The ’59 2018 #141: 180521
Grace Jones – Nightclubbing (1981)
This year, Jem of Jemtunes, born in 1959, turns 59. So ‘The ’59’ celebrates 59 years of cracking tunes with a few albums from each year – 1959 through 2018. Currently we’re at year 23 – 1981.
Nightclubbing was the fifth studio album by Jamaican singer Grace Jones, released on 11 May 1981 by Island Records. Recorded at Compass Point Studios with producers Alex Sadkin and Island Records’ president Chris Blackwell, as well as a team of session musicians rooted by rhythm section Sly & Robbie, the album marked her second foray into a new wave style that blends a variety of genres, including reggae, art pop, dub, synth-pop and funk. The album is a mixture of cover versions from artists including Bill Withers, Iggy Pop and Astor Piazzolla, and original songs, three of which were co-written by Jones.
It album received positive reviews upon its release and continues to be praised by critics, with reviewers commending the singer’s unique sound and organic fusion of genres. The album entered in the top 10 in five countries, and became Jones’ highest-ranking record on the US Billboard mainstream albums and R&B charts.
Six singles were released from the album, including the hits “Pull Up to the Bumper” and “I’ve Seen That Face Before (Libertango)”.
The Epic 2017 Project #282: 171009
Santana – Moonflower (1977)
Moonflower is a studio and live double album by Santana, released in 1977. The recording features both studio and live tracks, which are interspersed with one another throughout the album. It is perhaps the group’s most popular live album, because Lotus did not receive a U.S. domestic release until the early 1990s. It displays a mix between the fusion of Latin and blues-rock styles of the late 1960s and early 1970s, and the much more experimental and spiritual jazz fusion sound that characterized the band’s mid-1970s work. The live material was recorded during the supporting tour for the Festival album, which displayed a similar mix of styles, and many of the album’s songs are featured here – namely, the three song medley which opens Festival.
A cover version of the Zombies’ mid-1960s hit song “She’s Not There” was released as a single. The song was the first Santana recording to hit the Top 40 of the Billboard charts since “No One to Depend On” reached No.36 in 1972. The album reached No.10 on the Billboard charts and was eventually certified platinum, neither of which occurred again until the star-studded Supernatural in 1999 (See Epic 283 on Jemtunes tomorrow).
The Epic 2017 Project #281: 171008
Santana – Abraxas (1970)
The playlist at a gig we went to in Brighton last night included Santana’s version of ‘Black Magic Woman’. Rather excellent timing as I’d already scheduled ‘Abraxas’ for an airing in the Epic 2017 series. So here it is.
Abraxas was Santana’s second studio album. Building upon the interest generated by their self-titled first album released in August 1969 and their highly acclaimed live performance at the Woodstock Festival in August 1969, the band released Abraxas in September 1970. The album’s mix of rock, blues, jazz, salsa, and other influences was very well received, showing a musical maturation from their first album and refining the band’s early sound.
In 2016, the album was selected for preservation in the National Recording Registry due to its “cultural, historic, or artistic significance.
Black Magic Woman was written by Peter Green from the early Fleetwood Mac line-up. So here’s a vid of two 70-year olds performing it. Rather stunning stuff. Partly because it shows Mr Green back on form after the recluse years and partly because it shows that Mr Santana has never lost it! Enjoy.
Leaping Ahead Project 2016 #272: 160928
[Song from 28.9.71]
Formed in 1970 by musicians from mixed artistic backgrounds, including classical, folk, and electronic, the resulting sound of the band was a mixture of progressive rock, folk rock, and fusion with classical elements. Along with High Tide and East of Eden, Curved Air were one of the first rock bands after It’s a Beautiful Day and the United States of America to feature a violin. They released eight studio albums, the first three of which broke the UK Top 20, and had a hit single with “Back Street Luv” which reached number 4 in the UK Singles Chart.