Johnny Mathis was billed on his very first album as “A New Sound in Popular Song.” In the decades since that 1956 debut, the vocalist has always explored new avenues in pop from Latin music to Philly soul. But the most adventurous of Mathis’ 60-plus albums may be the one that got away…until now. On February 1, 2019, Second Disc Records and Real Gone Music will proudly present the first-ever standalone compact disc release of I Love My Lady, the remarkable 1981 album by two American treasures: Johnny Mathis and CHIC.
Beginning in December 1980 and continuing through February 1981, Johnny teamed up with the white-hot CHIC production and songwriting team of Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards, fresh off triumphant collaborations with artists including Sister Sledge and Diana Ross, for I Love My Lady. Recording at New York’s Power Station, Mathis took his voice into new, uncharted territory on eight anthemic, club-ready track that pushed the envelope of rhythm and blues as they incorporated rock, funk, jazz, disco, soul, and dance rhythms. He was joined by a CHIC “Who’s Who” for the sessions: Tony Thompson on drums; Raymond Jones, Andy Schwartz, and Rob Sabino on keyboards; and of course, Nile on guitar and Bernard on bass. Nile also arranged and conducted The CHIC Strings. Alfa Anderson, Fonzi Thornton, Luci Martin, and Michelle Cobbs brought their tight, distinctive vocal blend to support Johnny.
Despite the irresistible beats, incomparable vocals, and sleek production, the September 1981 release date of I Love My Lady came and went, and Columbia Records ultimately shelved the album. Yet its legend only grew as the years passed. In 2006, house music duo The Shapeshifters tantalizingly sampled a track from one song (“Love and Be Loved”) while the full track remained in the vault. Finally, beginning in 2010, its songs began to trickle out on compilations, and in 2017, I Love My Lady was issued for the first time as part of a Mathis box set. It appeared on vinyl earlier this year.
For the occasion of its first standalone CD release, we’ve commissioned all-new cover artwork. The deluxe package, designed in period style by John Sellards, features a booklet rare photos of Johnny. Johnny Mathis, Alfa Anderson, and Fonzi Thornton have all contributed their reflections on the making of this very special album for the new liner notes by The Second Disc’s Joe Marchese. Mike Piacentini has remastered at Sony’s Battery Studios. A lost album no more, the powerfully rich and bold Love My Lady presents the eternal Voice of Romance and one of popular music’s most enduring teams out on the town in the early 1980s, with sensuality and soul going hand-in-hand. It’s Johnny Mathis as you’ve never heard him before.
- Fall in Love (I Want To)
- It’s Alright to Love Me
- Something to Sing About
- I Love My Lady
- Take Me
- Stay with Me
- Love and Be Loved
Album originally scheduled as Columbia FC 37383, September 1981