Norma Jean – Norman Jean (Bearsville BRK 6989) (1978)

Something like five years ago I found this record at Help the Aged in Hythe, my eye caught by the distinctive, classy Norman Seeff photography. Despite having everything going for it, not least production, songwriting, instrumentation and arrangement by Niles Rogers and Bernard Edwards, I passed.  The hitch: a £2.50 price tag.  Less than a week later, I repented, cursing my meaness and returned to collect my spoils; alas, it was gone and I resolved that I would not rest until it was mine.  My vigilance was rewarded a few weeks ago and for only a pound. Praises be, but I suspect I would have gotten £1.50’s worth of pleasure in the intervening years.

The record sounds much like the other Chic productions of the time (really, how busy were those cats?!), bolstered by Norma’s excellent pipes. Chic were always keen on their musical history and here those debts are once again paid: witness, vibes solo in “Saturday” and a frenetic, but tasteful take on Sam Cooke’s “Having A Party.” Special notice must be given to the rhythm guitar playing, especially on “Sorcerer” which also features some fine conga work.  While the three ballads are artfully performed, it’s the uptempo numbers that I will return to.

Published in: on December 23, 2010 at 2:09 pm  Leave a Comment  

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