Record Review: Grace Jones – “Nightclubbing” US CD [part 1]

grace jones - nightclubbing cover art

Grace Jones: Nightclubbing – US – CD [1987]

  1. Walking In The Rain
  2. Pull Up To The Bumper
  3. Use Me
  4. Nightclubbing
  5. Art Groupie
  6. I’ve Seen That Face Before [Libertango]
  7. Feel Up
  8. Demolition Man
  9. I’ve Done It Again

As amazing as it seems now, I can’t exactly recall how I first heard Grace Jones. I had been aware of the model-slash-disco star from 1977, but I lived in the backwaters of Central Florida. And those tracks never crossed over into the Top 40 that was my alpha and omega. Anyway, by 1978 I had recoiled from excessive disco and Top 40, so I went on my merry way until it was some time in 1981 that I must have heard cuts from “Nightclubbing” on WPRK-FM; in the year I was all besotted with college radio. But for the life of me I can’t remember which songs I might have heard from it that motivated me to go to the local K-Mart and buy the LP of “Nightclubbing” in their bins. But I did buy it and was floored by the art, musicianship, and attitude that the grooves and cover exuded. It’s hard to believe with an artist who had such a powerful image, that I only saw Grace Jones when I bought the album.

grace jones - walking in the rain cover artThe first track was a cover version of Flash + the Pan’s 1978 deepcut “Walking In The Rain.” The vibe mirrored the minimal synth stylings of the original [I’ve just heard it for the first time ever] even to the point of Ms. Jones delivering the tune in the same sprechgesang that Flash + The Pan had used, but by this time, it was already her default vocal modality. But where the original had been a spartan affair, the vibe as created by the Compass Point All Stars favored a steamy, tropical tension with rhythm section Sly + Robbie laying down the deep tropical groove for keyboardist Wally Badrou and percussionist Uzziah Thompson to add their filigree to. The vibe was absolutely indebted to the John Barry James Bond soundtrack sound with a furtive slink to die for. But this wiped the floor with any of the tepid Bond Themes that had happened after “Thunderball.” Ten times over.

Feeling like a woman

Looking like a man…

Walking In The Rain

It’s hard to believe that such a loaded lyric had not been written specifically for Grace Jones to come to it and make it her own! yet it was always there; sitting on a Flash + The Pan album. Waiting for this moment to come. The gently slashing guitars in the song’s coda were echoed by the serrated scratcher work of Thompson on percussion. The humidity of the track was overwhelming. But things were going to get a lot hotter, and very soon.

grace jones - pull up to the bumper cover art“Pull Up To The Bumper” must be the most powerful double entendre ever committed to wax. Every lyric stood as a barely veiled paean to anal intercourse…except for the one about fellatio. That it was mated with impossibly lubricious funk only made the greatest possible sense. Forty years later and I still can’t believe how lascivious the song is! And I’d wager that if you pulled ten Grace Jones fans off the street, and asked them for their favorite, it may be even odds on it ranking as #1. Have you ever heard someone say “Hmmm… ‘Pull Up To the Bumper?’ Not my fave Grace Jones song.” No. That’s because such a person does not exist. No mater where any persons may fall fall on the gender spectrum, the track was an ode to sybaritic pleasure second to none. Not liking “Pull Up To The Bumper” is like rejecting the very notion of sex itself. Such people may exist, but you wouldn’t want to share an airplane seat with them.

It’s hard to believe that the track first came to light on a 1981 single by Reggae artist Jr. Tucker [also on Island Records]. It was then known as “peanut Butter” and was the B-side [It’s hard to believe that the track first came to light on a 1981 single by Reggae artist Jr. Tucker [also on Island Records]. It was then known as “peanut Butter” and was the B-side [credited to The Compass Point All Stars] to Tucker’s “The Kick [Rock On].” There the track was credited to Sly Dunbar alone. When The All Stars converged to make “Nightclubbing” the recent All Stars cut was mooted and Ms. Jones and Dana Manno wrote the lyric, with the music now being credited to one Kookoo Baya. Which was an alias that Sly + Robbie used. I am thinking that maybe Island Records owner Chris Blackwell, who produced the “Peanut Butter” session and co-produced “Nightclubbing” with Alex Sadkin was the person responsible for setting the forces in motion. Let us thank him profusely if that’s the case!

Next: …You Keep On Using Me

About postpunkmonk

graphic design | software UI design | remastering vinyl • record collector • satire • non-fiction
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8 Responses to Record Review: Grace Jones – “Nightclubbing” US CD [part 1]

  1. dhrichards says:

    If “Pull Up To The Bumper” does not get your feet moving, you are probably at a funeral, and most likely it is yours.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. brynstar says:

    This album has aged like a fine dark rum.


    • postpunkmonk says:

      brynstar – And this album felt like a classic from the very beginning. The follow up was out the next year, but after “Living My Life” we had to wait increasingly long times for the next Grace sighting. “Hurricane” was 13 years ago now! What an album that was.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Tim says:

    I am amused by your comment of buying it at K-Mart.
    Imagine if that came out today with the scant selection of music to buy at Wal-Mart or Target, you wouldn’t find it in the modern day remains of such a chain store.


    • postpunkmonk says:

      Tim – Well, I once bought a CD in Target. And it was recently, too! The great Target version of Prince’s “Originals” with the bonus remix. Which was pretty decent. Until I was 20 K-Mart was my record store since I could ride my bike there. The Record Mart on Oak Ridge, and East-West Records on Orange Avenue were also bikeable. OMG! I looked on Maps and East-West is STILL IN BUSINESS!!!! [looks exactly the same!!] Kids today don’t buy records, sadly.


  4. Tim says:

    I was in Target over the weekend and they had I think….10 vinyl records….and the token classic LP was the 1st one by the Go Go’s. I didn’t check the price however the album had all the heft of one of the finer releases from the Pickwick label.

    Pulling back to the bumper, Dolph Lundgren has some interesting stories of being Grace Jones’ boyfriend for a while in the 80’s if you are so inclined to sleuth them out online.


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