Thursday, August 11, 2016

RE-UP: Prince "Playtime" - 4CD - various live (no studio versions of these songs!)

There was a strong need for this to be done.

Since the steady trickle of studio outtakes dried out some years ago there has been an endless outcry from collectors thirsty for yet more material to emerge  in one way or another. But it's easy to forget that, apart from those much celebrated unreleased studio gems that we've become accustomed to over the years, there remains a less trumpeted treasure trove of tracks that have only been played live or during rehearsals and of which, in most cases, no actual studio versions circulate and, one suspects, may not even exist as studio recordings.

A large proportion of those intriguing creations have often been revisited during live performance thus breeding familiarity with the fans. More thrillingly, a lesser proportion have come to our attention only as one-off live renditions or as spontaneous on-the-spot inventions. A whole raft of tracks probably exist in recorded studio versions but, as far as we know, are not circulating amongst hardcore collectors, meriting their inclusion here. And as for seemingly incongruous fare like concert  intros, and despite the fact that these are primarily studio recordings, we have also deemed them worthy candidates given their status as tracks conceived to be experienced solely in a live setting.

Yes, this may be just "another live compilation" but it's a vital one for filling in a yawning gap in our collections. PLAYTIME is the first release specifically assembled to be the definitive archive for these "obscure" songs that have been consigned to many a forgotten bootleg for far too long

Furthermore, we're not talking about the ultimate cut & paste job: 'creative editing' is probably the main feature of the set.
Our original intention had been to showcase these performances in strict chronological order, little realising just how much would be compromised in terms of overall flow. Which is why we finally opted to eschew chronology in favour of a more sensible order of songs, resulting in a much smoother, more natural transition from track to track that is bound to surprise the listener more than once. After all, we had to contend with a plethora of technical difficulties such as different audio sources, disparate fluctuations in sound quality, remedial considerations for each and every track, so much so that it soon became apparent that we had a REAL challenge on our hands…

Every single track has been carefully sourced and tweaked individually according to its particular requirement. Having to match tracks from a myriad different sources necessitated an additional double-tweaking process that also had to factor-in the audio quality of the preceding/subsequent recording in order for the set to work as a unified whole. The final result may be far from perfect but it really is the best we could have realistically achieved considering the poor quality of some of the sources.

Last but not least, the sheer pleasure of listening to all these joints together flowing seamlessly as if it all were part of a single live performance, will at times- we hope-   make you succumb to the illusion that you are being treated to "the impossible aftershow"!


CD1 [63:42]

1. PLAYTIME  [5:55]
The Roxy, Houston TX - Jan 1st 1998 (AM)

Performed several times during the 1997-98 Jam Of The Year Tour aftershows and sung by Marva King, who stated it was an actual Prince-penned track (she says so in this very performance). Sourced from 'Late Night Shows' (Sabotage).

2. PRINCE AND THE BAND  (Edit)*  [5:57]
Paisley Park, Chanhassen MN - Jun 23rd 2002 (AM)

This joint was played many times since the start of the ONA Tour in very different versions. An actual studio version of this does exist, a re•recording of which was played thru PA at the Indigo aftershows during the Earth Tour, but since there's only a small snippet circulating, we chose to keep this wonderful live rendition. Sourced from 'Xenophobia Vol.II' (Sabotage).

3. TOUCH  [10:22]
Red Jacket, Dallas TX - Apr 17th 2002 (AM)

Only known performance of the track. It is a live jam driven by a funky bass line followed by horns. Prince invites the audience to yell 'Touch'  as the only lyrics to the song. Sourced from 'The Dallas & Atlanta Aftershows'  (Sabotage).

4. GLAM SLAM BOOGIE   [8:32]
Emporium, London (UK) - March 23rd 1995 (AM)

A frequent inclusion on the setlists during the wild years, this track is Prince's own reworking of John Lee Hooker's 'I'm In The Mood'. Sourced from 'Emporium Remastered' (Sabotage)

5. THE GO-GO's   [5:48]
Palacio de los Deportes de la Comunidad de Madrid (Spain) - Dec 20th 1998

Included in the 1998 tours setlists, this is a mixture of 'Bustin' Loose'  by go•go pioneer Chuck Brown and Richard Strauss' 'Also Sprach Zarathustra' as featured on Stanley Kubrick's classic film 2001: A Space Odyssey. The tentative title points to the go•go feel of this jam which showcases the typical afro•caribbean percussion of the genre. Sourced from 'All Access' (Thunderball).

