Grace Jones – Nightclubbing

Dave Okumu on a most inspiring LP…

First released in 1981, Grace Jones’ ‘Nightclubbing’ remains the artist’s greatest-selling studio LP, furthering her relationship with producers Chris Blackwell and Alex Sadkin after the career-reinventing collection of ‘Warm Leatherette’ (1980). Featuring the slightly naughty single ‘Pull Up To The Bumper’ – which would be an even bigger hit on (remixed) reissue in 1985 – ‘Nightclubbing’ is simply one of the most significant albums of the 1980s: a high watermark for its maker, a cultural milestone, an ears-and-eyes-opening clash of genres, gender and fashion.

Rather than run a review proper of the album’s recent reissue – out now, through UMC, and containing a second disc of 12” mixes, remasters, previously unreleased cuts and extended mixes – Clash here hands the reins of critical reverence to The Invisible’s Dave Okumu, who just might be working on something Grace Jones shaped in the near future…

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Grace Jones, ‘Pull Up To The Bumper’

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“Grace Jones changed my life.

“Hers was the first artistic voice to reach me with the message, the fundamental truth, that fulfillment lies in celebrating who you are, with all your majestic idiosyncrasies intact. Everything about her seemed to speak of freedom, an absence of compromise and a celebration of humanity and the imagination through an otherworldly prism.

“‘Nightclubbing’ is such a beautiful and strange record, with its echoes of dub, disco, funk, rock and Argentinian tango. Like all great records, it feels reductive to speak of it in terms of genre. The fact that it continues to excite me decades after first hearing it is, in my view, testament to its capacity to transcend the boundaries of definition. Contained within it is a universe of rhythm, craft, feel and melody. Pure inspiration. 

“Thanks Grace, Barry, Sly, Robbie and company… You laid down some heavy shit!”

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Grace Jones, ‘I’ve Seen That Face Before (Libertango)’

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Words: Dave Okumu

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