There may not be enough positive words to write about Nile Rodgers. The sole surviving member of The CHIC Organization (which included bassist Bernard Edwards and drummer Tony Thompson), Rodgers helped shape the sound of late '70s and early '80s pop and R&B, either as a performer with CHIC, a producer - often alongside Edwards - for Diana Ross, Sister Sledge, Madonna and others or even as a sampled artist (see The Sugar Hill Gang's "Rapper's Delight" and "The Adventures of Grandmaster Flash on the Wheels of Steel," two of the best rap records ever).
It's probably that CHIC stuff that gets the least recognition, it seems, at least on compact disc. A few of the band's original LPs have only recently been reissued on CD by Wounded Bird Records. Some have still inexplicably never been remastered - notably C'est CHIC and Risque, their two biggest and best albums - but one of the most interesting of their offerings has never been released on CD.
The 1982 film Soup for One was a sex comedy that is, by many accounts, total crap. Far less crappy was the soundtrack, to which CHIC and associated artists extensively contributed. There were ten CHIC performances or productions in the film and eight of them were included on the original soundtrack. None of the songs were "Le Freak"-sized hits in the U.S. - despite some intriguing collaborations with Teddy Pendergrass and CHIC vocalist Fonzi Thornton (the two Thornton songs featured in the film were taken from his never-released solo record Frostbite) - but "Why," a killer groove track sung by Carly Simon, was a Top 10 hit overseas and is now considered one of her best-loved songs.
Perhaps Wounded Bird will serve up Soup for One someday; until then, though, here's a look at how it would go down Reissue Theory-style.
Various Artists – Soup for One: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (Mirage WTCG 19353, 1982)
- Soup for One – CHIC
- Why – Carly Simon
- Dream Girl – Teddy Pendergrass
- I Work for a Livin’ – Fonzi Thornton
- I Want Your Love – CHIC *
- Let’s Go on Vacation – Sister Sledge *
- Tavern on the Green – CHIC
- Jump, Jump – Deborah Harry *
- Riding - Fonzi Thornton +
- Open Up - CHIC * +
- Soup for One (12” Mix) – CHIC (12” A-side – Mirage DM 4287, 1982) +
- Why (12” Mix) – Carly Simon (U.K. 12” A-side – Mirage K 79300 T, 1982) +
- Why (12” Instrumental) – Carly Simon (U.K. 12” B-side – Mirage K 79300 T, 1982) +
* indicates track was not exclusive to the album
+ bonus tracks not on the original LP
Revel in the delight of the 12" mix of "Why" below. And hey - if you've got a Reissue Theory idea, send it to firstname.lastname@example.org!