The Epic 2017 Project #132: 170512
Grace Jones – Living my life (1982)
Living My Life is the sixth studio album by Grace Jones, released in 1982. It was the last of three albums she recorded at the Compass Point Studios in the Bahamas.
Jones had already recorded two reggae-oriented albums with the Compass Point Allstars at the Compass Point Studios in Nassau, Bahamas, with the most recent, Nightclubbing, becoming her most successful record to date. She went back into the studio in 1982 to record an album which would be her final offering in the unofficial Compass Point trilogy. This time around, Jones recorded only one cover, “The Apple Stretching”, which was originally written by Melvin Van Peebles and used in the Broadway show Waltz of the Stork. “Nipple to the Bottle” was co-written with Sly Dunbar, while, apart from “My Jamaican Guy”, the other tracks were collaborations with Barry Reynolds.
The title track “Living My Life”, despite receiving a limited single release, was ultimately left off the album. Further outtakes included the track “Man Around the House” (written by Jones and Barry Reynolds), and a cover of Johnny Cash’s “Ring of Fire”. Both tracks were released on the 1998 compilation Private Life: The Compass Point Sessions.
The Epic 2017 Project #120: 170430
The Isley Brothers – Forever Gold (1977)
The Isley Brothers from Cincinnati, Ohio originally comprised four brother – O’Kelly Jr., Rudolph, Ronald and Vernon, performing gospel music until Vernon’s death a few years after formation in 1954.
After moving to the New York City area in the late 1950s, the group had modest chart successes during their early years, first coming to prominence in 1959 with their fourth single, “Shout”, written by the three surviving brothers. Initially a modest charted single, the song eventually sold over a million copies. Afterwards the group recorded for a variety of labels, including the top 20 single, “Twist and Shout” and the Motown single, “This Old Heart of Mine (Is Weak for You)” before recording and issuing the Grammy Award-winning hit, “It’s Your Thing” on their own label, T-Neck Records.
Influenced by gospel and doo-wop music, the group began experimenting with different musical styles incorporating elements of rock and funk music as well as pop balladry. The inclusion of younger brothers Ernie Isley (lead guitar, drums) and Marvin Isley (bass guitar), and Rudolph’s brother-in-law Chris Jasper (keyboards, synthesizers) in 1973 turned the original vocal trio into a self-contained musical band. For the next full decade, they recorded top-selling albums including The Heat Is On and Between the Sheets.
Forever Gold is a greatest hits album capturing that success and released in 1977.
The Epic 2017 Project #111: 170421
Herbie Hancock – Monster (1980)
Herbert Jeffrey “Herbie” Hancock (born April 12, 1940) started his career with Donald Byrd. Then he joined the Miles Davis Quintet where he helped to redefine the role of a jazz rhythm section and was one of the primary architects of the post-bop sound. He was one of the first jazz musicians to embrace synthesizers and funk music. Hancock’s music is often melodic and accessible; he has had many songs “cross over” and achieved success among pop audiences.
His best-known compositions include “Cantaloupe Island”, “Watermelon Man” (later performed by dozens of musicians, including bandleader Mongo Santamaría), “Maiden Voyage”, “Chameleon”, and the singles “I Thought It Was You” and “Rockit”
Monster was his twenty-ninth album. Released as a follow-up to the “Feets” album, it avoided jazz and funk in favor of disco.
The Epic 2017 Project #074: 170315
Extreme – III sides to every story (1992)
The third album by the Boston funk-metal band Extreme, released in 1992. It was the follow-up to the very successful Pornograffitti album and the last with the band’s original line-up: Gary Cherone, Nuno Bettencourt, Pat Badger and Paul Geary; Geary later left, and was replaced by Mike Mangini.
The album is structured as a concept album in three sections labeled as “sides” — a play on the notion of “different sides to a story” and that of “sides” of an album (in LP and cassette media). The sides, mentioned in the song “Cupid’s Dead” as “three sides to every story” are named “Yours”, “Mine” and “The Truth”, and each features a distinct musical style and lyrical imagery.
The Epic 2017 Project #014: 170114
Average White Band – Person to Person (1977)
I brought this double gatefold live album on vinyl for my wife’s 21st birthday back in 1980.
The Average White Band came from Dundee, Scotland. Formed in 1972, they had worldwide success as a funk and R&B band with a string of hits between 1974 and 1980. The biggest and most successful of these was the instrumental ‘Pick up the Pieces’ (1974) which now has the accolade of being the 15th most sampled tune in history. The band split in 1983 only to reform six years later. They still tour now, albeit with a vastly different line-up; Alan Gorrie (guitar) is the only original member.
The ‘Person to Person’ live album was recorded at the Tower Theatre and The Spectrum, Philadelphia, The Syria Mosque, Pittsburgh and The Colosseum, Cleveland.
Leaping Ahead Project 2016 #273: 160929
[A song from 1986]
Ah! The infamous red codpiece! TOTP simply wasn’t prepared and any other words just don’t seem that important once you’ve drawn attention to it. Not that you need to. I’ll shut-up now.
Leaping Ahead Project 2016 #231: 160818
[Song from someone lost in 2010]
Dedicated to Marvin Isley (August 1953 – June 2010), the youngest of The Isley Brothers and the band’s bass guitarist. R.I.P.