professormouse

Grace Jones - Private Life: The Compass Point Sessions as reviewed by professormouse

August 13, 2018
I know that 'anyone' can re-edit Wikipedia entries & I don't have the original vinyl [or cassette ?] releases of these tracks.
But can anyone tell me if there's any truth to the entry on there that claims...
"Other tracks were remixed or re-edited by the PolyGram/Universal engineers in 1998 for this particular compilation, instead of using the many existing long or extended versions by original producers Chris Blackwell and Alex Sadkin that were released on vinyl in 1980–1982."
Or...
"Note: 1998 re-edits of "Private Life", "Pars", "Use Me", "She's Lost Control" and "Walking in the Rain" are included."

So...is this CD full of re-tweaked re-edits that Sort Of Sound The Same...as those Originals or are they what they claim to be ?
REENO

Grace Jones - Private Life: The Compass Point Sessions REENO

January 17, 2019
None of those are "re-edits", they are (as labeled) previously unreleased mixes, or mixes that were only released previously on cassette. The rest of the tracks labeled as "Long version" are usually the original 12" mixes.
REENO

Grace Jones - Private Life: The Compass Point Sessions as reviewed by REENO

February 22, 2018
edited about 1 year ago
Fantastic compilation! Played the daylights out of it for years.....Excellent to have all the previously unreleased mixes and long versions. However, why only the LP version of "Pull up to the Bumper"? There were about 6 different mixes released!!!
And what about the 12" mix of "Walking in the Rain"?

Thank God we now have the Deluxe 2-cd edition of the "Nightclubbing" album...which rectifies all this.
IanPhillips1979

Grace Jones - Private Life: The Compass Point Sessions as reviewed by IanPhillips1979

May 7, 2016

In 1998 Island Records issued this double-disc collection of Grace Jones' legendary Compass Point Sessions in Jamaica. Jones' was teamed with reggae duo Sly & Robbie and worked with an assortment of top-notch musicians, some of whom had played on Bob Marley's most revered classics. However, what they created was not just reggae music but an infusion of funk, new wave, soul and rock. This eclectic blend was truly ground-breaking and innovative for the time, also meeting with wide critical acclaim and on top of that, inspired the work of so many others. Although Grace Jones achieved mainstream success in Europe, her work never scored high on the main US Billboard Hot 100 yet she did notch up a run of big independent hits. This compilation highlights her legendary work from her trilogy of albums recorded at the Compass Point Studios, and, therefore, is essential to any fan as it contains alternate versions of certain tracks, 12" mixes and some previously unreleased recordings.

CD ONE

Following the huge anti-disco backlash circulating in the music industry in the late 70s, Grace Jones decided a musical overhaul was needed, as well as a new image. With the help of her ex-husband Jean Paul Goude, her image switched to that of an androgynous, warrior-like look, complete with a short and sharp haircut. Too me (and many others, I'm sure), this was her most incredible and exciting era. Just listen to the classic session playing by the likes of Sly Dunbar, Robbie Shakespeare, Uzziah Thompson, Wally Bardou etc, jamming hard away behind Grace's tough, often scowling vocal approach.
Grace's fantastically compelling version of the Pretenders' Private Life, successfully combines an intriguing mixture of reggae-new wave-rock. Grace talks in her renowned, deep, evocative voice on the thrashing verses while singing gently on the haunting chorus. Lots of swirling, tinkling sounds and a sharp bassline, Private Life, recorded for the excellent Warm Leatherette album of 1980, became one of Grace Jones' biggest sellers, flying up into the UK Top 20 chart and landing at #17. Chrissie Hynde of The Pretenders even said she thinks Grace Jones improved their original, interestingly being quoted in the liner notes to this compilation: "Like all the other London punks, I wanted to do reggae, and I wrote Private Life. When I first heard Grace's version I thought 'Now that's how it's supposed to sound!' In fact it was one of the highpoints of my career - what with Sly and Robbie being the masters, and Grace Jones with her scorching delivery. Someone told me it was Chris Blackwell's idea- thanks Chris!"

Her thrilling, rocketing version of Roxy Music's Love Is The Drug, arguably, surpasses their version. Grace's vocal delivery is snappy, though extremely engaging, conveying soulful qualities as she whips along the verses with conviction. This driving number, written by Bryan Ferry and Andy Mackay, bears such immediacy in its urgent tone, is a highlight of her career, and when re-issued in the UK in 1986, raced into Top 40 Chart. This was another track from the classic Warm Leatherette (1980) project.

