Happy 10th Anniversary to Bababooey’s Pitch

Anything Else, Robin?

It’s a strange phenomena, one that usually happens when, as this morning, I wake up early (7 a.m. this morning) and then return to bed for a bit more sleep, putting on The Howard Stern Show to lull me.

What happens is, the show enters my dreams. So I’m dreaming I’m hanging out with Howard, Robin, Fred, and Bababooey. This morning, I dreamed we were all around a big table, and Howard was presenting weird food to the rest of us. And, for some reason, I thought of what I thought was a very funny joke.

“Passover Junior!” I exclaimed.

Do not ask me to explain the joke. In my dream, it was hilarious.

But here’s the thing about when this happens: When I’m dreaming the show, I don’t have a voice.

Because while the dream is going on, the Show that’s playing on the radio is driving the dream. I’m seeing Howard and the gang in my dream and I’m there with them, but their conversation is coming from the radio, which does not interact with the me in my dream.

This morning, my reaction was to repeat the joke, louder.

“PASSOVER JUNIOR!” I yelled.

Then the dreaming me crossed my arms.

And then I woke up.

I THINK I FINALLY UNDERSTAND THE APPEAL OF EIGHT O’CLOCK COFFEE

“This is for why I wasn’t born like my brother, handsome and tall”

This line, from the previously mentioned song “Lady Cab Driver,” likely refers to Prince’s half-brother Duane Nelson, who in their high school days was on the basketball and football teams and actually became related to Prince when he was 14 and his father remarried. Ronin Ro writes that people in high school always felt Duane had Prince’s back. Duane would later go on to head up security at Paisley Park but would later become estranged. He died in 2013. More on Nelson at that time from the famous C.J.

Apologies for the random fact. I’ve picked up Ro’s Inside the Music and the Masks again. And you might imagine how excited I am by the Prince news that a new release is forthcoming in June. Yeah, well, I’m not, and I don’t think I’m the only Prince fan who is somewhat underwhelmed.

So when Prince gave an artist a song, he would hand them a tape. He would have done at least most of the tracks, the rhythm, the melodies, and the vocals. He pretty much expected the artist to deliver the track as originally conceived. Sometimes, as was the case for “A Love Bizarre,” for example, Prince’s guide vocals stayed on the track.

June’s upcoming release is those.

So, let’s recap. Since April 2016, they have released a deluxe Purple Rain, with many extras but no real effort to produce it; two best-of collections; Piano and a Microphone 1983, which is basically demos and sound checks; and now Originals, which is a buncha more demos.

Folks: If The Vault doesn’t exist, just say so, okay?

The HitnRun phases are a perfectly great place to close out the catalog. They are wonderful recordings that I would place anywhere in the Prince universe regarding their excellence. He even seems to say a nonchalant “goodbye” at the end of Phase Two’s last track, “Big City.” It’s rather perfect. Just close the catalog and admit that there are no more Prince albums.

By the way, there is a pile of material Prince fans are clamoring for. Release the out-of-print Jill Jones. Release The Family. Release Dez Dickerson’s album. Release a deluxe Parade and include the 10-inch Mountains. Release a deluxe ATWIAD and include the 10-inch “Raspberry Beret.”

I mean not to get too negative, but I don’t really need Prince’s recording of “Dear Michaelangelo,” “Sex Shooter,” “Manic Monday,” or “The Glamorous Life.” And I have never cared and never will that he wrote a song for Kenny Rogers, so the “You’re My Love” demo isn’t high on my list, either. Mainly, though, I think this release delivers Prince fans a message: The Vault is a myth. There are no new Prince albums, and nor are there creative, innovative people in charge right now of whatever is there.

I don’t reckon I’ll be dashing over to the wrecka stow for this one.

Will You Accept My Tears To Pay The Fare?

I got my first copy of Prince’s 1999 album accidentally.

See, when I was a kid, they had this brilliant sales tactic called a “record club.” So you signed up, and then if you didn’t cancel an order, they sent you the record anyway. This was a brilliant selling tactic that probably should have been illegal. But as a result, one of the albums I ended up with was weird and purple and had a penis on it.

Face it. That “1” in 1999 is a phallus. It just is. Let’s move on.

I had a bias at the time, I have to admit. I mean I was what, 14? And I didn’t like this boom-boom music. So I accepted the record, but I didn’t listen to it, for a while. I just didn’t. Until, one day, I did. I think it’s because “Delirious” was on the radio. I got it out and listened to it.

And this song came on.

