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Private Life: The Compass Point Sessions
Grace Jones
Private Life: The Compass Point Sessions
Genres: Dance & Electronic, Pop, R&B
  •  Track Listings (12) - Disc #1
  •  Track Listings (14) - Disc #2

In the wake of Marianne Faithfull's disco-punk fusion on 1979's Broken English, Island label mate and disco diva Grace Jones made a similar left turn with a couple of albums of new-wave classics (the Pretenders' "Private L...  more »


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CD Details

All Artists: Grace Jones
Title: Private Life: The Compass Point Sessions
Members Wishing: 2
Total Copies: 0
Label: Island
Original Release Date: 6/16/1998
Release Date: 6/16/1998
Genres: Dance & Electronic, Pop, R&B
Styles: Disco, Dance Pop, By Decade, 1970s, Soul
Number of Discs: 2
SwapaCD Credits: 2
UPCs: 731452450128, 0731452450128

In the wake of Marianne Faithfull's disco-punk fusion on 1979's Broken English, Island label mate and disco diva Grace Jones made a similar left turn with a couple of albums of new-wave classics (the Pretenders' "Private Life," Iggy Pop's "Nightclubbing"), new-wave "classics" (the Normal's "Warm Leatherette") and a soul chestnut or two ("The Hunter Gets Captured by the Game") given her uniquely growling treatment. As the funk grew stronger, she even placed a few hits on the charts, notably the 1982 "Pull Up to the Bumper." Private Life surveys this, the artiest of Jones's periods, including rare 12-inch and dub mixes. --Rickey Wright

