Thursday, June 14, 2007

Grace Jones on UBM-TV

The 1980s weren’t much for music (in my humble opinion). But the decade got off to a hot start with three superb albums by Grace Jones: “Warm Leatherette,” “Nightclubbing” and “Living My Life.”

Produced by Chris Blackwell, these LPs boasted a world-class session band – including Sly & Robbie and Wally Badarou – plus extraordinary good taste in song selection.

(You should be in possession of the double-CD compilation “Private Life: The Compass Point Sessions,” which includes a buried treasure from this period – Grace’s reggae version of Johnny Cash’s “Ring of Fire.”)

French visual artist Jean-Paul Goude shaped Grace Jones’s image during this time frame. I’m not crazy about the way he fetishized her blackness. But Goude created a mesmerizing video document of Grace in her prime. It was called “A One Man Show,” and it’s on YouTube in bite-sized pieces.

Which I place before you now via UBM-TV.

For me personally, the only downside to watching Grace perform “Private Life” and “Demolition Man” and “Walking in the Rain” is the realization of how quickly the last 25 years have gone by.

UPDATE (06/19/07): Now that they’ve been replaced in my Video Bar, here’s where you can find those fragments of “One Man Show” on YouTube: part 1 (with “Warm Leatherette” and “Walking in the Rain”); part 2 (with “Feel Up” and “La Vie en Rose”); part 3 (with “Demolition Man” and “Pull Up to the Bumper”); and part 4 (with “Private Life” and “My Jamaican Guy”).

8 comments:

Eric said...

Theory: for Jean-Paul Goude, Grace Jones's blackness was a purely aesthetic factor, not a racial one.

Also note, at the 2:15 mark in clip #3, she moonwalks.

Undercover Black Man said...

Purely aesthetic, yeah, I suppose... except he's got her in a gorilla suit at the start of "One Man Show," and did the bone-through-the-nose thing for another photo.

Just like the gender-bending thing, the blackness -- and its associations with wild exoticism and primitivism -- is just another toy in the toybox for a guy who was consumed by the surfaces of things.

Eric said...

Honestly, I skipped around the clips and didn't see those two images. Feel kind of foolish now.

Undercover Black Man said...

No worries, Eric. The bone-in-the-nose bit isn't in this video, but it is the cover photo of the triple-CD "Ultimate Collection" set.

dez said...

He may have fetishized her blackness, but it seems she was a willing participant in said fetishization. Grace Jones has always been pretty outrageous on her own, too (which is why I love her). Forget the army of Slim Shadys and bring on the Grace Jone Clones!

dez said...

Grace JoneS Clones, duh (stupid fingers).

Dougfp said...

I don't know. Looks more like a chopstick than a bone.

Undercover Black Man said...

^ Oh. That makes it okay...

Semiotically, it's a bone. Not that I'm angry over it. All told Grace + Goude was a fantastic combination. But Goude viewed her blackness in a way that only a white man could.