The mood mellows somewhat on Grace's nifty take on Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers' Breakdown (from Warm Leatherette ), a credible updating and on which Tom Petty actually wrote a few additional lyrics specifically for Grace Jones to record, which formed the third verse: "It's OK if you must go / I'll understand if you don't / You say goodbye right now / I'll still survive somehow / Why should we let this drag on?" The tempo sways a lot, gentle during the verses and shifting up a notch on the sweeping chorus. An excellent re-working and, for me, eclipses the original.

This cover version of The Normal's B-side to their single T.V.O.D, is the title-track to her superb 1980 studio project. Like many of Grace's future recordings, the track is riddled with double entendres, its lyrics pondering on the joy of having sex during a car crash! The classic session playing by the likes of Sly Dunbar, Robbie Shakespeare, Uzziah Thompson and Wally Bardou all jam hard away behind Grace's tough, often scowling vocal approach. This fiery number consists of striking, thrashing guitar playing on the fiesty chorus, encapsulating a winning and strikingly eclectic blend of reggae/new wave/rock.
Her choice of cover versions prove to be incredibly diverse: A riveting, funky and soulful remake of the Marvelettes The Hunter Gets Captured By The Game. Written by Smokey Robinson, this song gets another radical make-over here, where Grace's performance is playful, exuberant and, as always, bold and assertive. If anything, these re-workings sound distinctly Grace Jones and bear little resemblance to the original recordings, as is very much the case with her quirky The Hunter Gets Captured By The Game, with subtle reggae tones bubbling away under the surface.

I've Done It Again, (from the pens of Barry Reynolds and Marianne Faithful) served as, arguably, the biggest surprise on Nightclubbing (1981), as the recording finds Jones' in far more sensitive, reflective mode, and singing in a light, almost soprano style, as opposed to the deep contralto she's renowned for. She certainly shows her versatility on this grand finale and never before have I heard Grace sound so effeminate! I'd even go so far to say it's one of my favourites from Nightclubbing.

Another diverting recording is the exotic Pars, steering into exhilarating Parisian pop. Written by Jacques Higelin, Grace sings the lyric in French throughout, packing in her most sensitive vocal performance of the Warm Leatherette album. She was extremely popular in Europe at this stage and had developed something of a penchant for Latin music. It closes Warm Leatherette on a sophisticated high.
The funk-driven Pull Up To The Bumper, from 1981's Nightclubbing, hosts lyrics which are riddled with double entendres (drive it in between WHAT, exactly? She definitely isn't referring to parallel parking). The fabulous arrangement contains lots of groovy, spiralling rhythms, incessant jangly guitars and a persistent, squelching, reggae-like beat. For those that don't know, and without being crude, the song is, in fact, all about the joys of anal sex! Pull Up To The Bumper was originally released in 1981 and stalled at a disappointing #53. Upon its re-issue in 1985, which was to tie-in with the release of her Island Life compilation album (which hit the UK Top 5), it raced into the Top 20, hitting #12, and also scored high on the Club and R&B Charts. Undoubtedly one of her definitive classics. Some radio broadcasters refused to air the song because of its sexual content, with lines such as "Pull up to my bumper baby / In your long black limousine / Pull up to my bumper baby / Drive it in between" and "Grease it / Spray it / Let me lubricate it" raising eyebrows.

Grace's startling cover version of Joy Divisions She's Lost Control had first surfaced as the B side to her Top 20 hit Private Life. The track is exceedingly manic throughout, Grace sounding totally demented by the climax! Although beginning endearingly enough, it careers along to a point where it becomes slightly monotonous, clocking in at over seven minutes long.

CD TWO

The dark, swirling, hypnotic sounds and unearthly vibes of Walking In The Rain, from Nightclubbing, is a stand out! Grace delivers her trademark half-sung, half-spoken passages, all adding to the intensity of the beguiling mood and atmosphere. The song had originally been composed and recorded by the Australian band Flash and the Pan in 1979. Grace's version was culled as the final single from Nightclubbing, but despite being a top notch cut, only met with mediocre success commercially.

The rhythmically divine Cry Now-Laugh Later (Grace Jones and Barry Reynolds) is an instantly catchy affair, telling another tale of crime. Graces unique voice is effectively synchronised throughout this sparsely-arranged, funky little number, originally featured on the Living My Life (1982) album. The title track of her 1981 album, Nightclubbing, is of course named after the Iggy Pop track from his David Bowie collaboration The Idiot. Written by Pop and the late Bowie, Jones' converts this number into a sophisticated, lightly-dub inflected, disco-reggae piece. Her robotic like tone sounds as threatening as ever, while there are lots of ethereal sound effects sporadically dropped into the mix.

Her endearing cover version of The Apple Stretching (Michael Van Peebles) depicts life in "sunny" New York. Capturing a raw, half-spoken, half-sung performance by Grace, 'The Apple Stretching' perfectly demonstrates Grace's unquestionably natural musical flair. This was released alongside Nipple To The Bottle as a double A-side single, quickly securing Grace another international hit.

