Lately I’ve been listening to Grace Jones quite a bit. Don’t know why, but I do love the albums she recorded with the Compass Point All Stars who included Sly and Robbie among others. Really a crackerjack team of musicians behind her, better than the disco team that recorded her first three albums.
My friend Jet resembled Grace Jones a little bit. He was black and had a fade much like hers. It was the look he was going after and succeeded at least to me after a few drinks. I think the first time I actually heard Grace was when I was visiting my friend Stan in Wallington NJ. We were probably going to a show or something and Stan played the Nightclubbing album which is my favorite Grace Jones record.
Through the years a subconscious gauge on how much someone loved music meant they had to have at least one grace Jones album, preferably one with the Compass Point team. It seemed that a lot of people that I met did. Jimmy Lee, an ex-roommate was infatuated with the song, Living My Life.
A favorite memory of mine, is when I was a bar back at McSwells on Friday nights with Declan and Martha and Slave to the Rhythm was on the jukebox. Slave to the Rhythm is one of my favorite songs of all time, but while bar backing I would invariably play a different version of Slave to the Rhythm on the b-side, called GI Blues.
I called it Heavy Rhythm for a long time. A harder version which is perfect for walking through the streets of midtown Manhattan. I hear it and I am back behind the bar washing glasses, stocking the beer and telling customers that I wasn’t a bartender. After downloading a version of the song I finally bought the album last night through iTunes, which doesn’t make it an album, but rather a download. I have a cassette somewhere.
Today I checked out some YouTube videos and found something that I hadn’t looked for before to my surprise. It was Lambert Hendricks and Ross singing Everyday. I remember in 1988 coming home from McSwells in an altered state one Monday morning and too wired to sleep, I turned on the tv and watched a show with David Sanborn and Jools Holland called Sunday Night.
Either Jools or David introduced a clip from the 1950s and it just grabbed me right from the start. I was captivated, just watching them swinging and singing. Totally captivated. I told my brother Frank about it and of course, he had some info and gossip about Lambert Hendricks and Ross.
It must have been before the holidays because for Xmas that year Frank got me a copy of Lambert Hendricks and Ross’ Greatest Hits. I loved it and played it quite a bit. A few years after that, I’m working at Right Track Recording and I forget who the client was, but a phone call came in for them.
I picked up the call and asked who it was and the caller said, Jon Hendricks. I sort of bent the rules and asked if he was the same Jon Hendricks from Lambert Hendricks and Ross. He said yes, that he was. I told him about seeing the clip from the 1950s on TV and it was amazing, I gushed.
I could tell that he was impressed that the music he made 40 years earlier was being appreciated by a younger generation. It was a small thrill just chatting with him for a minute. He did visit the Manhattan Transfer, that’s who he was calling for and made it a point to see me and shake my hand, thanking me for knowing his music.
A few years ago, Jon Hendricks and Annie Ross were performing together for what promised to be the last time. Dave Lambert died in a car accident in 1966. Annie was upset that Jon had mentioned that Annie was a junkie back in the day. She honored the engagements that were booked, but after that, never again.
I took Bill for an Xmas present to see them at the Blue Note. Cramped and crowded it wasn’t the best venue to see them but at least I had an opportunity to see the two of them for perhaps the last time.
Here’s the clip that I originally saw twenty years or at least I think it is. I still love it!
2.17.2020: Here’s the studio version, I hope you like it, let me know what you think!