Sunday, October 18, 2009

Chicks - "Security" (RCA) 1980

It's been a while since I logged into this site, but I've been having a bit of difficulty trying to transfer my vinyl to MP3 to share with others in cyberspace. Once this is done I promise I'll be sharing a bit more! :)

Anyway, this is an album that is by one of the most sadly underlooked and forgotten Brisbane bands of the late 70's - early 80's. They originally went by the name of "Chicks Incorporated" but later shortened it to just "Chicks". The band was unusual because they were originally an 8 piece all-girl instrumental/vocal band with a female drummer (Miriam Curtis) who also produced the album, and they originally featured only one male member called Chris Mitchell who played guitar. They were apparently a very sexy and photogenic band with two dancers, and got snapped up by RCA Records.

Unfortunately during their time with the label they underwent more lineup changes than hot dinners because they couldn't find competant musicians and evenutally ended up with 40% of the band being male musicians. Virtually nothing is known about the other musicians, except their first lead singer was Safanya who had previously done the musical "Jesus Christ Superstar" in 1973, and their sax player was Pam Withnall (later with Sydney band The Party Girls and now a jazz saxophonist, but had left the band before they actually recorded). Some of the drumming was provided by Don Liebler who taught Miriam, and is now a lecturer at the Conservatorium in Brisbane.

It's a shame it wasn't a hit, because this is actually quite a decent and listenable album. Many of the songs on it were written either by legendary Brisbane songwriters David Bentley (who also wrote Python Lee Jackson's international smash "In A Broken Dream" with Rod Stewart on vocals), and the team of Laurie Stone and the late Peter Moscos.

The album opens up with a good bass driven reggae rock number called "Security" which name drops famous historical characters like Jesus, Napoleon and Nero. Nice guitar licks and a funky singalong chorus that quickly sticks in your head. It goes into their second single "Movie Star" which is a polemic about the illusory high-life in Hollywood, sounding slightly like Manfred Mann's Earth Band's hit "Blinded By The Light" but with more of a disco feel to it.
The third track "Two Of A Kind" is one of the best songs on the album with a very early 70's feel to it featuring a good electric piano hook and some free form guitar playing. Although written by David Bentley, at times it sounds a bit like R. D. Taylor's "Indiana Wants Me", and it has a freaky ending which sounds like they had chucked the synthesiser down a flight of stairs.
"Loaded Dice" has a more moody feel to it with some bloopy keyboards and a mechanical drumbeat.
Side 2 opens up with "I'm On Fire" which was their third single with a very fast frantic beat, climbing bass and some funky sax playing. This side tends to lose the pace with the next two tracks, but picks up with the final two called "Guys" and "Life's A Carnival" which has a more campy cabaret feel to it.

Outside of this album, their debut single "Jive To Stay Alive" (not included here for some odd reason) was used on the "Dat's Disco" compilation album on RCA featuring mostly international acts with more recognisable hits and also on the "Sandival" compilation available on most torrent sites. The only other track I have by them was "Stormy Nights" recorded specially for the "That's Queensland" compilation album specially released by radio station 4IP. This track veers away from the disco/funk approach and more into New Wave pop in a similar style to Devo's "Whip It" and Kim Wilde's "Kids In America".

In a twist of history repeating, I am also working on an updated version of this band called Laissez-Fayre whereby I am the only guitarist in the band and the rest of them are girls, though the songs have a slightly different approach to what Chicks produced.

4.5/5

1 comment:

  1. Do you have an mp3 rip of this album per chance?

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