The bouncy, super-infectious Nipple To The Bottle is an extract from 1982's organic Living My Life. While echoing the sounds of her classic hit Pull Up To The Bumper, it still emerges as unique and distinct within itself. Hosting a startling combination of reggae-funk-soul-new wave, Nipple To The Bottle is lyrically fun (riddled with double entendres just as on Pull Up To The Bumper ) and musically diverse with some odd yet compelling synchronised sound effects. Grace's stirring delivery is assertive, moody and soulful and this undoubtedly ranks as one of her definitive classics and the ultimate highlight of this project.

The six minute My Jamaican Guy (written solely by Grace Jones and based on a member of Bob Marley's group The Wailers with whom she had fallen in love with) is a sparse but sprightly arranged reggae/funk/new wave/soul mid-tempo ballad. And just listen to that glorious opening on the track - way ahead of its time and still sounds cool today, a fact reflected in the number of times it has been sampled by others. My Jamaican Guy is not least complimented by a striking vocal performance from Grace where she alternately sounds deep, evocative and at times, fiery and aggressive. The track certainly had ample commercial potential and was released as a single, scoring Grace another international hit. It's the only track from her third and final collaborative album with Sly & Robbie, Living My Life (1982), marking the end of her Compass Point sessions.

Feel Up contains more S&M undertones, wrapped in a dub Jamaican arrangement, although I would say this is perhaps the weakest of the bunch. One of the few original tracks included on Nightclubbing, this was also extracted as a single though completely failed to catch on commercially.

However, she more than makes up for it with the ferocious Demolition Man. Here, there's a whirlwind of almost devilish sexual abandon and complete detachment, which went a long way to supporting her status as a deadly sex siren goddess. The thrashing arrangement is really in-your-face, and Grace Jones sounds like a force of nature to be reckoned with. Incidentally, many say this is a cover of a track by The Police, when the truth is it was written by Sting FOR Grace Jones, only later he decided, in graceless style, that he wanted to record it himself - and it was lacklustre to say the least. Grace bites into Demolition Man with real conviction and has no problem convincing you that she's not to be messed with. Sting, however, fails dramatically in comparison to Jones' stomping original. This was the lead single from the project, yet despite it since becoming one of her signature songs, it failed to gain a foothold on the mainstream chart.

The terrific Unlimited Capacity For Love features a captivating performance from Grace and great arrangements, including a non-stop drum machine that rolls on and on throughout the track. Some outtakes from Living My Life are included here, which includes a credible cover of Ring of Fire and the sprightly and extremely catchy Man Around The House, the latter begging the question of why it was omitted in the first place! Then there's the title-track of that 1982 album, yet despite being the title had still oddly found itself edged out and canned, was lifted as a single in 1983. Lots of fire and flair and Grace's vocals as spirited as ever, it also hasn't aged quite as well much of her other work from this era in her career.
Written by Bruce Woolley, Simon Darlow, Stephen Lipson and Trevor Horn (the latter also producing), Slave To The Rhythm is one of Grace Jones' most familiar and popular recordings, as well as being one of her biggest commercial hits. Entwining pop, Go-go and funk styles, this atmospheric recording boasts a great vocal from Grace who really hits her stride. Like so many of her songs, it bears a somewhat ethereal effect. This serves as the perfect finale of this compilation.

Ian Phillips
ogun7

Grace Jones - Private Life: The Compass Point Sessions as reviewed by ogun7

February 9, 2008
This is a definitive compilation of Miss Grace's eighties sound. You not only get hits like My Jamaican Guy, Pull Up to the Bumper and Slave To The Rhythm but a her avant-garde New York Paradise Garage classics like: Unlimited Capacity For Love and Nightclubbing. This disc is a staple for any DJ that's a garage head or eclectic eighties track spinner. This disc is named after prolific mega-producer's Sly & Robbie studio in the Bahamas where these tracks were recorded and Miss Grace made music that capitvated a whole new generation of clubheads like myself.
postpunkmonk

Grace Jones - Private Life: The Compass Point Sessions postpunkmonk

March 24, 2012
edited over 7 years ago

If one could only have a single Grace Jones album, it should be this one. It's a crucial blend of smoking album tracks, 12" extended mixes and dub versions, and unreleased material from that period where Grace was working with the best musicians she would ever work with under ideal conditions. I had some of these tracks on ancient promo vinyl I bought back in the day, but nowhere near the bounty represented here. On her newish "Hurricane" album she rejoins the Compass Point All Stars (minus Alex Sadkin) to wonderful effect as she builds and progresses on the sound developed here and adds a strong dose of her life and history to the mix.

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