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Sunday, May 6, 2007

I could drink a case of you and I would still be on my feet (even in high heeled boots)

While driving home Sunday morning after my "Weekend de Mayo", I was served the greatest hangover cure the day could have presented to me, short of a well-earned bloody mary from Wishbone. As I flipped through radio channels, I heard a DJ mention a recent Joni Mitchell tribute album and almost jumped out of my seat belt with excitement when he announced that after the commercials, the next song would be Prince's version of "A Case of You".

A Case of You
Just before our love got lost you said,
I am as constant as a northern star
And I said, constant in the darkness, Where's that at?
If you want me I'll be in the bar

On the back of a cartoon coaster
In the blue tv screen light,
I drew a map of Canada, Oh Canada
And your face sketched on it twice

Oh you are in my blood like holy wine
Oh and you taste so bitter but you taste so sweet
Oh I could drink a case of you
I could drink a case of you darling
And I would still be on my feet
Oh I'd still be on my feet

Oh I am a lonely painter, I live in a box of paints
Im frightened by the devil
And Im drawn to those ones that aint afraid

I remember that time that you told me
you said, Love is touching souls,
Surely you touched mine
Cause part of you pours out of me
In these lines from time to time

Oh you are in my blood like holy wine
Oh and you taste so bitter but you taste so sweet
Oh I could drink a case of you
I could drink a case of you darling
And I would still be on my feet
Oh I'd still be on my feet

I met a woman, She had a mouth like yours
She knew your life, She knew your devils and your deeds
And she said, Color go to him, stay with him if you can
Oh but be prepared to bleed

Oh you are in my blood like holy wine
and you taste so bitter but you taste so sweet
I could drink a case of you
I could drink a case of you darling
And I would still be on my feet
Oh I'd still be on my feet

Because I listened incessantly to his Sign 'O the Times cd, Prince was my gateway to Joni Mitchell (and Dorothy Parker, for that matter). On S.o.t.T, he name checks both women; Joni in "Starfish & Coffee", and Dorothy in--naturally--"The Ballad of Dorothy Parker". In the rare magazine interview, he has mentioned more than once how much Joni Mitchell inspired him over the years, so I couldn't wait to hear it.

If you are already crinkling up your nose and making a nasty face at your monitor, I assume that you'll possibly scroll down to another posting on my blog or perhaps you'll go to a different web page. Maybe one where you don't have to read about a man who wears high heeled boots, changed his name to a symbol (then changed it back) and sometimes sings falsetto. I totally understand if you decide to skip this post because of those things, but if you use the same methodology and base your opinion of his music/songwriting/performing solely by what they play on the radio, or on what kind of shoes he wears, or on how he chooses to be addressed-- you'll be missing out on some damn good music.

I've been a fan of Prince since Thanksgiving 1984 when (without our parents' permission) Missy, a group of distant cousins and I somehow got into the R-rated Purple Rain. There are some highly inappropriate scenes in that movie for an 11-year old, including but not limited to: nudity, language, violence, drug abuse; not to mention the bad acting by Apollonia and all members of Prince's band, The Revolution. Somehow I overlooked all of that because I was focusing on Prince's intensity during the live performances, and trying to make myself sit still during Morris Day & The Time's "Jungle Love" (Yas! oh-ee-oh-ee-oh!) concert scene.

Via: VideoSift

If you know me, you are already aware that I own a stack of Prince vinyl, as well as every cd he's ever sold, except the one Warner Bros put out solely to make some money on him after he left for another record company. Purple Rain, though a classic for the ages, is not my favorite Prince song/album. There are so many songs you've likely never heard-- in fact, you've probably only heard a drop in the bucket of his work-- that are both musically and lyrically superior to anything on Purple Rain. There is at least one masterpiece on every cd that has his name on it. I'll write up a favorites list later so you can make your own mix tape.

POST DISCLAIMER: Despite what you've already read above, I may be coming off like I'm one of those crazed people who only listens to Prince or who obsesses over one artist/group; that's not me. I don't have posters of him (and never did). I'm not in the fan club, I don't drive a purple car. I don't take it personally when people base their opinion of his music solely on how comfortable they are with his persona, because that's just sad. I have eclectic taste and listen to a ton of good music. I feel that the complexity of Prince's music made me aware as a young girl in the early 80's that there was way more to life than spending your time listening to a group called Jump 'n the Saddle Band singing a song called, "The Curly Shuffle" like the rest of my friends were. I'm just sayin'.

