a pair of live deuces

Do not contort, extort or otherwise put yourself out. Make no commotion. The serial MO remains intact, if a little interrupted. By lassitude or intrusion.

Chance. Actually, it was a recent reader\’s comment which prompted me to dust off the keyboard and dig out a couple of dirty Brown covers entangled at the bottom of the laundry basket. Soul Power Biological. Burns whiter than white. No Yorker, James Chance featured here previously ON THE BLEACHERS regards his 1978 \”Off White\” recordings; mixed and engineered at Blank Tape Studios, NYC. One more pale Taurean on the cusp of a ram\’s horn – born plain James Siegfried in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on April 20th, 1953 – the James Brown fixation was self-evident from the start. 

A febrile, albino fusion of free jazz channeling. Co-opted out of the No Wave movement fronted by one-time collaborator, Lydia Lunch. Stained sheets, indeed. Despite all this, I was unaware of this pair of Brown and Rosen compositions covered in performance at a show in Paris on the 13th May, 1980. Thank you, Magnus. The LP was reissued on Ze Records, with alternative renditions of the same live set – recorded this time in Rotterdam, June 1980 – made available through the ROIR retrospective, \”Soul Exorcism Redux\” in 2007.

The initial godfather workout here – \”I Feel Good\” – is fairly pedestrian and of interest only as a statement of intent. A chance remark. Rosen\’s \”King Heroin\”, though, delivers on a subcutaneous level informed by White / Chance / Black\’s own weakness for those \”tiny white grains\”. As Magnus observes: \”Standing in smack up to his knees\”. Or elbows. Where James Brown originally supplied a sermon built on caution and rebuttal, brother Chance returns it past the point of sale. An autographed admission prefaced by contorted alto saxophone.

A welter of contusions.

As performances go, it is claustrophobic. A stunted cousin of sorts to Television\’s Ork released \”Little Johnny Jewel\”; stripped of valve, electron gun, phosphor.

An empty glass envelope out of the box.

James Chance: vocals, saxophone;

Al McDowell: bass; Fred Wells, Patrick Geoffrois: guitars; Lorenzo Wyche: trumpet; Richard Harrisson: drums. Recorded live Aux Bains Douches, Paris, 13/05/80. Produced by Jacques Pasquier & James Chance.

JAMES CHANCE + THE CONTORTIONS: I GOT YOU (I FEEL GOOD) from \”Live Aux Bains Douches\” LP (Scopa Invisible) 1980 (US / FRANCE) JAMES CHANCE + THE CONTORTIONS: KING HEROIN from \”Live Aux Bains Douches\” LP (Scopa Invisible) 1980 (US / FRANCE)


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