Sunday, May 6, 2012
JEFFREY MORGANíS MEDIA BLACKOUT #314
Sun, May 6, 2012 | link
PUNCH A HIGHER JEFFREY MORGAN’S
MEDIA BLACKOUT #314!
SIZZLING PLATTERS OF THE
WEEK: Prince – The Work: 1976 – 2000 (Thunderball) :: This guy once put out an album called
Musicology—an egghead handle with an edifying air to it that conjured up visions of Professor Prince holding
class in his best zoot suited Cab Calloway mortarboard attire. But if you want a real musical history lesson in what
Prince is up to every night while the rest of the world is sleeping, then I strongly suggest that you seek out a copy of this
definitive 20 disc set.
That’s right, spanning a quarter of a century,
this astonishing set contains a whopping 20 discs of unreleased studio demos and outtakes. That’s a grand total of 331
tracks, all presented in strict chronological order. Amazingly, there are no false starts, no incomplete songs, and no duplications
with any officially released Prince albums or extended singles.
With each individual
disc clocking in at a full eighty minutes in length, that’s over 24 hours worth of music. And for those of you who would
like an old school conversion, we’re talking the equivalent of 40 full-length vinyl records, or 80 album sides. This
mammoth monolith makes Keith Jarrett’s original vinyl ten record Sun Bear Concerts box set look like a one-sided
And although some
of these tracks have been available on various individual bootlegs for decades, more often than not their muffled tenth-generation
sound quality was so inferior as to be almost unlistenable—but not this time around. As might be expected from a major
undertaking like this, the sound is uniformly of a high studio quality.
only are we privy to outtakes and demos from all of Prince’s own albums, we’re also treated to an extensive array
of unreleased songs from virtually every artist Prince has worked with over the years, from The Time and The Family to Jill
Jones and Carmen Electra—including tracks from completed follow up albums which were never released. Indeed, after listening
to all the myriad variations presented herein, it’s not unreasonable to think that Prince routinely assembles several
completely different versions of each album before he releases it.
Some of the
stellar selections contained on The Work include: The original demo for The Time’s “Chocolate”
wherein Prince shows where Morris Day’s ‘ad libbed’ conceited shtick really comes from, including
his “Yessssss” catchphrase; the full unedited 12 minute version of “Computer Blue” that restores
the missing six and a half minutes which were cut from the end of the version that’s on Purple Rain;
and a marathon 30 minute studio version of “I Would Die For You” that served as the arrangement template
for Prince’s live television version.
Folks, that’s only three selections
from the first three discs, so you can just imagine what’s waiting for you on the remaining 17. In other words, school’s
in session, so you’d better take notes because there’s going to be a final exam—and knowing Professor Prince,
it’ll be oral.
Be seeing you!