Wed. Jul. 24, 2019

Chic w. The Martinez Brothers – I’ll Be There

Single Of The Week: Chic w. The Martinez Brothers – I’ll Be There (Warner Bros.)

‘I’ll Be There…’ And they definitely are. Like it or not, one could hardly compete with the Disco sounds nowadays. First, because of the high musicianship of its actors back then. And second because of the high budget this would mean to put such as sound together nowadays. Nile Rodgers made it though, and in the nicest way, along with the collaboration of NYC House pair The Martinez Brothers. Therefore revamping what was an early session with Sister Sledge, featuring the late Bernard Edwards and Tony Thompson, respectively on bass and drums. And the impression is as if we’d left them the day before!

‘I’ll Be There’, Chic is back. We’ve been warned…

Download from iTunes.

Overview
Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards first met as fellow musicians in NYC in 1970. Back then, they eventually formed a Rock band by the likes of The Boys which later on became The Big Apple Band. Despite playing on countless gigs and interest in their demos, they didn’t get any offer for a recording contract though. They soon after collaborated with New York City who delivered the memorable ‘I’m Doin’ Fine Now’ back in 1973. A cut which British band The Pasadenas covered 19 years after, scoring one of their biggest hits with it.

With the idea of creating a band slowly maturing in their minds, Nile and Bernard came to recruit Tony Thompson. A drummer remembered for his work along with LaBelle and Ecstasy, Passion & Pain. The latter suggesting them to recruit keyboardist Raymond Jones. Needing a singer then, they hooked up with Norma Jean Wright, then soon after with the then up and coming sound engineer Bob Clearmountain. Eventually releasing their debut-single – ‘Dance, Dance, Dance (Yowsah!, Yowsah!, Yowsah!)’ – on Buddah Records with backup vocals courtesy of Luther Vandross. And Chic was born. Eventually releasing their eponymous debut-album soon after on Atlantic and droppin’ in the meantime another infectious gem by the likes of ‘Everybody Dance’.

Nile and cohorts soon after recorded Norman Jean Wright‘s album, filling it with extra boiling cuts such as ‘Saturday’, ‘Having A Party’ and ‘Sorcerer’. Then soon after recruited another female singer by the likes of Luci Martin. Meanwhile Alfa Anderson came to replace Wright for contractual reasons.

‘C’est Chic’, the band’s second album saw the light by the end of 1978. It featured ‘Chic Cheer’ which Faith Evans sampled back in 1998 on ‘Love Like This’. But also ‘I Want Your Love’ and ‘Happy Man’. Not to mention the multi-million selling ‘Le Freak’…

1979 was a quintessential year in the history of contemporary music as for the one of Chic. This with the release of their ‘Risqué’ album as highlighted by the seminal ‘Good Times’. A cut which influenced countless artists. From Sugarhill Gang on ‘Rapper’s Delight’ to Grandmaster Flash. But also Vaughan Mason & Crew (‘Bounce, Rock, Skate, Roll’). Not to mention Queen (‘Another One Bites The Dust’), Captain Sensible (‘Wot’). Or Blondie (‘Rapture’). Nile & Nard producing Sister Sledge‘s ‘We Are Family’ album the same year. An offering that spanned the classics ‘He’s The Greatest Dancer’, ‘Lost In Music’, ‘Thinking Of You’ and its title track. This in addition to ‘Got To Love Somebody’, from their ‘Love Somebody Today’ follow-up album.

This period most likely marked Chic‘s absolute peak, with productions of them all over. From Sheila B Devotion‘s ‘Spacer’ to Diana Ross‘Upside Down’ to name a few. Not to mention Carly Simon‘s ‘Why’. As many tracks you might find in our 10 essential Chic productions. Be they together as on their respective owns. Sadly, the infamous Disco Demolition Night engendered bad consequences for Chic. The guys most likely missing to catch up with the electronic trend that appeared soon after in the production, as Nile said it in an interview we had back in March 1992.

With the group soon after disbanding, Nile and Bernard met various successes on their respective sides. But a part of the magic had gone. They nevertheless made a come back, 9 years after the release of their 1983 ‘Believer’ album. This with a single ‘Chic Mystique’ with remixes courtesy of Masters At Work, Roger S and Brothers In Rhythm. But also an album – ‘Chicism’ – which would be the very last together. An album which featured the infectious ‘Your Love’ with remix by the likes of Nellee Hooper (Soul II Soul).

Although sick while touring in Japan back in 1996, Bernard did his thing against all ods on stage. Eventually blackin’ out for a while, with his partner assuming the absence of bass being like an improvisation. Edwards retired to his hotel room after the concert where he was later found dead by Nile. The cause of death was ruled to be pneumonia. He was 43…

It was announced that Nile Rodgers had signed a new record deal with Warner Bros. by the beginning of 2015 with a release of a new Chic album for the first time in more than 2 decades. The album will be titled ‘It’s About Time’. The lead single from the record – ‘I’ll Be There’ – hitted the streets back on March 20, 2015. Former band singer Alfa Anderson brilliantly responding to it with ‘Perfectly Chic’ in 2017. Eventually getting some remix treatment courtesy of Boomtang and 83 West the year after…

More than three years have gone since. And the ‘It’s About Time’ album has finally landed on Sept. 28, 2018 although it doesn’t include ‘I’ll Be There’. Featuring a cohort of guests. From Lady Gaga on ‘I Want Your Love’ to Philippe Saisse on ‘State Of Mine (It’s About Time)’. But also Emeli Sandé and Elton John on ‘Queen’ in addition to Craig David and Stefflon Don on ‘Sober’ among others. A cut eventually retitled ‘New Jack Sober’ after New Jack Swing mogul Teddy Riley remixed it…

– Bronx natives Chris and Steve Martinez have been brought to music when (still) on their teens. With thanks to their dad who was a regular of The Paradise Garage. But also to Dennis Ferrer who acted as an elder brother. This while takin’ them under his wing on his Objektivity label at the time.

More than 10 years have gone since. And TMB, as we also call them, have established themselves as a force to count with. Obviously makin’ the right choices in the running of their profile. As DJ’s (performing together) while appearing at some of the biggest events in the circuit. And also makin’ themselves quite a name with their residencies in Ibiza. Regularly spinnin’ on behalf of collaborative label Tuskegee Records along with Set Troxler before settin’ up their own Cuttin Headz imprint.

In 2014, they came to directly work with fashion designer Riccardo Tisci. With this resulting in the creation the soundtrack for Givenchy’s menswear and women’s wear fall/Winter 2014 and Spring 2015 collections. Then, the year after they came to collaborate with Chic‘s Nile Rodgers. Adding percussion on the memorable ‘I’ll Be There’ which we welcomed as Our Single Of The Week back then. The beginning of 2018 seein’ them joining forces with Louie Vega on the boiling hot ‘Shut The Door’

You might also like…
10 essential Chic productions…

About indamixworldwide 2012 Articles
Story teller, record pusher, compiler & web designer...
%d bloggers like this: