Wednesday, July 3, 2019


You know what Prince's problem was? Too darn talented. When did he sleep? Between writing, jamming, touring and recording, most of his life must have seemed a blur. There was just so much Prince music over the years that consumers got lost in the steady flow.

Famously Prince gave away lots of his best music in the '80's, and here we get his original versions of songs that were hits for others during that decade. Some were demos, and some were full productions used by the lucky pals who got to place their voices on his mini-masterpieces. He made minor celebrities out of proteges such as Appolonia, The Time and Vanity 6, and when he had an established talent such as Sheila E., he really dug in. Her version of "The Glamorous Life" plus three other numbers here showed Prince had the power to turn someone into a star when he put his chops behind them. That was no cast-off cut either; and this version shows it would have made a fine Purple Rain-era cut, his sparse take having all the needed magic.

The same goes for "Manic Monday" as well, a made-to-order hit for The Bangles that truly ranks with his greatest, here sounding like a breezier sister to "Raspberry Beret". The biggest surprise is one that most fans ignored at first, "You're My Love," released by none other than Kenny Rogers back in 1986. Prince's original was certainly a slight pop track, but it sure sounds like another hit had it gone to some hipper newcomer than Kenny. Of course, the biggest Prince cover ever was Nothing Compares 2 U, although it was first recorded by The Family, not Sinead, and Prince's version almost beats hers.

The good news is that this is the tip of the iceberg of vault material, all pre-1991.  Expect lots more in the years to come.

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