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James White and The Blacks
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James White and The Blacks biography
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James White is/was James Chance of the James Chance & The Contortions in a more jazzy disco version of the Contortions. The Contortions were a New York based band in the late 1970’s that first appeared on a compilation produced by Brian Eno entitled No New York.
The Contortions were the funkiest of the lot, led by James Chance on vocals and screeching sax.
They became “James White and the Blacks” for their second album (presumably taking another name to get around Contortions record contracts). Off White, a sleazy, jazzier, lounge-disco record, “did to disco what they had done to the funk”. A more disco version of the Contortions hit Contort Yourself was offered up with some other tracks that included a sultry cover of “Heatwave” and an orgasmic phone call with Lydia Lunch on Stained Sheets.
Eventually The Blacks became almost literally all black, as the original Contortions left and were replaced with a mix of “tight black funk session players, hipster elite jazzmen, and flamboyantly eccentric art world personalities”. Sax Maniac showcases this “dead serious” funk group, while Chance’s humour is still apparent in the playful lyrics of Sax Machine and a cheeky cover of the swing standard, That Old Black Magic.
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