GRACE JONES (part 2 of 2)

GRACE JONES, page part 2 of 2: The More Interesting Years (1980-89)

Jones, resuscitation with the aid of boyfriend/quasi-manager Jean-Paul Goude, about it completely transformed herself from disco diva into outrageous, androgynous sultry chanteuse with 1980′s “Warm Leatherette”, which consisted mostly of ’70s covers (the title track originally done by The Normal, Roxy Music’s “Love Is The Drug”, The Pretenders’ “Private Life”) done in a mildly reggae-tinged New Wave style. This was a grand stylistic leap for Jones, and the result is that the momentum gained with this album, along with the greater success of her similarly styled next album (1981′s “Nghtclubbing”), brought Jones a popular following across Europe and somewhat across America. “Warm Leatherette” was also the first of Jones’ three successive LPs produced at the legendary Compass Point Studios in the Bahamas.

“Inside Story”, from 1986, was co-produced by the influential Nile Rodgers, and while the album has funky touches, it’s more interesting for the same reasons that her early disco records have entertainment value — because the songs are purely weird. How could songs with titles like “Victor Should Have Been A Jazz Musician” be anything but weird? The album is a perfect soundtrack for the lives of people who don’t pay any attention to music (which they mostly only half-listen to anyway).

I haven’t had the chance to listen to 1989′s “Bulletproof Heart” yet, but after all I’ve said about the above albums, wouldn’t you be curious too?

Grace Jones – “Warm Leatherette” LP, 1980 (ZIP file)
Grace Jones – “Inside Story” LP, 1986 (ZIP file)
Grace Jones – “Bulletproof Heart” LP, 1989 (ZIP file)

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864 Responses to GRACE JONES (part 2 of 2)

  1. Anthony Hansen says:

    All you need to know about Bulletproof Heart is that it’s terrible.

  2. Jim Donato says:

    The albums with the Compass Point All Stars as the band are hot! As a ZTT junkie, I’ll have the time of day for the overcooked “Slave To The Rhythm.” But “Inside Story” and “Bulletproof Heart” sounded awful from the singles, so I couldn’t bite. I had heard the All Stars were back in the fold for the new one. And in a stunning bit of synchronicity, Post-Punker-turned-Stadium-Rocker-turned-Post-Post-Punker Jim Kerr (of Simple Minds) had this to say about Ms. Jones on his blog a month or two ago:

    Amazing Grace !
    Item added: Friday 07th of November 2008
    The year may be drawing to a close and I might have thought that I had heard what for me would have been my favourite album of the year when back in May I heard the charming debut from MGMT.

    But no! As it happens I have just spent this morning listening to the new album from Grace Jones titled ‘Hurricane’, and it is for me the album I have had the most pleasure from over this year.

    I really do admire it!

    Grace has always been a big favourite of Simple Minds and I recall countless road trips spent criss crossing entire countries with her music on in the background. As a performer she is easily one of the greatest there is and an absolute unique entity, there is after all only one Grace Jones.

    Maybe it is because of her personality and her original modelling background, plus the absolute outlandish costumes etc. But I really don’t think Grace Jones gets the credit she most certainly deserves for having made some real landmark records over the last three decades.

    Some of the coolest, most fashionable soul records in existence, that is.

    On the new album there is a song called William’s Blood, and she performed it last week on UK television. How great it was to see her back with new songs after 18 years and how great it was equally to observe her magnificent effect.

    To say I was reduced to being a bit of a schoolboy while watching Miss Jones is no understatement, but then again at least I did not have to follow her performance with my own, as did Razorlight who featured on the same programme.

    I am afraid they wilted in her shadow and were shown unfortunately in comparison to be ultra limp. Not the state I would use to describe the state I was in after watching Grace blow everyone else off stage.

    They should have given the entire show to her because let’s be honest making her begin the show was rather cruel in that all who followed were not hardly fit to be in the same building never mind on the same stage.

    And yes I am aware that in writing this I sound like a fawning fan of Miss Jones etc. But I am that after all. And do I fancy her also?

    Oh yes, I do. Grace is definitely my kind of girl, or least she might be if I was about two feet taller and less prone to dreaming!

    In any case seek out the title track on Hurricane; the lyrics are stunning and as good as any poetry from Van Morrison, the master himself. The song musically is easily as ubiquitous as any thing from the genius that is Kate Bush.

    Grace Jones lives in the shadow of no one and Grace makes the city skylights flicker to her rhythm only!

    I pray for you everyday Grace!

    Jim Kerr

    I’d have linked to the page but their web UI is Flash (grr!) Though Jim; Kate Bush …genius? Not for at least 23 years, bucko.

  3. jonder says:

    Agree with Jim re. the Compass Point band. The 8 min. dub version of “Private Life” is amaaazing.

    My last two anti-spam words were “albini” and “haack”!

  4. fritzthecat says:

    Yes, agreed – no redeeming qualities about the last two albums at all – perhaps the beat of ‘Driving Satisfaction’ is nice, but that’s about it.

  5. Erika says:

    This is a great article featuring the fabulous Grace Jones.

    It’s from the photo exhibition MUZIK KINDA SWEET by Pogus Caesar – we attended the opening night at Fazeley Studios in downtown Birmingham England along with hundreds of other guests. It was a great evening with lots to see. Enjoy!…&p=grace+jones+pogus+caesar&oid=ee15b04c15a5d774&fr2=tab-web&no=3&tt=4&sigr=14ogqdtdu&sigi=12mgf5kr9&sigb=139gpjmtt

  6. Spot On says:

    Coming soon! “Muzik Kinda Sweet” the book – Autumn 2010

    Muzik Kinda Sweet is an evocative and nostalgic look back at iconic Black performers from the last twenty five years. Candid pictures snapped on city streets contrast with the vibrant energy at stageside. These images reveal the personalities behind the personas of an influential generation of music heroes.

    Birmingham based photographer Pogus Caesar worked up close and personal to his subjects with an early model autofocus camera, developing each negative by hand. The results are very human portraits which counterpoint the digital performance photography of today.

    This highly collectable limited edition book includes stunning and largely unpublished photographs of Stevie Wonder, Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry, Grace Jones, Jay-Z, Cameo, Jimmy Cliff, Dennis Brown, Lynden David Hall, MC Hammer, Augustus Pablo and many more.

    Limited Edition, over 70 black & white plates, 215 x 280mm

    Published by Punch and OOM Gallery. 2010