This is a great first effort and the album contains two of the great classics of disco music, so it definitely is a must have!


By Jow from Stockholm/Sweden 030709
The year is 1977. I walk into the music store. Something groovy is on my wish list for the party tonight. What's that? I take a glance at CHIC's self-titled debut album. The rather trite theme - pretty but overly made-up girls - makes me wonder: is it really worth picking up? Well, this was not how I first came across the music of CHIC; (I wasn't even born in 1977!) the scenario serves to illustrate how much I would delude myself if I was stupid enough to judge this album by its cover, and conversely, how glad I would be if I was wise enough not to do so! Because I think CHIC makes a startling debut with this album. For reasons I don't know, many critics welcomed it with moderate enthusiasm. They seem to have at best a smattering understanding of what defines great music. Fact is, Bernard Edwards and Nile Rodgers already here prove how unprecedentely talented they are. It is not only that they come up with a distinctive sound (so stylish, so funky and at times so wonderfully crazy, no surprise it would be sampled by countless of artists), it's also that the girth of this production is truly amazing and gives us a foretaste of what was lurking on the two forthcoming albums 'Cést CHIC' and 'Risqué'. I'll briefly mention 3 songs to prove my case. The album's peak moment is of course 'Everybody Dance' (12"). It's so cool, effervescent, beautiful and uplifting. The lyrics and Norma Jean's smooth and sultry vocal performance is timeless, it's about the joy music and dancing brings. When you're in the mood for something very different, there's the sugar-sweet and luscious ballad 'Falling In Love With You'; it will melt the heart of your gf :) We also have the atmospheric and jazzy 'São Paulo', it's like a cool summer breeze that makes you feel good. Ok, so we have one dance floor killer, one ballad and one instrumental piece on this debut album - it's just a wonderful achievement. And the rest of the songs are pretty enjoyable as well, especially the hilarious 'Dance, Dance, Dance'. Anyhow, for me it feels a tad silly to write this, music should be listened to, so please make me a favor: go and grab yourself a copy of 'CHIC' if you don't already have it. It's not my absolute favorite CHIC album, but definitely a must have in the collection for any music lover, and the obvious starting point for exploring this great band.
By Soeren from Denmark (rated 3 stars of 5) 030415
Chic's debut album undeniably has the stamp of "debut" album all over it. Recorded in only three weeks, the production is definitely below subsequent releases, however this is a highly enjoyable album, the rhythm is tight, catchy hooks, joyous music. The first single "Dance Dance Dance" is arguably more of a fun gimmick record with its insisting bass hook and the "Yowsah yowsah" thing, rather than being a such great song in itself. It's not one of my personal CHIC favorites, I think the string arrangement is a bit too heavy and over-dramatic, too. "São Paulo", however, is a great classy latin instrumental, with a wonderful laid-back atmosphere. A somewhat overlooked title in the CHIC catalog. The closing track of side 1 set the formula for a lot of CHIC tracks to come, "You Can Get By" (sung by Bernard) has the irresistible bubbling rhythm and gets away with repeating the chorus indefinitely as only CHIC can get away with that. The instrumental break with congas, rhythm guitar and strings is arguably this album's most enjoyable moment. The second single, ingeniously (LOL) entitled "Everybody Dance", fared less well than "Dance Dance Dance" did, but is actually far superior, especially in its glorious 8-minutes 12" version. The opening bass solo is slamming, and when piano, guitar and strings on top of it, it simply becomes the perfect disco record, although one could argue that Norma Jean's lead vocal may come off a bit anonymous. "Est-ce que c'est chic" is nothing out of the ordinary, yet very enjoyable. The album's ballad "Falling In Love With You" proved that CHIC's grandeur, also in writing slow jams, was waiting just around the corner, on this title it is, however, not quite perfected. This is also the case with the closing track "Strike Up The Band" - there is nothing especially wrong with the track, it is just that things were to become so much better just one year ahead.