Here we have yet another soundboard recording of a rehearsal/soundcheck from 1984 that has seen the light of day in 2011. As with the "White Girls Jam" release reviewed here earlier, this session has been in circulation for awhile, but never in this complete form with this pristine sound quality. Free Boot Generation continues to 'Free The Music' like no other label.
The exact date and location this rehearsal took place is not known, although it has been placed from 1984. Prince And The Revolution primarily work on new songs Prince was writing for The Family, the protegee band that grew out of the leftovers from The Time after Morris Day left. The Family's lone Paisley Park album was not released until 1985, so this recording again provides a peek at Prince's process as he works out this new material with The Revolution.
I will say, this is far from the most interesting rehearsal to listen to. The majority of the session involves work on the song "Feline", a track written for The Family that remains unreleased to this day. You would think that would make for an engaging listen, but the first eleven minutes of the rehearsal is basically nothing more than repetitive bass and drums. At one point they switch to the drum and bass pattern from "Erotic City" while things are worked out, but otherwise things are pretty dull to start.
Things pick up at the eleven minute mark when Prince joins in on guitar and the rest of The Revolution start to build the song. The highlight of this near 35 minute jam on "Feline" starts at the 17:30 mark when Prince tears into some searing guitar work. If you are a fan of Prince's extended guitar solos, there are some incredible moments on display here. By this point the funk is boiling over from The Revolution and the "Feline" workout hits its peak.
Prince sings some unfinished lyrics, then does a rap written for The Family's St. Paul that may sound familiar. 'St. Paul's my name, makin' love's my game, I'm funky as I wanna be. Line up a hundred, swear to God, I'll fuck 'em till they just can't see. Cuz I'm bad, good God, badder than the wicked witch...' with some improvised mumbles thrown in as he clearly had not finished the lyrics. Although he did change this rap a bit, it was turned into the song "Holly Rock" by Sheila E. St. Paul apparently balked at the overtly sexual lyrics of "Feline" and asked that it not be included on The Family's album. A studio version of the song was recorded, but it has yet to circulate amongst collectors.
The second song worked on here is another track given to The Family, their Top Ten R&B hit "The Screams Of Passion". Prince instructs Bobby Z on the drum pattern he wants for the song, getting it to the right tempo before starting to play the electric piano. During the verse, Prince hums and mumbles at times, while also mixing in some of the lyrics that wound up on the released song, so it is very likely he was still working out the lyrics at the time of this session. The basic structure of the song is there, but like "Feline" it appears the lyric had yet to be finished.
The band then does a quick portion of James Brown's "Bodyheat" before the rehearsal tape closes with work on "Let's Go Crazy". This only lasts for about two minutes before things end with about three minutes of band members noodling on their instruments occasionally and a lot of silence. As I said, not the most exciting session to surface, but worth it for the only work on "Feline" currently in circulation, as well as being able to hear the building of "The Screams Of Passion" into a fully fleshed out song. Sound quality, again, is perfect, crystal clear soundboard, all the more reason to add this to your collection, even if you may only listen to it once.