Sister Sledge - We Are Family (1979)
The best disco album ever. It's so good I used to think it was a greatest hits collection - every track is great! Actually, 6 of the 8 tracks were issued as singles at the time, so in a sense it is a hit collection (they weren't all hits though). Funnily enough, better than any Chic album - although Chic wrote and produced all the songs here of course. Bernard Edwards' bass playing is amazing throughout - try listening once to the whole album just paying attention to the bass, you'll be mesmerized and finally convinced of the man's genius. Then do it again listening out for Nile Rodgers' guitar! All those little flourishes and embellishments, while still keeping the groove going... Mini-solos and pattern changes that almost go unnoticed to untrained ears, making listening to this album an unforgettably enjoyable experience. Unbelievable stuff. Absolutely an incredible record. The famous singles (He's The Greatest Dancer, Lost In Music, the title track) sound as great as ever, but it's the lesser known gems that make this album a truly stunning achievement. The otherworldly, transcendently beautiful wistfulness of Somebody Loves Me, one of the finest songs about love and the doubts that go with it I've ever heard, the awe-inspiring, jangly, mellow groove of Easier To Love, the absolutely stunning musicianship (listen to that bass inventing little melodies, improvising, basically solo-ing while still carrying it all rhythmically...) on the delightful, majestic You're A Friend To Me, and fine funky closing track One More Time, a toe-tapping groovy monster, just when you thought they couldn't come up with yet another great song.
Still, Chic were 'just' a disco group... in the same way the Beach Boys were 'just' a novelty surf pop band, or the Beatles 'just' a Merseybeat pop group, or perhaps more appropriately the way Phil Spector 'just' produced throwaway 'pop' records...
Geniuses! These guys were geniuses. Of course, give the girls their due too - such passionate, delicate singing, quite wondrous really. Gorgeous vocals.
One of the finest albums I have the priviledge to know. Get it now if you have any trace of funkiness in you.