I Love My Lady

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I Love My Lady
Studio album by Johnny Mathis
Released Unreleased
Recorded February 1981[1]
Genre R&B
Length 38:32
Label Columbia
Producer Bernard Edwards
Nile Rodgers[1]
Johnny Mathis chronology
The Best of Johnny Mathis 1975–1980
(1980)
I Love My Lady
(1981)
The First 25 Years – The Silver Anniversary Album
(1981)

I Love My Lady is an unreleased album by American pop singer Johnny Mathis that was completed in 1981. It was written and produced by Chic founders Bernard Edwards and Nile Rodgers[1] and represents an attempt at shifting away from the easy listening style of music that Mathis had been recording for 25 years to the more contemporary sound of the team behind "Le Freak" and "We Are Family".

History[edit]

Johnny Mathis experienced a career resurgence in the spring of 1978 with the release of a duet he recorded with Deniece Williams entitled "Too Much, Too Little, Too Late". The single was his first to achieve Gold certification from the Recording Industry Association of America,[2] which at the time was awarded for sales of 1 million units in the US; it was his first song to make the top 40 on the Billboard Hot 100 since the number 30 showing of "Every Step of the Way" in 1963[2] and his first number one song on that chart since the magazine started it in 1958[3] (although "Chances Are" spent a week at number one on the magazine's "Most Played by Jockeys" chart in 1957).[2] The duet also gave Mathis a resurgence in album sales with its inclusion on You Light Up My Life, his first top 10 entry on the magazine's LP chart since 1966 and his first non-holiday studio album to receive Platinum certification since 1959's Heavenly.[4]

Mathis was able to sustain some of the momentum in album sales by re-teaming with Williams immediately for an entire album of duets: That's What Friends Are For went Gold and had a respectable peak at number 19 on the album chart[5] but managed only the number 47 "You're All I Need to Get By" as far as pop chart entries.[2] His first album release in 1979, The Best Days of My Life, only got as high as number 122[5] with two songs just making the Adult Contemporary chart,[6] and his second, Mathis Magic, missed the Billboard album chart altogether[5] and had no charting singles.[2] Although he had been leaning more heavily on original material since the success with Williams, he had worked with the same producer, Jack Gold, on eight of the albums that he recorded between 1975 and 1980 and was willing to explore other options.

In February 1981 Mathis entered the studio to record the album that would be referred to as I Love My Lady with Bernard Edwards and Nile Rodgers at the helm.[1] All tracks for the album were written by the duo, whose songwriting credits included hits by their own band, Chic,[7] as well as Sister Sledge[8] and Diana Ross.[9] Mathis has been quoted as having enjoyed the project: "'What a joy to work and sing with Bernard and Nile...A unique experience that introduced me to new and exciting singing, as though using musical notes and phrases as brush strokes. A true departure for me as a vocalist and a milestone in my career.'"[10] After the completion of the album, "nobody said anything over at Columbia, and a best-of album [The First 25 Years – The Silver Anniversary Album] came out instead."[11]

In 2004 a spokeswoman for Mathis explained the efforts that had been made to get the album released. "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."[1] When asked in a 2011 radio interview as to why the album had never been released, Mathis gave a brief chuckle as he replied, "Probably because the record company is almighty when you're making music to sell. They have their likes and dislikes....I guess because they didn't think it would sell."[12]

Resurfacing[edit]

At the EMP Pop Conference on April 19, 2009, music historian Andy Zax gave the presentation "Lost in Lost Music: Rediscovering Johnny Mathis' I Love My Lady" in which he describes his interest in producing a CD box set that would cover the music that Edwards and Rodgers produced for Chic and other artists.[11] He discovered the unreleased Mathis album in August 2007 while looking through the vault of tapes that would've held much of the material he was wanting for the project.[11]

Music journalist Ned Raggett included his notes in his report on the presentation that described the album as "less funk [such as what Chic was known for] and more jazz, like Weather Report but with bright melodic hooks. Sounds like Al Jarreau’s This Time and Steely Dan’s Gaucho (minus the boring stuff!)."[11]

Four of the eight tracks from the album have made their way onto compilations by Rodgers. The 2010 release Nile Rodgers presents The Chic Organization Boxset Vol 1 / "Savoir Faire" included the tracks "I Want to Fall in Love", "It's Alright to Love Me", and "Something to Sing About".[13] The title track from the album, along with "Something to Sing About", was released on Mathis' UK-only Ultimate Collection in 2011. "I Love My Lady" also appeared in 2013 on two two-disc compilations: Nile Rodgers presents The Chic Organization — Up All Night[10] and Nile Rodgers presents The Chic Organization — Up All Night Disco Edition.[14]

The Shapeshifters' 2006 single "Sensitivity" features samples from an out-take version of "Love and Be Loved" supplied to them by Nile Rodgers. Chic are given a featured artist credit on the track.

Track listing[1][edit]

All tracks written by Bernard Edwards & Nile Rodgers

Side 1

  1. "I Want to Fall in Love" – 6:00
  2. "It's Alright to Love Me (Go with the Flow)" – 4:20
  3. "Something to Sing About" – 4:13
  4. "I Love My Lady" – 5:26

Side 2

  1. "Take Me" – 6:50
  2. "Judy" – 3:11
  3. "Stay with Me" – 3:38
  4. "Love and Be Loved" – 4:54

Personnel[1][edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Johnny Mathis - I Love My Lady (1981)". CHICtribute.com. Retrieved 24 January 2014. 
  2. ^ a b c d e Whitburn 2009, p. 628.
  3. ^ Whitburn 2009, p. 10.
  4. ^ Whitburn 2010, pp. 503–504.
  5. ^ a b c Whitburn 2010, p. 504.
  6. ^ Whitburn 2007, p. 179.
  7. ^ Whitburn 2007, p. 51.
  8. ^ Whitburn 2007, p. 253.
  9. ^ Whitburn 2007, p. 236.
  10. ^ a b (2013) Nile Rodgers presents The Chic Organization — Up All Night by various artists [CD booklet]. New York: Warner Music Group WMTV 200
  11. ^ a b c d "EMP Pop Conference 2009 — Sunday presentations". WordPress.com. Retrieved 27 January 2014. 
  12. ^ Presenter: John Wilson (2011-10-04). "Johnny Mathis and David Bailey". Front Row. 8:20 minutes in. BBC. BBC Radio 4. 
  13. ^ (2010) Nile Rodgers presents The Chic Organization Boxset Vol 1 / "Savoir Faire" by various artists [CD booklet]. New York: Warner Music Group 5249827985
  14. ^ (2013) Nile Rodgers presents The Chic Organization — Up All Night Disco Edition by various artists [CD booklet]. New York: Warner Music Group WMTV 209

References[edit]

  • Whitburn, Joel (2007), Joel Whitburn Presents Billboard Top Adult Songs, 1961-2006, Record Research Inc., ISBN 0898201691 
  • Whitburn, Joel (2009), Joel Whitburn's Top Pop Singles, 1955-2008, Record Research Inc., ISBN 0898201802 
  • Whitburn, Joel (2010), Joel Whitburn Presents Top Pop Albums, Seventh Edition, Record Research Inc., ISBN 0-89820-183-7