6.  U WANT ME (Edit)**   [2:49]
Aladdin Theater, Las Vegas NV - Dec 15th 2002

Introduced during the ONA Tour (but probably written earlier) was a normal inclusion on the live set and was played as part of a medley with 'Strollin''. Sourced from 'Continental Drift' (Sabotage).

7. FUCK IT UP JAM / 80s MEDLEY (Edit)**   [2:20]
Rehearsal from 1988

Performed sporadically during a number of Lovesexy Tour concerts, this is a tribute to some of the most prominent songs of the decade, featuring bits from 'The Way You Make Me Feel', 'Born In The USA', 'Wishing Well', 'The Glamorous Life' and others -even  horn lines from Stevie Wonder's 'I Wish' and James Brown's 'Cold Sweat'. Sourced from 'T's Lovesexy Rehearsal'.

8. BLUES IN C (If I Had A Harem)   [7:57]
Maple Leaf Gardens, Toronto (Canada) - Oct 5th 1988

Performed during the Lovesexy Tour, this is a bluesy rendition of a track that Prince had recorded at Paisley Park before departing for the European leg of the tour. The studio original had been originally scheduled for 1988's Rave Unto The Joy Fantastic project and is a more rockabilly•oriented effort. The live version includes 'Billie's Bounce' by Charlie Parker as a horn arrangement. Sourced from 'Cross The Line In Toronto' (???).

First Avenue, MPLS MN - Aug 3rd 1983

A hardcore fans' favourite, this track was at first intended for inclusion on the Purple Rain movie soundtrack and was only ever rehearsed before being played as a one•off at First Avenue on August 3rd 1983. It was eventually discarded when Prince wrote 'The Beautiful Ones'. It is not known for sure whether a studio version of this track was ever recorded. Sourced from 'The Makings Of Rain' DVD (Team FDA).

10. DRAWERS BURNING   [3:29]
Prom Center, St. Paul MN - June 7th 1985

On his 27th birthday celebration concert, Prince and The Revolution performed a long jam including 'Irresistible Bitch', 'Possessed' and 'The Bird'. The final part of the jam included a track formerly referred to by fans as 'Burn It'. Prince recorded other tracks during this period which included the word 'drawers' in the title, but in this case it seems no studio version of this track was ever committed to tape. Sourced from '27: Mutiny at the Prom' (4DaFunk).

11. HEY YOU   [5:14]
Flash Rehearsal Sessions

A track written for Flash, Margie Cox's group. Played during a rehearsal of the band. Sourced from ' Flash: A Paisley Park Project' (Global Funkschool).

CD2 [65:23]:

1. PEOPLE WITHOUT (Electric Version)   [9:56]
Het Paard van Troje, The Hague (Holland) - Aug 19th 1988 (AM)

Dubbed 'Electric Version' for the purposes of differentiating it from the Grösse Freiheit 36 'Acoustic Version', this was the very first performance of the track which was most probably created on the spot (the Hamburg version being just a reminder within the piano segment). This 'Electric Version' features heavy synth work underlining Prince's statements about what 'people without' usually do. Sourced from 'The Trojan Horse' (Sabotage).

2. POORGOO   [4:20]
Paisley Park Livestudio Session - Jun 14th 1993

Recorded live at Paisley Park with Michael B. and Sonny T. for The Undertaker project. Probably written about crew member James 'Magoo' McGregor, the tune was also played at some aftershows and soundchecks. Sourced from the unreleased album 'The Undertaker'.

3. JEALOUS AGAIN   [11:34]
Paisley Park Rehearsal - April 1990

Having nothing in common with The Black Crowes' track of the same name, this was played at a Nude Tour rehearsal. It is a vibrant rock number with a great deal of heavy guitar underlined by Michael B. and Sonny T.'s powerful rhythm section. Sourced from 'Revelations 2.1' (Brave) -mp3-sourced***.

