Le Freak: Music Inspired by Chic


Gatefold double LP version. The Z Records label, run by Dave Lee aka Joey Negro, is arguably the contemporary go-to disco label, and it was only a matter of time before Lee would delve into his vinyl vaults and pull out a selection of tracks inspired by the late-'70s Chic sound. "Back when I was listening to commercial radio as a music-mad teenager in 1979/80, their records were omnipresent on the airwaves... when one of their own songs just dropped out of the hit parade, it was replaced by a production for another act -- be it Diana Ross, Sheila & B. Devotion, or Sister Sledge -- it was a constant stream of hits. When I heard songs like Norma Jean's 'High Society' (a solo release from one of Chic's singers) blasting out my transistor radio, I knew straight away it was an Edwards & Rogers production... the playing and sound of both the guitar and bass was a giveaway, along with the precise vocal phrasing, rippling piano, and discreet string parts. If it was the 12" mix then the bass breakdown and slow instrumental build up in the second half of the record was also part of the blueprint. Generally, Chic songs eschewed ad-libs or long solos; the style is more defined with each instrument having an exact placing -- including the vocals. Records like 'Good Times' and 'We Are Family' weren't just big club hits -- yes, they were massive on dance floors but they were also pop crossovers all around the world... even the rock guys I was friendly with (who generally despised disco) quietly liked Chic and admired their rock solid playing and grooves. I guess the best music has this universal appeal... The only track on here Edwards and Rogers were behind is Odyssey's 'Together,' which is one of their more obscure productions... The only actual cover is from Charanga 76 who released an album in 1979 which featured several raw, Latin disco-style Chic reworks, of which their 'Good Times' was perhaps the best -- otherwise, the likes of Delegation's, Van Jones's, and Michael Zager's are original songs, not pastiches -- just simply great music inspired by Chic's blueprint. Hope you enjoy" --Dave Lee aka Joey Negro, August 2015.