Saturday, June 24, 2017

Purple Rain (Deluxe)(Expanded Edition)

This week saw the release of a deluxe, expanded edition of Purple Rain, Prince's 1984 super-smash soundtrack album for the film of the same name. Frequent visitors to the blog know I have reviewed this previously (click here for my full album review). Of course, this new version features a re-mastered version of that classic album, done by Prince himself back in 2015 before his passing last year. That disk sounds amazing - certainly much better than the 1990 CD version I own. This reminds me more of the sound I had from that original vinyl in 1984.

But this release has so much more.

Skipping over to disk three we have the single edits and the B-sides. We have radio edits for "When Doves Dry", "Let's Go Crazy", "Purple Rain", "I Would Die 4 U", "Baby I'm a Star" and "Take Me With U". We also have some extended versions of "Let's Go Crazy" and "I Would Die 4 U" so you can get your dance groove on. And for the B-sides, we have "17 Days", "Erotic City" in both a short and long version, "God" also in a short and long version, and "Another Lonely Christmas" in both short and long. That's a grand total of fifteen tracks in all that came from 45's and long playing singles. Most of these I already had, in various digital formats, so they were not as an attractive component of the release as everything else.

Jumping back to disk two, we are treated to eleven songs from the Vault, the creative repository of unreleased music and more that Prince kept for years. As a long time fan, these are the most sought for me. With his tragic passing in 2016, the Vault is going to be our only source of "new" material from the musical genius who has gone on to the afterworld. These tracks I will comment on individually.

"The Dance Electric"

"Love and Sex"

"Computer Blue ("Hallway Speech" version)"

A studio version of "Electric Intercourse"

"Our Destiny/Roadhouse"

"Possessed (1983 version)"

"Wonderful Ass"

"Velvet Kitty Cat"

"Katrina's Paper Dolls"

"We Can Fuck"

"Father's Song"

The final disk in this set is a DVD version of Prince and the Revolution live in concert, recorded at the Carrier Dome in Syracuse, NY, on March 30th of 1985. This performance was available back in the day on VHS tape. I remember seeing it one time as a rental from a video store; I never had the chance to own a copy until now. The sound on this one is phenomenal but the video is clearly dated and limited by the technology for which it was recorded. I really would have liked to have seen some clean up efforts done to make the video better if possible. Based on how it was shot though, that might not have been an option.

I had the pleasure to see the Purple Rain tour when it rolled through Buffalo, NY, a few months prior (December of 1984) so watching this show again over three decades later like rolling in a purple wave of nostalgia. The show opens with a number of hits, including his biggest from his previous album 1999. He even threw in some focus on B-sides and the unreleased vault track "Possessed" before giving us the entire Purple Rain experience.

The package also includes a thirty-two page booklet with pictures and reflections from Susan Rogers, his audio engineer on the original record and many others since, as well as the members of the Revolution themselves. I especially enjoyed hearing the comments of the latter on each of the records original tracks.

For the many of my blog posts that include music by Prince, click here.

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