James Chance & The Contortions captured live at the Misfits Night Club in Chicago, Illinois in September of 1981!
James Chance & The Contortions: James Chance (vocals, alto saxophone, organ); Jerry Agony, Chris Cunningham (guitar); Colin Wade (bass); Rolphe Rolle (drums); Cherie Marilyn (background vocals).
Recorded live at The Misfits Nightclub, Chicago, Illinois in September 1981.
Personnel: James Chance (vocals, alto saxophone, organ); Cherie Marilyn (vocals, background vocals); Chris Cunningham, Jerry Agony (guitar); Ralph Rolle (drums).
Recording information: Misfits Night Club, Chicago, IL (09/1981).
Photographer: Anya Phillips.
The real question about James Chance's sound is not how he thought of it, but why no one thought of it before. The prime architect of downtown NYC punk-funk, Chance (also known as James White), applied the skewed aesthetic of the burgeoning New York art-punk/new wave scene to the syncopated rhythms of artists like James Brown. From his carefully crafted hairdo to his vocal exhortations, Chance is like a funhouse-mirror image of Brown.
On this representative 1981 live recording, Chance works his exquisitely anguished yelp over funky vamps just off-kilter enough to let you know that LOST CHANCE is more CBGB's than JB's. Adding to the willful dementia is the avant-garde edge provided by Chance's sax and organ work, informed more by free jazz than funk. Chance takes on the Brown legacy head-first on the latter's "I Got You (I Feel Good)," and his manic, punky energy is a surprisingly workable replacement for the Godfather of Soul's funky mastery.