on 8 May 2014
Universal have done right by Ms Grace Jones' magnum opus, "Nightclubbing": the remaster by esteemed Kevin Reeves is truly superlative. The album's wide stereo sound field is beautifully crisp, clear and transparent, with plenty of bottom end from Sly & Robbie - and so many delicate, iridescent touches from Wally Badarou's keyboards and Sticky Thompson's percussion! Ms Jones' Island trilogy was always aural nirvana, but now "Nightclubbing", at least, is absolutely compulsive listening. All the mixes on the second disc sound flawless, also.
The packaging is indeed fairly flimsy with no outer sleeve, but the booklet is well-produced and Darryl Easlea's liner notes detail the album's context, along with some great pix of La Jones.
Now Universal need to get cracking on "Warm Leatherette", "Living My Life" and "Slave To The Rhythm"!
on 5 May 2014
Good album made great by extended mixes. Take a lot of funk and add reggae, blues, soul and jazz plus spice up with some pizzaz and you have a unique combination. This album was made in 1981, but it hasn't aged and will it still sounds fresh in 2021.
Remastering adds extra kick and zing (like it should) and gives sinewy, throbbing muscle to the sound. I have been playing CD2 constantly since receiving it. Like any good CD it reveals hidden layers on each listen. A lot of care went into the recording, and it shows. Credit to Kevin Reeves at 4th Floor Studios for a good remaster.
'The Compass Point All-Star band' really hit their stride here. Sly & Robbie’s drum and bass give sympathetic rhythm whilst Wally Badarou’s keyboards shimmer over the top and the guitar and, and… Check out the compilation ‘Funky Nassau’ for more.
Disc 1 (38:26) Original album, no extras even though there are more out there.
Disc 2 (76:59)
All good to fantastic - but the quiet tracks sound really great and allow the music space to 'breathe':
• I’ve Seen That Face Before (Libertango) 12” version (5:40)
• I’ve Seen That Face Before (Libertango) Spanish version (Esta Cara Me Es Conocida) (4:33)
• Walking in the Rain 12” version
Pull Up to the Bumper was the lead single – great track with multiple mixes that are all essential variations on the original:
• Long Version UK 12” (5:45) definitive
• Remixed Version (7:17) – mostly instrumental – often found on 80s compilations.
• US Party Version (5:00) – good – straight into vocal intro(?)
• Instrumental ‘Peanut Butter ’ (5:11) – extra funk factor.
• 1985 remix (6:26) re-released after ‘Slave to the Rhythm’
Sly & Robbie think it’s their best groove – and these versions show that they are right.
Extra tracks are good, but the remixed tracks are even better.
Sleeve notes are comprehensive - a full essay. Covers the story of some of the covers - Bill Withers 'Use Me' is unrecognisable. Shame the sleeve notes missed out on a few factors e.g. giving credit to the gay audience who were the foundation of her initial success; no record sleeve images; the album and singles were not big 'pop hits in 1981 - they were ahead of their time. But hey these are small gripes for such a great reissue.
If you already have the ‘Private Life – Compass Point Session’ (‘PLCPS’) and are wondering whether it is worth taking the plunge on this version – then just do it. I'm so glad that I did! Points to consider are:
1. The sound is better again that the good sound on ‘PLCPS'. Really throbs through a good sound system. ‘PLCPS’ was good for it’s time but was released 16 years ago!
2. The mixes are different, in a good way. The mix of ‘Walking in the Rain’ from ‘PLCPS’ is not on here.
3. CD2 is 77 minutes of great stuff plus you get a free album!
4. The sleeve notes are really informative.
In other words just buy it - they may give her other albums the same deluxe treatment!
P.S. 1981 was a diverse year for music – for another extreme check out the 4CD box set of ‘The Sound’.
on 21 June 2014
If you have ever been slightly curious about Grace's musical career then you could do a lot worse than start here. She had (and still has) the ability to turn a song into her own regardless of whether it was originally a male or female orientated vocal. Most people think she's bonkers. Well, she may be on camera, but on disc she rules...period. This album WAS cool anyway but this version really does do it justice.
The band that played behind her when she recorded her Nassau trilogy (this one, Warm Leatherette and Living My Life) were REALLY at the top of their game. Grace only adds to it by being completely cool at what she does. She is more a narrator rather than a vocalist but that only adds to the mix. She ALWAYS pulls it off. I much prefer when she does a male vocal a la Demolition Man (Sting song). She injects it with a personality a thousand times more than he ever could.
Do yourself a favour and invest. Grace is HUGELY underrated.
You're welcome. :-)
on 4 May 2014
This is my favorite blu-ray audio title at the moment for a number of reasons. First, I'm a child of the 80s & for whatever reason, high def audio formats (DVD-A, SACD, FLAC) always seem to favor the standard 70s album-oriented rock titles, which I had tired of in the 80s. So it's nice to see something from the 80s make it onto the new blu-ray format, particularly a title that hasn't seen a release on any of the other formats. To add to that, it's not a release I would have expected on the format so soon in the game, as it didn't have any #1 hits on the US or Uk pop charts and Grace was probably better known in the US for her late-night Letterman appearances than for her music.