It was called “Lady Cab Driver.”

There is a drum beat, and Prince calling for a taxi. Funky guitar and bass. Then Prince regaling the “lady cab driver” and engaging her in light conversation but then begging her for relief via escape.

Then there are the clock-chimes and the water-blow noises. And the part where he’s f*ing that broad and giving her the what-for.

And what’s with that flute-synth sound ?

And then the traffic noises continue and we fade into “All The Critics Love You In New York”

and I

was instantly a Prince fan

and I always will be

U no what I’m talkin’ about.

*

The eighth performance in the film Sign O’ The Times is a drum solo by Sheila E. The “E” stands for “Escavedo.” Her father is Pete Escovedo, a renowned percussionist in his own right. Tito Puente was her godfather, and she is also auntie to a young lady you may have heard of called “Nicole Ritchie.” Sheila was romantically involved with Prince at one time and, I was stunned to learn, was also in a thing at one time with Carlos Santana. Yeah.

Her album, “In The Glamorous Life” was always one of my very favorite Prince albums.

But there is a moment in the middle of her drum solo I think about often, because it shows her to be one of the most terrifying drummers out there. During the solo, Sheila gets rid of her sticks and starts beating the cymbals with her hands.

I have never seen another drummer do this. To my knowledge, Mick Fleetwood never did this, nor did John Bonham, nor even Stumpy Joe Childs. This is a move it took a girl drummer to do. She is the fiercest drummer ever and don’t ever forget it.

*

Prince didn’t merely record albums. He forged worlds. And for a while, one could look forward to entering one of these worlds pretty much annually. I’ve spent a good amount of time at Paisley Park (it’s in your heart), and at Christopher Tracy’s Parade. I’ve been talking stuff in the Violent Room, and I have kept Vicky waiting. I was of the New Power Generation and wanted to change the world.

And, I have most certainly spent a lot of time experiencing a religious epiphany known as “Lovesexy.”

It was three years ago on a Thursday. I had taken April 22 off of work to drive to my Grandma’s house for her birthday with my Dad. I had taken a break to peek at my phone, and there were reports of a body found in Chanhassen. Later reports confirmed the body belonged to Prince. He had been found slumped over in an elevator, which I immediately found to have been horribly poetic.

Punch a higher floor.

Strangely, that weekend, I had to explain Prince to my 92-year-old grandmother. To explain to her how widely admired was the Dude Extraordinaire, I broke out the big comparison. What was it like, I asked her, when you lost Glenn Miller?

I watched Purple Rain every night for a week once I returned. I have since re-written it in my head because it is not a good movie. I have also since purchased and digested Art Official Age, PlectrumElectrum, and Hit and Run Phases One and Two. These, his last released works, would all sit comfortably next to anything he had ever done; they are that good, which I find to be the largest shame of his end. I think he was ready to unleash at least another decade’s worth of music on us.

Mary Don’t You Weep

With the litany of production credits that trails at the end of the “new” Aretha Franklin film Amazing Grace, it is an astonishing miracle that the film exists as it does, completely unadulterated. There is a brief text crawl that introduces the film, explaining why this rare and exceptional performance occurred, and then you are allowed to simply watch. There are no self-aggrandizing interviews, such as in The Last Waltz, for example. Nobody talks about what’s happening or attempts to shine light on the events. You just get to watch. And that is wonderful.

Franklin is brilliant as expected, but you’re also treated to one of the finest call-and-response partners there is, James Cleveland; not to mention the Southern California Community Choir. As Mr. Cleveland points out to the audience at one point, the project could have just been another studio effort by Franklin, but that the point of recording at the New Temple Missionary Baptist Church is to get audience reaction on the record, as well.

And hey. Mick Jagger and his friend Charlie Watts are in the audience as well. Because of course they are.

The film, captured on 16 mm film by filmmaker Sydney Pollack, could not originally be released because of a technical screw-up that prevented audio synchronization. Later techniques fixed this problem, but, I was sad to learn, Franklin sued to keep it from being screened. That’s a shame because it’s a film that shows her as a mighty powerful presence.

Amazing Grace is a joy for a music nerd like me. The only problems I had with it are that it made me want so badly to be in the room and that made this non-believer want to find a black Baptist church and sign up. Have you ever been to one of those services? I have. One of those might make Bob Ingersoll a believer.

Seriously, though: Amazing Grace is one of those things you will regret not having seen in the theater. It is a beautiful document, treated carefully and honorably by its caretakers. What a wonderful thing to get to experience.