4. BILLY (Edit)*   [13:21]
Rehearsal from 1984

Part of a much longer performance, this guitar driven number was aimed at Billy Sparks, who has done promotional work for Prince since the early 80s. Weaving rock guitar phrases over a simple drum machine beat the jam starts taking shape until it turns into a fully•fledged song complete with hilarious lyrics about Billy's glasses, which is the part we present in this 13 minute edit. An acoustic piano (pressumably played by Lisa, since Prince also sings about Lisa's glasses towards the end) joins in halfway through the performance. Sourced from 'Purple Rush' (Sabotage).

5. DANCE TO THE BEAT   [3:36]
First Avenue, MPLS MN - March 8th 1982

Never actually intended for any official project, this was probably written to spice•up The Time's live set with some extra material. The track was first played by the band at The Roxy Theater in Los Angeles while they were opening for the Controversy Tour and was later played again with Prince at First Avenue. This is one of those early rockabilly efforts in the vein of 'Delirious' or 'Jack U Off'. Sourced from 'First Avenue '82' (4DaFunk).

Sam's Danceteria, MPLS - March 9th 1981

Only played at the opening concert of the Dirty Mind Club Tour, at Sam's Danceteria (later known as First Avenue) on March 9th 1981. Propelled by a peculiar stop•and•go rhythm, it hardly features any lyrics other than verbal encouragements form Prince to get the audience to dance, say 'yeah!' and scream. Sourced from 'Sam's 81' (???).

7. WHAT DID I DO?   [9:07]
Le New Morning, Paris (France) - June 15th 1987 (AM)

A midtempo track with a bluesy feel that was only ever played live on this occasion. The track was formerly dubbed 'Wasn't My Face?' or 'Wasn't My Faith?' by collectors, but the title 'What Did I Do?' is also tentative. Sourced from 'Le New Morning '87' (4DaFunk).

8. U4 GUITAR JAM   [8:38]
U4, Vienna (Austria) - May 28th 1987

We didn't know how to title this incredible jam as the only vocals (sung in unison by Prince and Sheila E.) sound nearly undecipherable. A very special item within a jam•studded gig, its inclusion here is supported by the fact that it seems too developed a composition to be considered just 'another impromptu creation'. Could this be a work-in-progress of a discarded vault item? Will we ever know...?. Taken from the forthcoming 'Masquerade' (Giotto/4DaFunk).

CD3 [59:07]:

Summer 1983 Rehearsal

Titled as such by bootleggers, this is an instrumental version of 'Can't Stop This Feeling I Got'  in rehearsal with The Revolution. Uncredited source.

Rehearsal May/Jun 1984

Not a composition in its own right, but 'Purple Rain' with  different lyrics. Sourced from 'Purple Rush' (Sabotage).

3. OUR DESTINY Version #2   [2:51]
4. ROADHOUSE GARDEN Version #2   [3:11]
Rehearsal for the June 7th 84 concert at First Avenue #3 - May/Jun 1984

Fan favourites, these two tracks were only rehearsed and played back to back for and at the 1984 birthday gig. Both songs exist as studio recordings but  are not circulating amongst collectors, which made their inclusion here de rigueur. Both sourced from 'Purple Rush Vol.3' (Sabotage).

Purple Rain Tour Rehearsal #5 - 1985

Not a 'proper' track per se, but a playful and very noisy punk version of 'When Doves Cry'  instigated by Prince during an early 1985 rehearsal. Sourced from 'Purple Rush Vol.4' (Sabotage).

6. WHITE GIRLS (Edit)*   [7:18]
Rehearsal from 1983

We edited this 27•minute rehearsal and instead decided to highlight the most important part of this jam which includes portions of 'Ice Cream Castles', 'Computer Blue', 'Erotic City' and two songs by Sly Stone. Sourced from 'Purple Rush Vol.4' (Sabotage)

Le New Morning, Paris (France) - Aug 24th 1986

This instrumental was recorded live with The Revolution at a soundcheck  in Paris on August 25th 1986 but was premiered the night before at Le New Morning club and, incidentally,  is not a blues number. Prince's father, John L. Nelson (RIP), who joined the band onstage for a while at Le New Morning played some piano on this version. Sourced from 'Revelations 2.1' (Brave) -mp3-sourced***.

