Music Matters - with John Murray

John Murray
John Murray

RARELY do we see global icons in our neck of the woods. There are examples of course but less than a dozen in the last 50 years.

For every fan who saw Morrissey at Dunfermline Alhambra, six more saw Snow Patrol at the Path Tavern and even more ‘were there’ to see The Beatles at the Carlton Cinema circa 1963.

Well not knowing what to expect I tried to book into Nile Rodgers’ presentation at the Edinburgh International Book Festival which was unsurprisingly sold out. However, closer examination of the unbound programme showed he did have a 9.00 p.m. appearance the day before which was unticketed and free.

My adviser warned me to queue early so I did, fortuitously as it turned out as many were left standing on the periphery with more outside. The performance, just one man and his 1959 Stratocaster was outstanding as his personal story unfolded before us in close quarters.

With both parents heroin addicts, young Nile rebelled to study classical music which gave him an unusual approach to the funk guitar. His first band New York City had a solitary hit with ‘I’m Doing Fine Now’ but this prompted him and his writing partner on bass Bernard Edwards to form Chic.

Finger twisting diminished chords stabbed riffs to blend funk with disco and this unique brand helped by a bass line still sampled and copied today and a chorus with a hook produced a hit machine. ‘Le Freak’ was followed by the inspirational ‘Good Times’. He would then write and produce for Sister Sledge, David Bowie, Duran Duran, Diana Ross and Madonna. His brutally honest book Le Freak (Little Brown, £9.99), is now a paperback and an essential read for those of us who lived through those good times.

Edinburgh band Cafe Jacques signed to CBS in 1976, recorded with Phil Collins on drums and had some chart success especially in the US.

Now with a new album, founder Chris Thomson has recruited Chris Glen (Sensational Alex Harvey Band) and actor Jon Morrison for a one off intimate show this Saturday at Harbour Bar Kirkcaldy.