6 Songs, 23 Minutes


About Outloud

After releasing a pair of solo albums under his own name in the first half of the '80s, and with his old group, Chic, undergoing a long period of inactivity, guitarist Nile Rodgers decided to form a new band. It was a curiously anonymous move, especially since Rodgers was just coming down from the peak of his A-list production jobs (David Bowie, Duran Duran, Madonna, etc.). However, Outloud didn't exactly thrust him into unfamiliar territory: the trio included two musicians who Rodgers knew well: Parisian session synthesist Phillipe Saisse, who'd worked with Rodgers' clients like Bowie, and guitarist/vocalist Felicia Collins, a fellow New Yorker who had toured with the Thompson Twins during Rodgers' tenure as their producer. The resulting album would be Outloud's only recording together, and featured a high-tech synth funk sound similar to Rodgers' previous solo outing, B-Movie Matinee. But there was plenty of Rodgers' trademark rhythm guitar work, plus a tribute to R&B pioneer Sly Stone, to connect it to his earlier, earthier funk. Outloud was apparently intended to become a going proposition, but Warner Bros. wasn't satisfied with the result — calling it "too artistic," according to one account — and the album flopped, becoming only a footnote in the careers of its three participants. Rodgers, however, would soon prove he had lost none of his skill at crafting hits, working on the B-52's chart-topping "Love Shack" and ultra-successful album Cosmic Thing just a couple of years later.