A single listen, however, confirms that Grace Jones' Compass Point Sessions for this 1981 release really were under-rated gems which didn't get the attention they deserved (outside of gay clubs). Grace Jones' earlier disco-era stuff was really a mixed bag and she didn't really become the artist she is until these more experimental releases (combining reggae, dub, disco, new wave & avant garde rock). The sound of the blu-ray really is magnificent. I didn't think the original CD (despite the edits) was that horrible- sounding, but it also didn't really shine either. The blu-ray really draws out details (the sounds of rain in Walking In The Rain, the sounds of dogs barking on Feel Up...) very nicely. Like most others, it offers 3 options. I've been so used to just listening to the PCM stereo track, which sounds nice here, but because I love the album so much, I decided to run through again on the other formats & this is the first time I really noticed a difference.....The Dolby TrueHD version sounds outstanding....very 3-dimensional (despite being 2.0) & full sounding, love it, don't think I'll go back to the PCM stereo for this one.
...and now for the real joy...the blu-ray contains all the tracks (22 in total) of the deluxe 2xcd version on one disc in all 3 formats. The bonus tracks (all the 12" versions & b-sides, with the exception of perhaps the Megamix medley & one or 2 others) are also remastered (and not from vinyl!) to full effect....and you can pick up all of them on one disc for less than what one of the rare OOP 12" singles probably would have cost you a few years ago. To add to that you get a download code for mp3s of all the tracks. UMG has really done right by this one (for once....after all those other blu-rays of albums that had also been released as multi-disc boxes without any of the extra material on them), hopefully they will do the same for all future releases. I can't wait for the remainder of these sessions (Warm Leatherette (1980) & Living My Life (1982) to make it to blu-ray audio.
on 28 April 2014
Nightclubbing is my favourite Grace Jones album and arrived this morning and comes beautifully packaged,with a great little booklet containing photos and info.Now the good news,i owned the previous release of this which i bought around 1990,which sounded terrible even then.so putting this deluxe version on today was pure bliss,sounds absolutely amazing.had it on my ipod and there were sounds that i have never heard before,such as the thunder on "walking in the rain".Includes lots of 12" mixes.pull up to the bumper being the most famous.some b-sides but the real star of the show are 2 previously un-released tracks one being a superb jones-esque cover of gary numan/tubeway army,me,i disconnect from you,which is worth the price of the album itself!The whole album is superb and should take pride in any serious music aficionado collection.superb release 5 stars
Nightclubbing is the best starting point for those wishing to explore Ms Jones' immediate post-disco phase. This 1981 album followed the previous year's groundbreaking Warm Leatherette and was a commercial triumph. More accessible than both Warm Leatherette and Living My Life, this second work in the Sly & Robbie trilogy is packed with outstanding songs of lyrical and melodic distinction. They include compositions by Bill Withers, Astor Piazzolla, Sting, David Bowie/Iggy Pop, Barry Reynolds and Grace herself. The sound is crystal clear and despite the Jamaican influences the album has a bohemian European air about it.
Varied yet cohesive, Nightclubbing successfully explores different directions but gives the overall impression of a concept album. It is polished and sophisticated, displaying none of the raw edges of Warm Leatherette and offers a broader appeal than Living My Life. On the opening track Walking In The Rain Grace applies her semi-spoken vocal style over a light pop-reggae beat. Notorious for its risqué lyrics, Pull Up To The Bumper with its jerking Jamaican rhythms and car horn samples is a perennial club favorite which has seen a multitude of remixes and covers down the years.
The slower numbers are Bowie & Iggy's Nightclubbing which is sinister rather than celebratory and I've Done it Again which is romantic and soulful as opposed to the title track's menacing undertone. Speaking of which, her interpretation of Sting's Demolition Man takes menace to new dimensions; it's the most explicitly rock-influenced song here and packs a punch. Bill Withers' Use Me & her own composition Feel Up are both buoyant uptempo tracks, the first being a show of defiance with an infectious reggae beat and the second a Caribbean feast with rattling percussion, choral vocals, what appears to be flutes & whistles and a dialogue in French patois between Grace & a male vocal.
The magnificent Art Groupie is the most poetic & literary track with a flowing rhythmic lilt and a synth that resembles the golden age of Human League or Eurythmics. Reggae meets an accordion on the bouncy Libertango, a catchy bilingual track on which Grace speaks and sings elegantly in French and English. The album concludes with the wistful ballad I've Done It Again where an introspective lyric and an understated sound create a delicate gem. The follow-up Living My Life concluded the Sly & Robbie trilogy and therewith the reggae & dub phase of her career.
On her 1986 and 1989 albums - Inside Story &Bulletproof Heart - Ms Jones focused on soulful pop music. Then followed 19 years of silence. It was only in 2008 that Grace worked with Sly & Robbie again, on the challenging and ultimately rewarding Hurricane where Brian Eno and Tricky count amongst the other contributors. In my opinion, Nightclubbing remains Grace's masterpiece, a work that best demonstrates her distinctive styles as vocalist, interpreter and composer via an exceptional set of songs.
on 3 May 2006
In 1981, Grace Jones returned to the music scene with what was perharps her very best studio album, Nightclubbing. The Nightclubbing album certainly gained wide recognition from critics and was even voted as Album Of The Year by New Musical Express Magazine.