8. ELECTRIC MAN 1986 Version**   [2:05]
Cobo Arena, Detroit MI - Jun 7th 1986

This is the original idea that was later developed to be a regular feature in the Nude Tour setlist. In the Parade Tour, Prince's rendition of 'Head' usually finished with this snippet as he was 'making love' to his mic. Sourced from 'Birthday Parade' (Sabotage).

9. ELECTRIC MAN 1990 Version**   [3:56]
Tokyo Dome, Tokyo (Japan) - Aug 31st 1990

This is a 12•bar blues based tune which was played during the Nude Tour following 'The Question Of U' and over the same drum beat. It was developed from an early version performed in 1986 as the final part of 'Head'. Sourced from 'Stripped Down' (Sabotage).

10. MAMA   [6:43]
Piano Session #2 - 1983

These 3 tracks come from Prince's 1983 piano tape. No other versions of the tracks are known to exist, but the piece referred to here as 'There's No Telling…'  is highly likely to be an early rendition of the unreleased track 'Wednesday'. All three tracks sourced from the 'Purple Rush' series (Sabotage).

13. IF U LET ME UNDRESS U   [1:09]
Idraetsparken, Copenhagen (Denmark) - Aug 21st 1988

Only known performance of the song as it is supposed to have been created on the spot. It is just a brief sung passage off a longer piano segment. Uncredited source.

14. PEOPLE WITHOUT (Acoustic Version)   [2:07]
Grösse Freiheit 36, Hamburg (Germany) - Aug 31st 88 (AM)

Only two versions of this track are known to exist, and each one is very different to the other. This one, dubbed 'Acoustic Version' for want of a better description, is sourced from 'Driving 2 Midnight Mess' (Sabotage).

CD4 [51:43]:

Paisley Park, Chanhassen MN - Jun 24th 2002

A blues track that pokes fun at 'telemarketers, bill•collectors and fanatics'. It has been played in different versions, not all of them acoustic. The title is tentative. Sourced from 'Xenophobia Vol.1' (Sabotage).

2. 12:01   [4:43]
Staples Center, Los Angeles CA - March 29th 2004

Introduced during the acoustic set of the Musicology Tour, this is a blues track with hilarious lyrics. Sourced from 'Los Angeles Big Screen' (Sabotage).

3. REAL PLAYAS   [1:59]
Staples Center, Los Angeles CA - March 29th 2004

Also introduced during the acoustic set of the Musicology Tour, Prince half-sings, half-speaks about the differences between 'real' and 'fake' players. Sourced from 'Los Angeles Big Screen' (Sabotage).

4. THE RULES   [7:48]
Oakland Coliseum, Oakland CA - Sep 9th 2004

Another previously unheard item that at times was also a feature of the acoustic segment of the Musicology Tour. Prince offers a set  of easy-to-follow 'rules' intended to make relations between man and woman more bearable. Sourced from 'The Rules' (fan release).

The Summit, Houston TX - Dec 9th 1981

A pre•recorded gospel style a cappella intro to the Controversy Tour. Prince's multi-layered vocals proclaim the Second Coming whilst  also touching on subjects like gun control and the need to love one another. Sourced from 'You belong to Prince' (???).

6. INTERMISSION   [5:48]
Gym, Sendai (Japan) - Feb 1st 1989

This sonic collage was a real departure for Prince at the time and was played through the PA system between the 2 parts of the Lovesexy show. It features Ingrid Chavez reciting her poem 'Cross The Line' over an ocean of orchestral synths followed by Marie France's speech in French from 'Girls & Boys'  and by more vocal and instrumental surprises through  to the dawning of the 'Lovesexy' concept. It ends with the beginning of the studio album, when the second part of the live performance kicked off with 'Eye No'. Sourced from 'Sendai 89' (Sabotage)

7. DAT INTRO (Nude Tour Intro)   [2:17]
Estadio Santa María del Mar, La Coruña (Spain) - Jul 29th 1990

After 'Intermission' Prince seemed to develop a taste for pre•recorded sound•collage intros for each of the tours starting with the Nude Tour in 1990. It's a brief chronological run•through from 'For you' to 'Party Up', 'Controversy', '1999', 'Let's Go Crazy', 'ATWIAD', 'Girls & Boys' and 'Housequake'. Sourced from 'La Coruña '90 Soundboard' (4DaFunk).

