Right, it’s the fifteenth Classic Albums post and this is the first album released in 1980’s going into that list, oops! After the my very first post ever here on my blog thingy was a comp album of 7″ singles of 80’s but really that album was out in the early 2000’s. It’s also my first solo female artist and artist with a dark skin too, sorry about forgetting to include these things sooner, didn’t think about that until I start to write the intro to this post. To make up for this I’ll do a couple more 80’s albums, some female artists and some artists with darker skin after these next few posts over this week that I’ve already started for the next three decades posts with one album from the 90’s, 2000’s and the early 2010’s which should be done by this end of this month so I will start those next month, OK?
Also to start with this album of a few reissue albums I’ve got lately which all of them are going to get write ups here as Classic Albums here but this is the first one, it comes in a leatherette covered lift off lid box, cool hey? Grace Jones if you don’t know is Jamaican singer plus model and actress who rose to fame in the late 70 New York disco scene. Warm Leatherette is her fourth album at the beginning of 80’s where she moves away from that style and really starting to create something of her own style. Recording was at Compass Point Studios in Nassau, Bahamas so closer to home anything before. It would the first of three albums recorded down there, she did move to USA and grown-up in New York state but never really lost her roots of where she was born and proves it here too. Her later work is most likely more famous but this one is my fave album of hers.
It crosses so much different music styles from: Electronic, Funk, Soul, New Wave, Reggae, Dub, Synth, Pop, Disco and even Post-Punk. Can you called a disco diva post-punk? All these styles are covered in just eight tracks, the reissue is two discs with longer versions of all the tracks taking the first one up to 14 songs and second discs is 13 more tracks including re-mixes, b-sides etc. cool, hey? If you got it back in the day it would have been on record or the new thing then cassette tape but if you got the tape you did get longer versions. They filled up both side of a LP to the max but tapes still could fit more on them. Grace was never something in small town Australia so I missed her as a little kid, maybe it was a little later when I first seen her in movies as a teenage. It would have been moving up to the big city where I heard Jones’ music but I was trying figure it when?
Grace Jones’ Warm Leatherette is made up of other songwriters songs, only one track she co-written here but here Grace does pretty much makes all of them her own. I’ve make it no secret that I do love a Cover Versions or two here on my blog so it can’t be a shock something like this shows up in my here. The opening and title track is written by Daniel Miller after he read J.G. Ballard’s novel Crash, do you know it? Well, somehow I don’t think I need to say anymore, that’s if you do know it but if you don’t know it go and read it now. Next is Private Life and is one the most likely the well known song from the album and the the first video clip above too. Chrissie Hynde of The Pretenders wrote it and even says Grace’s version is “one of my high points in my career.” A Rolling Stone is the co-written song by Jones with Deniece Williams and Fritz Baskett then after listening to it you wish she did write more tracks. Love Is The Drug is yet another well known song, Roxy Music’s big hit from five years earlier and was written by Andy Mackay and Bryan Ferry. Love Is The Drug video clip is just above too.
If it was an old LP/tape this is where you flip it over to find a Smokey Robinson song The Hunter Gets Captured By The Game which I’ve also included video from some TV show where Grace Jones is wearing one hell of an outfit too. I don’t know who came up with the one on the that video but the front cover outfit is by Japanese designer Issey Miyake, if you what to know? Maybe not his greatest but I don’t know much about fashion but I do like his stuff. Maybe the cover is dated to the 80’s but even after a few bigger hits a couple of years later, it did get a total new cover even in the early 80’s. I do love this one because it does stand out like nothing else, in some ways it must been a bit different back then too with the dark shadows in the black & white photography by Jean Paul Goude where everything else was bright colors and flashing neon etc. Next up is a song called Bullshit which is just below as the last video and was written by guitar player-songwriter Barry Reynolds who played on the album. In 1979 the year before this album he did help Marianne Faithfull reinvent her career with her landmark album Broken English. Some have ask why didn’t Bullshit make it into that album and not this album? Breakdown is a Tom Petty track from 1976 but he wrote a third verse for this new version of the song and Pars is written by French singer Jacques Higelin. The b-side to Private Life was Joy Division’s She’s Lost Control, released in June 1980. Just remember Ian Curtis died on May 18 so he would have never heard it but Warm Leatherette album was released just few days before on 9th of May. Recording was done early that year and even the year before but finding anymore dates other that the master tapes photos inside this new reissue which says March 1980 is impossible just the years 1979-1980 are the only ones.
I don’t when or where I got into Grace Jones totally, just love her now. It’s been years I guess, song or two here and there maybe heard an album or two somewhere else too. An old now ex-gf buy me a copy of her budget cheap version years ago because I was raving on about her after reading about her and I didn’t have it. The whole disco thing would have put me off when I was younger because I loved punk but all styles of music have something great if you just look for it. I can’t find this album on any lists like greatest albums or classics by big media sites or the like but the next few albums I’m going to write about in the next few posts are going to be even less likely to be on anything of the like but I guess that half the point in writing about them here and now. It just have to be one of the greatest albums ever for me, pretty prefect it’s the first of the 80’s Classic Albums because I really can’t think of an album I love more from that time.
Note to self: I’ve got to see Jones live sometime.
Warm Leatherette track listing and times:
1. Warm Leatherette – 4:25
2. Private Life – 5:11
3. A Rolling Stone – 3:33
4. Love Is The Drug – 7:13
5. The Hunter Gets Captured By The Game – 3:59
6. Bullshit – 5:21
7. Breakdown – 5:30
8. Pars – 4:08
My Classic Albums are, so far:
Tales From The Australian Underground – Volume 1 & 2 by Various Artists
Station To Station by David Bowie
Unplugged In New York by Nirvana
Gunfighter Ballads And Trail Songs by Marty Robbins
Henry’s Dream by Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds
Whatever You Love, You Are by Dirty Three
In The Wee Small Hours by Frank Sinatra
The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn by Pink Floyd
Songs Of Love And Hate by Leonard Cohen
So, this was the reason I started this blog. The idea is simply to write post about one of my fave album each that I consider a classic album. Please leave your comments below about each album because I would love to hear what you think about each album too, cheers!