26 June 2018
Over the past few weeks I’ve been tuning into Radio Scotland on a Sunday afternoon to catch Grant’s excellent show about all things vinyl. Filling the summer gap, left by football, this is the second year the show has been aired, and the content has remained as varied this year as it was last. As the name of the show implies, all the music played on it is on vinyl. Sometimes the records are from Mr Stott’s every increasing personal collection, and sometimes they are sourced from the BBC’s library and archives. There’s something quite therapeutic about hearing the crackles and imperfections of other people’s vinyl being played. I’m sure from the DJ’s perspective there is also great satisfaction in lining up tracks ready to play. That’s a skill in itself, and more substantial than just pressing buttons.
In addition to the music, Grant has been chatting to a host of different artists about their music, their record collections and their love of vinyl. This year he has also been asking one or two of his guests to suggest an album to go into his “Vinyl Collective Collection” – a selection of 20 essential albums that anyone, embarking on their vinyl journey, should consider adding to their library.
This is building into a fascination and diverse set of records. ABC’s The Lexion of Love, Stevie Wonder’s Songs in the Key of Life, Joni Mitchell’s Blue, The Beatles’ Revolver, Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours, and George Michael’s Listen Without Prejudice are all albums that have been selected by Grant, his guests or his listeners.
This made me ask myself, what vinyl album would I choose to add to this exclusive selection? People who know me, would immediately expect me to pick something by the Pet Shop Boys. Certainly their first offering, Please, was ground-breaking and Behaviour is still one of my favourite albums of all time. But for the answer I needed to dig through my own personal vinyl collection to refresh my memory on what I owned, and it didn’t take me long to decide.
Nile Rodgers, together with band co-founder Bernard Edwards, formed Chic in the 1970s. Together the music they created has influence so many, and so much. Although Le Freak, from their second album C’est Chic became their breakthrough single, Everybody Dance and Dance, Dance, Dance (Yowsah, Yowsah, Yowsah), songs from their first album Chic, are equally important. Good Times, the lead track from the band’s third album Risqué, was not only a massive hit for the band, but would also be sampled by Grandmaster Flash, the Sugarhill Gang, Blondie, Queen and Daft Punk. Quick to maximise on Chic’s new popularity, in 1979 their label Atlantic Records released a compilation entitled Les Plus Grands Succès De Chic. This was the piece of vinyl I purchased as a teenager, as disco fever swept around the world. I love this album, and play it as much now, as the day I bought it. It’s simply joyous uplifting music, that never fails to raise your spirits or urges you to get up on a dancfloor.
I doubt whether my choice would make it in to Mr Stott’s Vinyl Collective Collection, because it’s a greatest hits album rather than a standalone piece of work. But I felt the need to express my admiration for Chic, and latterly the songwriting, production and collaboration talents of Nile Rodgers with artists such as Sister Sledge, Diana Ross, David Bowie, Duran Duran, Madonna, Daft Punk and Laura Mvula. A true genius of music who should be celebrated more often.