September 7, 2011 – 4:43 am

The long-lost Johnny Mathis funk album. It’s been 30 years.

Click on the panels for a better view or to download artwork.

I Love My Lady [no label, 1CD]

The 1981 unreleased album. Produced by Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards of CHIC. Excellent soundboard stereo.

Anyone know why this funky stomper remained on the shelf?

James Cobo writes:
“Although Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards are better known today for all the peerless singles they released as Chic (”Everybody Dance”, “Le Freak”, “Soup For One”…), the pair deserve almost as much acclaim for the albums they produced for other artists such as Sister Sledge’s We Are Family or the aforementioned Diana Ross’ diana. Unfortunately, one album - alleged by Rodgers to be one of the group’s best - remains unreleased to this day: Johnny Mathis’ I Love My Lady. Recorded in 1981 in the wake of the surprise comeback hit with Deinice Williams “Too Much, Too Little, Too Late”, I Love My Lady was Mathis’ attempt to hitch his wagon to the hottest producers working in pop at the time in the hope of reinvigorating himself artistically (think Nelly Furtado, Timbaland, and Loose) and, by all accounts, the project was a complete success.

Rodgers would spend the next three decades claiming songs like “Go With The Flow” and the title track were some of the best things he ever recorded. Due to Sony being a bunch of bitches (to use the scientific term), however, we’ve had to take Rodgers at his word for most of the last three decades.

The record was shelved before its release for being “too daring” for Mathis’ fanbase of blue-haired old ladies (whom Mathis proceeded to alienate the next year anyway when he came out as a practicing homosexualist). Thankfully, I Love My Lady has gradually started leaking out, with long clips and substantial snippets turning up on the internet in recent years. ChicTribute.com have been doing the Lord’s work and keeping RealMedia streams of all the clips to surface on their site; the songs are good enough to justify the installation of RealPlayer, and that’s really saying something.”

Thanks to BigDaddyWil who shared the tracks at Dime.

Click on the highlighted tracks to download the MP3s (sample rate of 224 kbps). As far as we can ascertain, these tracks have never been officially released on CD.

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01. I Want To Fall In Love - Omitted*
02. It’s Alright To Love Me - Omitted*
03. Something To Sing About - Omitted*
Track 04. I Love My Lady (8.7MB)
Track 05. Take Me (11.5MB)
Track 06. Judy (5.1MB)
Track 07. Stay With Me (5.8MB)
Track 08. Love And Be Loved (7.8MB)

*Available on Nile Rodgers presents: The Chic Organization, Boxset Vol. I / “Savoir Faire”.

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Come on join the group that wants this album released

In 1981, crooner Johnny Mathis - fresh from a successful collaboration with Deniece Williams - entered the studio with Chic, the innovative disco/funk band. Chic auteurs Bernard Edwards and Nile Rodgers were then at their commercial and critical peak, and the album they wrote and produced for Mathis, I Love My Lady, was intended to reinvent the vocalist for a younger generation.

But upon its completion, the record was perceived - whether by Mathis, his management or the record company remains unclear - as having Gone Too Far. I Love My Lady sounded too funky, too black, too intertwined with the kind of musical sound Mathis had spent his entire career avoiding. Amidst fear that the album would alienate a straight-laced audience that Mathis had cultivated for more than two decades, the project was killed. 28 years after it was recorded, I Love My Lady remains unreleased. Since then, the album’s mysterious disappearance has made it the subject of considerable myth and speculation; despite the fact that virtually no one has ever heard a note of it, it is often included on lists of “Great Lost Albums.”

In 2007, I discovered a set of masters to the album while combing through the Warner Bros. vaults for material related to an upcoming Chic boxed set. As the producer of that project, I will be discussing both the history behind the album’s original recording and subsequent suppression as well as the current attempt to bring it back into light. I’ll also be touching on some of the challenges facing recovery projects of this sort, especially in a time where record companies are making it more difficult to search through archived material for just these kinds of forgotten recordings.”

Andy Zax, 2009

Johnny Mathis continues to record and released Let It Be Me, his Nashville album early this year, with a duet with Alison Krauss. Buy it here.

  1. 9 Responses to “HEEEEERE’S JOHNNY”

  2. This sounds very late 1970’s disco/dance/funk. Too bad it did not get released in 1981. It is a very dated style, but quite listenable.

    By JALtheImpaler on Sep 7, 2011

  3. Just stick a picture of Al Jarreau on the cover and no one will know the difference.

    By Tom L. on Sep 7, 2011

  4. In fairness to Mathis, he first came on the scene as a jazz singer and did not restrict himself to the sweet, romantic naive ballads he hit with and sings to this day. The new album is country-flavored and he also recorded in Philadelphia with Gamble-Huff and with Tony Mottola on the classic “Open Fire, Two Guitars.” Remarkable none of this sturdy material showed up on Mathis’ career spanning box set of a few years ago.

    By Tony on Sep 7, 2011

  5. Long rumored to have been recorded, some of this Johnny Mathis, Chic Organization production surfaced on the recent Chic box set. What a thrill it is to hear the entire album presented here. Perhaps sounding dated to some ears, it is still wonderful to hear Chic’s vision for a revamped Mathis, Why Columbia Records balked at releasing this at the time is a mystery, but it still deserves to be hear. Thank you for posting this gem!

    By R. Mark Desjardins on Sep 8, 2011

  6. Hello Mark

    Thanks for the feedback.

    By bigozine2 on Sep 8, 2011

  7. What song is “Go With The Flow?”

    Thanks for sharing this, by the way…
    …I just told the world!

    By joe gumbo on Sep 8, 2011

  8. wrong page,,,,but hey bigo if your gonna post so call sdb concerts be true about it…every neil young sound like shit….theres a diference between sdb and studio…learn them…i’m a huge neil young fan and most of your shows sound like shit…so don’t put neil young off and put the shitty shows up for download…your only killing him….nothing personal….but if you post something make it worth wild for downloading not shit recordings……

    By james on Sep 10, 2011

  9. Hey James, never mind all the hard work that bigO do to get the recordings to us, at least they can tell the difference between Neil Young and Johnny Mathis….

    By MarkyJ on Sep 18, 2011

  10. To James Cobo; “practicing homosexualist?” what kind of bullshit is that? a little phobic are we?

    By John Morrison on Sep 20, 2011

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