Mojo (UK) - - Filter Albums - Danny Ec­cle­ston

★★★★ Pi­ano & A Mi­cro­phone 1983 WARNER BROS. CD/DL/LP Acous­tic solo ses­sion hint­ing at al­ter­nate fu­tures for the pro­tean pur­ple pon­tiff.

“Is that my echo?” asks the voice of Prince Rogers Nel­son at the be­gin­ning of the first full re­lease from the no­to­ri­ous Vault. He’s just check­ing on his mon­i­tor­ing with en­gi­neer Don Batts. Ex­cept that now it’s an echo from be­yond the grave, and an echo of a past when Pur­ple Rain and mega-suc­cess had yet to hap­pen. The seeds of both are here, though, in this in­ti­mate, for-his-ears-only per­for­mance, as Prince segues between works-in-progress (Pur­ple Rain as aching pi­ano sketch) and grand­stand­ing work­outs (Mary Don’t You Weep is a full-on gospel ex­or­cism). His pi­ano-play­ing is a joy, his vo­cals a dramatis personae of lively char­ac­ters: fem­i­nine and Broad­way on Wed­nes­day; com­i­cally gruff on Cold Cof­fee & Co­caine; like Kate Bush ver­sus Randy New­man on Why The But­ter­flies. The whole thing feels – thrillingly, poignantly – like you’re in the room with him.

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