Earl's Court, London (UK) - Jun 24th 1990

The tour opened with a short video featuring a female voice reading cryptic statements over the sound of dripping water. Sourced from 'Thieves In The Temple' (Sabotage).

Earl's Court, London (UK) - Jun 24th 1990

During the Diamonds and Pearls Tour, the performance of 'Thieves In The Temple' was normally preceded by an Arabian•sounding synth•harp driven piece for Mayte, Diamond and Pearl to dance to. Sourced from 'Thieves in the Temple' (Sabotage).

10. EGYPTIAN INTRO I   [3:45]
Flugplatz, Lueneburg (Germany) - Sep 3rd 1993

In the 1993 tours, before the song '7' was played, Mayte performed a sword dance to an Oriental-sounding instrumental which was highly percussive and revolved around a repetitive guitar motif. Sourced from 'Rock Over Germany' (Sabotage).

11. EGYPTIAN INTRO II   [2:33]
The Point Theatre, Dublin (Ireland) - March 30th 1995

For the 1995 'The Ultimate Live Experience' European tour, the sword dance was performed to a new version of the Oriental intro to '7'. Sourced from 'Slave Remastered' (4DaFunk).

Shoreline Amphitheater, Mountainview CA - Oct 10th 1997

Several vocal and instrumental stabs and snippets from songs are played over an ethereal keyboard background while voices say 'Please take your seats, this experience is about to begin' in several languages. Taken from a new, as of yet, uncirculating source.

13. THE ONE INTRO   [2:43]
Flanders Expo, Ghent (Belgium) - Dec 28th 1998

A musical 'prelude' to 'The One' was introduced during the European summer 98 concerts. Surprisingly, it surfaced again in the 2000 Hit N Run shows, and incorporated some lines from 'I Would Die 4U'  and 'Baby I'm A Star'. Sourced from 'Funkball' (Sabotage).

14. HIT'N'RUN TOUR INTRO   [1:40]
Landmark Theater, Richmond VA - Nov 8th 2000

Pre•recorded intro featuring snatches from several Prince songs. A slightly revised version of this intro was shared through the NPGMC with the title 'NPGMC Intro'. Sourced from 'Hit N Run Richmond' (Sabotage).

Staples Center, Los Angeles CA - March 29th 2004

Before the start of the Musicology Tour concerts, there was a screening of a video-montage from the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction night with Alicia Keys MC•ing. Sourced from 'Los Angeles Big Screen' (Sabotage).

16. THANK U JUST THE SAME   [0:54]
Studio 54, New York NY - July 24th 2000

Prince was presented with the 'Yahoo! Internet Life Online Music Award' for 'One Song' as Best Internet•Only Single. He accepted the award with a humorous pre•recorded thank you message over the basic tracks to 'My Medallion' as he wasn't in attendance. Sourced from 'Sound & Vision Vol.5' (Sabotage).

(*) These tracks have been edited because the full versions were far too lengthy to include in a compilation like this.

(**) Released/unnecessary portions have been edited out.

(***) We desperately tried to avoid any mp3-sourced content in the set but in the case of 'Jealous Again' and 'Susannah's Blues'  we had to concede defeat. The versions on Revelations 2.1 are much more complete than the circulating lossless versions, so the best option was to tweak those files instead of using incomplete versions. We could have chosen not to make any mention of that fact but 4DF likes to say everything, not just the goodies…

4DaFunk would like to to say thanks to the people who submitted better o newer sources for this set, to Erik for the fantastic artwork, to Amadeus for  proof•reading and helping with the definitive liner notes, to Helmut for being our 3rd eye, to all the people who believed in this project and whose input proved definitive for the assemblage of the final version and very especially to a marvellous hero from the very South of Europe without whose help PLAYTIME might have never gone beyond its initial stages.


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