Anyway, back to the Joni Mitchell Tribute CD. The reviews on Amazon aren't glowing. Most complaints are that the singers didn't duplicate Joni's delivery. When I want to hear a song the way Joni Mitchell sings it, I'll listen to Joni Mitchell (and I do). I am certain that nobody can sing a Joni Mitchell song better than she can. If nothing else, you will appreciate the original artist more after hearing a less than stellar cover. I think a tribute cd is most interesting when talented artists put their twist on a song, but that's just me.

As for his version of "A Case of You", I really like it. I can see how he would write his song "Sometimes it Snows in April" (on his Under the Cherry Moon cd) after hearing his interpretation of "Case". As with the first time I heard "April", "Case" gave me goosebumps, and I bought it from iTunes as soon as I got home. Then I took a nap.

If you're still reading this (hooray for you!), here's that list I promised. If you don't know what list I'm talking about, you are totally busted for skimming everything written above instead of reading for comprehension!

1) For You: "Soft and Wet" was the breakout hit for him (and why wouldn't it be?).

2) Prince (self-titled): "I Wanna Be Your Lover" will be the one you recognize when you hear it, but "Why You Wanna Treat Me So Bad" is my favorite

3) Dirty Mind: "Head"

4) Controversy: "Let's Work"

5) 1999: "D.M.S.R." It's totally infectious.

6) Purple Rain: It's a tie between "The Beautiful Ones" (because of his performance in the movie) and "Darling Nikki" (because of an argument with my friend Kim Tucker when we were in the 7th grade over the lyrics. Here's how it went down: She insisted the apex of the song went like this: "I can't tell you what she did to me but my body will never be the same. Her lovin', it will kick your behind; she'll show you no mercy, but she'll sho'nuff show you how to CRY, oh Darlin' Nikki..." What? She'll show you how to cry? Cry? Sorry Kimmy, but it's you who is showing people how to cry with your seeming inability to put 2 and 2 together. I know you're only in 7th grade. I am too, so that's no excuse. From now on, so you know, It's "GRIND". She'll show you how to GRIND. Sheesh. Amateurs! OK, I wasn't that mean to her, but our time spent on the bus was never quite the same.

7) Around the World in a Day: "Tambourine"

8) Under the Cherry Moon: "Kiss", of course. "Girls & Boys" is right up there, though.

9) Sign 'O the Times: Picking one favorite from this is impossible. Forget about his musical ability being off the charts, this 2-cd set proves that he is a freaking lyrical genius. I could put this on repeat for days. Sidenote: The first 20 seconds of "Housequake" is a great song to blast if you have loud neighbors.

10) The Black Album: "When 2 R in Love"

11) Lovesexy: "Alphabet Street"

12) Batman (soundtrack): "The Arms of Orion" (duet with Sheena Easton. Sheena! Easton!) and "Trust"

13 Graffiti Bridge (various artist soundtrack): "We Can Funk" (Prince with George Clinton)

14) Diamonds & Pearls: "Willing and Able"

15) The Love Symbol: "Blue Light/I Wanna Melt with You"

16) Come: "Space"

17) The Gold Experience: "319"

18) Chaos & Disorder (the last album with Warner Bros before severing the ties, AKA outtakes): "The Same December"

19) Emancipation (3-cd set that celebrated his being no longer contractually obligated): "Joint to Joint". The incomparable Savion Glover tap dances in the middle of this thing!

20) Rave unto the Joy Fantastic: My least played Prince CD. "Tangerine" gets a thumbs up.

21) Musicology: "Musicology"

22) 3121: "Black Sweat"

There, that should get you started with your own Prince mix tape. Before you know it boys, you'll be driving a purple car with PRNC FAN or PRPL 1 on the licence plate, and I bet you'll like wearing high heeled boots. Ok, maybe that last one was going a bit too far, but you should give him a listen sometime, whether you're wearing heels or not.

Prince discography


Melissa said...

Oh, Prince and Joni Mitchell, two of my favs. I can see I'm off to pull a CD and put some tunes on the iPod...thanks for the reminder!!

Bobby C. said...

I was listening to Prince's version of this on my iPhone this afternoon and wanted to see the lyrics of the song and came across your blog. As a long time Prince fan (since high school in 1984-- heard his songs from 1999 on the radio before then but it was When Doves Cry from Purple Rain that got me hooked for life). I like the song selections you put especially the inclusion of Head and I Wanna B Ur Lover! 2 funky! Peace n b wild! :)