Skip to main content

Despite a biopsy scheduled for Friday and my UI having run out, my week is going swimmingly.  

It's not every day a 57 year old white guy gets to claim he has a new album out that features young Prince, Alexander O Neal, Jimmy Jam, Terry Lewis and Rockie Robbins, Sueann Carwell and Andre Cymone.

The reviews are in and the record is being streamed and is for sale starting today.


But as the album notes put it, that sound “was not entirely the invention of the prince who became the city’s most famous citizen; it was instead a perfect storm of individuals and influences.”

Some of those are well-known, like Jimmy Jam Harris and Terry Lewis, represented here with their groups Flyte Time and Mind & Matter. Prince is here, too, as the precocious autodidact playing with 94 East, the Lewis Connection and the Family (on a track credited to "Music, Love & Funk" that features his future NPG bassist Sonny Thompson).

Others, like Alexander O’Neal, Rockie Robbins and Sue Ann Carwell, found at least brief moments in the spotlight. And then there are groups like Haze, Cohesion, Prophets of Peace and Aura, which are distant memories at best. No matter, they’re all sharing the same stage again.

The album is 32 songs featuring lots of my friends, band mates and competitors from the 70s and 80s in Minneapolis.  Oh, and I play on three of the tracks and members of my bands play on over a dozen.  

Many of my closest friends and featured musicians on this record have already passed away.  I received my copy last Wednesday and have been too emotional to speak on the topic til today.  

This record and its attending hardcover book tells the story of how Prince was one of many black artists struggling against the institutional racism of the Twin Cities that forced people to "go national" because you could not earn a living locally.  We helped each other (Prince plays guitar with several of the featured bands, and I never charged a penny to artists either) and competed, trash talked and collaborated.  The horn section gave way to synthesizers, and slick soul gave way to funk rock.  You can actually hear how we influenced each other, and being a small community we all knew each other well.  

Morris Day, a drummer then, used to walk back and forth across the street to practice with us and another band. Prince used to play cards with Alexander and Sueann upstairs while we wrote songs.  Some of the shit we said ended up on Prince and The Time records as an homage to our unique way of communicating.  Our band discovered Jesse Johnson on the road in Rock Island, and eventually he came to live here and play with the band across the street.  Of course, we traded members anyway.

I have a lot of these stories, but the album itself tells it better.  

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site