PRINCE – ” Piano & a Microphone 1983 “

Posted: September 21, 2018 in ALBUMS, MUSIC
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To be released on what would have been the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer’s 60th birthday, Piano & a Microphone 1983 is what its title describes: a set of Prince renditions of both covers and originals from ’83, with just one instrument and some amplification for accompaniment. It may sound like a fans-only sort of release, but from the two tracks already released the stripped-down versions of classic “When Doves Cry” B-side “17 Days” and 19th-century spiritual “Mary, Don’t You Weep” it should be as electrifying a listen as any non-posthumous drop this year. Essentially all by himself, he is loose, freewheeling and impressionistic, flitting between sketches — 90 feather-light seconds of ‘Purple Rain,’ a spacious reworking of 1999’s steamy ‘International Lover’ — exercising his fingers as he plays broad chords like a piano man noodling on some Sinatra classics at the Waldorf.”

So at last the Prince vaults are open!  Piano & A Microphone, 1983 – a nine-track, 35-minute album – features a previously unreleased home studio cassette recording of the solo Prince at his piano in that epochal year including renditions of “Purple Rain,” Joni Mitchell’s “A Case of You,” the folk spiritual “Mary, Don’t You Weep,” and more!.

The Prince Estate has released a music video for Prince’s unearthed single “Mary Don’t You Weep” off the late singer’s Piano & A Microphone: 1983, out today. The video focusses on the issues of gun violence, particularly in American youth.

The video is directed by Salomon Ligthelm and opens on a black screen sharing these statistics; “Nearly 1,300 children die and 5,790 are treated for gunshot wounds each  ar in the United States alone.” The visual then pays tribute to those affected by gun violence in America through a series of scenes including a funeral, and the moments after someone is shot. The video links to Prince’s 2015 activist work in Baltimore before his death and includes a quote from a speech he made at his Rally 4 Peace concert: “The system is broken. It’s going to take the young people to fix it this time. We need new ideas, new life…”

The new album is the latest posthumous release from the artist’s estate, coming after the release of his original “Nothing Compares 2 U” recording and an EP commemorating a year since his death. The album features solo piano and vocal takes of classic prince songs, as well as several never before released tracks. Recorded in 1983 during a rehearsal, the album is in the style of the artist’s final Piano & A Microphone tour in 2016.

Prince passed away unexpectedly in April 2016 at his Paisley Park studios, where he was reportedly working on a memoir and more music. There are expected to be several more releases of unheard Prince music via his estate over the next few years.

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