Anyone who knows the story of CHIC (told quite well in last year’s box set and to be told on the printed page in guitarist/producer Nile Rodgers’ memoir in October) knows that their success was not limited to their roles as lead performers but writing and production as well – not just for themselves, but for a host of luminaries from Sister Sledge to Diana Ross.
The first step in that direction, though, was a solo album for CHIC singer Norma Jean Wright, the first extracurricular project produced by Rodgers and bassist Bernard Edwards. Next month, U.K. label Edsel Records is remastering and expanding the set with a host of bonus cuts, giving fans a chance to discover that early stop on CHIC’s road to massive success. Read all about it below!Norma Jean Wright’s self-titled debut, Norma Jean, was another early example of the CHIC sound breaking through to mainstream audiences. With the core backing ensemble – Rodgers, Edwards, drummer Tony Thompson, keyboardist Robert Sabino – and backing vocals from early CHIC mainstays Alfa Anderson and Luther Vandross, Wright shone on Rodgers and Edwards-penned tracks like “Sorceror” and “Saturday” (the latter a U.S. Top 20 R&B hit) plus a cover of Sam Cooke’s “Having a Party.”
The album was reissued by the U.K. label Sequel in 2000 with five bonus tracks, but Edsel’s set presents the original album plus seven extra cuts, including all the single mixes from the album and both sides of the follow-up single, “High Society,” also produced by The CHIC Organization and reaching the Top 20 of the U.S. R&B charts.
This set’s out on September 19. (Perhaps best of all for catalogue fans, Edsel promises it’s one of a slew of upcoming reissues from the Bearsville Records library.) Pre-order links and a full track breakdown are below!
Norma Jean (Edsel EDSS1061 (U.K.), 2011)
- Having a Party
- I Believe in You
- So I Get Hurt Again
- This is the Love
- I Like Love
- Sorcerer (12″ Mix)
- Having a Party (Extended Mix)
- Saturday (Single Mix)
- Sorcerer (Single Mix)
- Having a Party (Single Mix)
- Hold Me Lonely Boy
- High Society (Extended Version)
Tracks 1-7 released as Bearsville LP BRK 6983, 1978
Tracks 9 and 12 released as Bearsville promotional 12″ single PRO-A-767 RE-1, 1978
Track 10 released as Bearsville single A-side BSS 0326, 1978
Track 11 released as Bearsville single A-side BSS 0339, 1978
Tracks 13-14 released as Bearsville 12″ single DBSS 8898, 1979