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CD Reviews

Chronicles of her art
Eliation | 06/24/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"The dynamic queen of outrage; her stunning, fierce looks and her legendary temper made her famous far beyond those who would ever hear her music. That's the perfect way to describe Jones' recording career. In 1979 her disco theme were cramped; forcing Grace to evolve herself and her musical aspirations. By the help of artist Jean Paul-Goude, they created the basics: a stunning androgynous look and a fast hard hitting rhythm, controlled by reggae legends Sly Dunbar and Robbie Shakespeare. "Warm Leatherette" was the first of three stunning albums recorded at the Compass Point studios in the Bahamas. The album was an immediate UK success hitting the Top 50 in the album charts; the single "Private Life" was one of her first worldwide hits establishing herself as a regular on the British top chart. "Warm Leatherette" was a compilation of several of covers, from Tom Petty "Breakdown" to Roxy Music "Love Is the Drug" to the Motown's "The Hunter Gets Captured by the Game" to far beyond Daniel Millers ominous title track "Warm Leatherette". "Warm Leatherette" also brought Grace the public acknowledgement she never received for her disco work; basically Grace stuck with the chosen songs and further improved them. In 1981 the second album arrived titled: Nightclubbing. Again Sly & Robbie provided the great back-up music for Grace it turned out to be Grace's most successful album to date. Proving once again that Grace had chosen the perfect songs to interpret, her amazing cover of Bill Withers' "Use Me" becomes a sexual plead, and her rocking rendition of the Police's "Demolition Man" made the original totally obsolete. "Nightclubbing" is her most delicious recording to date; from Iggy Pop "Nightclubbing" to Flash the Pan's torch song "Walking in the Rain" really put Grace on the musical map, even as far as, the New Musical Express crowned it album of the year, 1981. Despite of the great covers Grace co-wrote her perhaps biggest hit to date: Pull Up to the Bumper, which is a delicious chocolate flowing in-between dub, proving Grace to be equally versatile as the cover songs chosen. The last of three albums, came in 1982, titled, Living My Life. This time around Grace was overly more involved with the entire process, from song writing to even co-producing the songs. "Living My Life" once again proved Grace's capability as a performer. "My Jamaican Guy" has inspired many hip-hop artist over the years, noteworthy, L.L Coo J's massive hit "Doin' It". Overall "Living My Life" was such a personal piece of work, Nipple to the Bottle recycling the beat of "Pull Up to the Bumper" and "Cry Now, Laugh Later" presented the avant-garde in Grace. Think you can handle a growling rendition of Melvin Van Peebles "The Apple Stretching"? Just listen to Grace's deep conviction and be prepared to be amazed. With "Slave to the Rhythm" Grace further improved her image as the queen of outrage, proving to be one of Grace's biggest hit singles. When all is said and done, Private Life: The Compass Point Sessions is the perfect introduction to her prime-years in music. Although not career-spanning, it showcases Grace Jones' amazing capability as a singer and entertainer. Grace Jones may not regain that kind of perfection ever again, but she doesn't have to, the recordings are the chronicles of her art.
"Private Life" belongs in YOUR life! Point compass to "BUY"!
philphila | Philadelphia, PA United States | 10/30/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I should start off by noting that this collection is not a complete overview of Grace Jones's recording career. None of her 1970s disco tracks appear here, nor does any of her sporadic output from the late 1980s and early '90s. That said, it's hard to imagine that the inclusion of any of those tracks could improve the quality of this set. The material presented here is a striking blend of reggae, funk, new wave and disco; and despite the fact that each of those musical genres peaked decades ago, the songs included on this CD have held up extremely well. The production (by Chris Blackwell and Alex Sadkin) is sharp, clean and exciting; and Jones's band (headed by Sly & Robbie) cooks. While these guys deserve a lot of the credit for the high quality of these songs, a great deal of credit should also go to Jones. She projects a powerful, authoritative presence throughout, and her dark, stylish talk-singing fits this material like a glove. What's more, two of the set's best songs - "My Jamaican Guy" and "Living My Life" - carry a sole songwriting credit for Jones. The many remakes included here bear witness to the talent, intelligence and impeccable taste of the Compass Point group, too. Granted, it would be difficult for even the most objective listener to call Grace Jones a serious interpretive singer; some would even hesitate to call her a singer, period. But many of the smashing cover versions contained here - specifically Roxy Music's "Love is the Drug," the Normal's "Warm Leatherette" and the Pretenders' "Private Life" - are absolutely definitive and belong completely to Jones. The other originals included here are also first-rate. "Pull Up to the Bumper" is a dance-funk gem and one of Jones's only singles to reach the upper levels of a major Billboard chart (R&B #5). The provocative "Walking in the Rain," the punchy "Nipple to the Bottle" and the haunting, Trevor Horn-produced "Slave to the Rhythm" are all sensational should-have-been hits, as well. There's even a surprisingly good version of Johnny Cash's "Ring Of Fire": Just imagine what the possibilities might have been for that video! The only track that I find unlistenable, out of the 26 included here, is the grating "She's Lost Control," which finds Jones screaming like a madwoman at the end of the song. (Then again, it's probably just part of the act.)If the scary videos, harsh costumes and not-ready-for-prime-time performances turned you off the first time, then you've truly missed out on something special. Grace Jones is ripe for rediscovery, and you won't find a better way to do this than the excellent, accessible "Private Life: The Compass Point Sessions." It's a much better buy than the brief "Island Life" compilation, which sacrifices much of the brilliant Sly & Robbie work for some weak disco cuts. Plus, the 24-page booklet contains an excellent essay and some period photos of Jones. I don't know that we'll ever get a Grace Jones box set, but with the magnificent "Compass Point Sessions," we may not need one. It just doesn't get any better than this."
Guy De Federicis | east of here | 12/15/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Recorded at Bahamas Island studio recording retreat, Compass Point, here is a collection of long versions, never released, and dubs of songs from Grace Jones' albums of the eighties. It's wonderful. Jones always had the benefit of fine studio session players and the musical cast here shines in a dreamy Jamaican soundscape of romantic endless Summers and street-wise smarts. Her voice is sometimes zombie-like frightening as in the ominous cover of Flash and The Pan's "Walking In The Rain", and sometimes sedate and hypnotic as in her many excursions into sleepy French language back-up vocals ("I've Seen That Face Before"), but it is always expressive and powerful, a perfect niche to the rhythm and flow of the lush, multi-layered music. Joy Division's "She's Lost Control" is turned into a comedic, violent, and deliciously psychotic urban anthem and the whole CD rings with infectious grooves and sing-along charm."