Again Grace returned to the startling format of combining Reggae, Rock, New Wave, Funk and R&B. The diverse, atmospheric arrangements are utterly compelling on all of these recordings.
Nightclubbing opens with the hypnotic, trance-like Walking In The Rain. Grace speaks and scowls through the entire recording and bizarre as it is, it still emerges as totally compelling with its blend of New Wave and Reggae.
This leads into what is her ultimate classic with the fantastic, driving R&B/Funk tune, Pull Up To The Bumper. Grace Jones delivery is highly effective on this track and has such immediacy and an infectious feel. Pull Up To The Bumper eventually became a Top 20 seller in the U.K.
Use Me is a catchy, highly effective reggae tune where Grace ignites the recording again with her diverse vocal approach whilst the title track, Nightclubbing is a bizarre cover of a David Bowie track. Synchronised sounds are combined with Graces stark delivery which surprisingly combine well together.
Art Groupie is more dated sounding though still works whilst the subtle mixture of French jazz, new wave and reggae on the startling, I've Seen That Face Before is another compelling, though blatantly weird affair. She conveys such spirit, fire and passion on her inspired re-working of Stings, Demolition Man.
The strong Jamacian vibes on the interestingly experimental, Feel Up is another cracking affair but the ultimate surprise on the album is served with the late-night jazz number, I've Done It Again. This lush, exotic number is given life by Graces exuberant delivery where I have honestly never heard her sing in such a soft soprano and sound so effeminate as on I've Done it Again.
Grace Jones, Nightclubbing became a Top 40 seller in the U.K. and stands as her best album.
on 28 May 2014
This is for the Blue Ray audio version. Due to the high resolution of 24 bit at a sampling rate of 96khz this 2014 re-release sounds as good if not better than my original vinyl version purchased circa 1981. It has all the bonus remix tracks of the double CD version on the single Blue Ray Disc. Very smooth sounds from Blue Ray none of the harshness sometimes on CD. Lets hope this format is marketed better than DVD Audio was in the early millennium. Only criticism is its not a new 5.1 remix from the multi track tapes, only in 2.0. But still a worthwhile purchase.
on 13 May 2015
I'm not a huge fan of Ms Grace, either musically or stylistically, but I have to say this is a sublime, sexy album. My curiosity was first piqued when, as a young apprentice gender-bender, I discovered the vinyl copy in a mate's collection, with its fiercely androgynous cover image - beautiful in an unsettling way. Then for about a year I seemed to hear it in every student bedsit and hall I went into, especially the gay ones (male and female), so I ended up buying it myself. Apart from the lubricious thrill of listening to something that to a sensitive Catholic seemed slightly forbidden, I was very impressed with the music. Grace doesn't really sing, of course - she intones, or incants - and reveals herself to be a slave to the rhythm before the eponymous album appeared. 'Pull Up To The Bumper' is unabashed erotica, and far sexier and funkier, in my view, than Madonna could hope to be; while her cover of 'Use Me' (which I heard before the original) had me nearly "waving my conscience bye-bye" in my desire to try it out. There are even gentler moments too, like 'Art Groupie' and the playful 'Feel Up'. I'd probably not want to meet her in a dark alley late at night, but as for her portrayal of the joys of nichtclubbing. . .well, like the lady says, "Oh, isn't it wild!".
on 12 March 2007
This is THE best Grace Jones album which I first heard courtesy of my black stocking-clad friend Sarah Collins back in London UK in early 80's and it epitomises the dramatic world brought into view in 'Master and Servant' and 'shiny shiny leather' fetish clubs....Grace is ominous, parisienne, evocative and dangerous and makes other female singers look and sound like Barbie.. From the outrageously visualised androgyne look on the cover to the non stop darkness of tracks.. the percusion on this album is superb like Zang Tum Tumb clicks and bells and night 'cicada' sounds...
Grace paints mind pictures here which long presaged her sinisterness in the Bond movie.. she remains to this day truly mad, bad and dangerous to know and musically distinct from a smothering sea of vacuous bland female vocalists... for many years I ran my 'Open Channel D' radio show with clips of Grace as my virtual on air 'co-driver' on 'missions'... I can imagine GC as being good company in a fight or a fetish club...we need more women like this...
Buy this CD and shake up ur brain... she's as unique a voice and character as David Sylvian, Brian Ferry, Bert Jansch, David Bowie or similar unique talents..no one else like her and this is her best... spies and agents in Parisian smog, cruising cars, gloss lipstick, shiny bodywork and guns girls and a bulletproof heart... Grace must have seen the Bond film coming what a shame they pitched her against a suited woos like Roger!!..she should have been in The Matrix!!
One of my favourites here is Libertango - (I've seen this face before) where Grace relates the tale of her shadowy parisienne stalker... ha, that's me - I was that black clad gumshoe in turned up collar coat under the pale art-deco lamplight.. when Grace sings and snaps at you in French..zut alors...you know when you've been Tango'd !