A MOUTHFUL OF PENNIES PRESENTS: THE BEAUTIFUL ONE

If you dig the mix then please feel free to pass & post it along; if you dig The Artist then please support him and go out and pick up some of his stuff. 

[link in comments]

“Albums — remember those? Albums still matter. Albums, like books and black lives, still matter.”

—  –   ————-______________ O(+>

the beautiful one cvr

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A MOUTHFUL OF PENNIES PRESENTS: THE BEAUTIFUL ONE
  • For You – [from For You] [1978]
  • The Beautiful Ones – [from Purple Rain] [1984]
  • The Question Of U – [from Graffiti Bridge] [1990]
  • Erotic City – [ B-side to the 1984 single “Let’s Go Crazy” released on Girl 6] [1996]
  • New Position/I Wonder U/Under The Cherry Moon – [from Parade] [1986]
  • 3121/D.M.S.R. [Live] – [from Indigo Nights] [London 2007]
  • Joint 2 Joint – [from Emancipation] [1996]
  • The Ballad Of Dorothy Parker – [from Sign O’ The Times] [1987]
  • Papa – [from Come] [1994]
  • Segue – [from Rave Un2 The Joy Fantastic] [1999]
  • Count The Days – [from Exodus [1995] by The New Power Generation released on Girl 6 ][1996]
  • Dark – [from Come] [1994]
  • The Work Pt.1 – [from The Rainbow Children] [2001]
  • Colonized Mind – [from LOtUSFLOW3R] [2009]
  • The Marrying Kind/If Eye Was The Man In Ur Life/On The Couch – [from Musicology] [2004]
  • An Honest Man – [Parade outtake recorded in 1985, released on Crystal Ball] [1998]
  • Adore – [from Sign O’ The Times]

Hello All! Those that know me know that there were three living artists that mean the world to me: David Bowie, Prince, and Bob Dylan. Thus far 2016 is turning out to be a rough year.

I’ve been hesitating to post the following; despite Prince’s sudden and shocking death I remain terrified that the purple stiletto heel of his legal department will come down on my blog and shut it down (which is why I so rarely post Prince tunes).  However, I wanted to share something to help celebrate a man whose entire artistic output was truly a celebration of the creative act and of life itself.

Only an artist as audacious and idiosyncratic as Prince could so seductively urge you to disregard all falsely imposed limits, to feel how you honestly feel, love how you honestly love, and “get off until you make the house shake/Shake your body ’til your neighbors stare at cha!” As Tom Hawking poignantly put it, “Prince was the opposite of death.” Prince’s music was alive; while deceit, instituted distortions of identities, and apathetic hearts are all only spiritual death.

As he sings on the 2001 LP The Rainbow Children (which despite its less than enthusiastic reception by critics has long been one of my favorites for its dynamic experimentation with jazz and its hallowed, optimistic view of the human race):

Every time I watch “The Other People News”
I c a false picture of myself, another one of u
They try 2 tell us what we want, what 2 believe
Didn’t that happen in the Garden
When somebody spoke 2 Eve?

And then Prince declares in his confident and funky falsetto:

But I’m willing 2 do The Work!

And how could he not follow with the obvious question:

Tell me now – what about u?

A great deal of this work for him, of course, was his music.

Although it seemed like an impossible task–as this tribute mixtape here is but a handful of my favorite tracks throughout the years by this genius–I do hope you enjoy the hell out of it and that it illustrates a bit of what I’m talking about. As Prince himself said at a phenomenal 2 & 1/2+ hour concert I attended: “so many hits, so little time.”

PRINCE (HAT WITH CHAINS) PHOTO BY HERB RITTS (1991)

The man was one of a kind. To me his music and personality was so singular, yet of a universal soul. As he says in “For You,” his work was created “with love, sincerity and deepest care.”

Prince also had such a wonderful sense of humor and a whimsical flavor. That is the resource behind much of his albums like the (unreleased) The Black Album and lines sung in such splendid melodies like “Ain’t no particular sign I’m more compatible with/I just want your extra time and your…Kiss” or when he pleads to his woman not to leave him to sleep on the couch with, “Its so undignified to sleep alone/Oh yes it is/That’s what all the people Ain’t got nobody do.”

Only Prince could come up with a song as odd, tender, and earnest as “The Ballad Of Dorothy Parker” where the lessons learned by the act of listening to Joni Mitchell while taking a bubble bath with a stranger (during which he insists that he keep his pants on in the tub as he’s “kind of going with someone”) can help improve his sour mood when he has to return to “a violent room” where he was “fightin’ with lovers past.” With its peculiar narrative I hold that tune to be amongst the sweetest and most genuine ever created, and so I paste the lyrics below so that you may read along when the mix spins that up:

Dorothy was a waitress on the promenade
She worked the night shift
Dishwater blonde, tall and fine
She got a lot of tips

Well, earlier I’d been talkin’ stuff in a violent room
Fightin’ with lover’s past
I needed someone with a quicker wit than mine
Dorothy was fast

Well, I ordered – “Yeah, let me get a fruit cocktail, I ain’t to hungry”
Dorothy laughed
She said – “It sound like a real man to me (you’re kinda cute)
You’re kinda cute, you wanna take a bath?” (Do you wanna, do you wanna?) … Bath?

Oh, I said – “Cool, but I’m leavin’ my pants on (What you say?)
Cuz I’m kinda goin’ with someone”
She said – “Sound like a real man to me
Mind if I turn on the radio?”

“Oh, my favorite song,” she said
And it was Joni singing, “Help me, I think I’m falling”
(Drring) The phone rang and she said
“Whoever’s calling can’t be as cute as you”
Right then and there I knew I was through (Dorothy Parker was cool)

Well

My pants were wet, they came off
But she didn’t see the movie cuz she hadn’t read the book first

Instead she pretended she was blind
An affliction brought on by a witch’s curse
Dorothy made me laugh (ha ha, ha ha)
I felt much better so I went back to the violent room
(Tell us what you did, what you did) Let me tell you what I did

I took another bubble bath with my pants on
All the fighting stopped
Next time I’ll do it sooner
This is the ballad of Dorothy Parker
(Dorothy Parker, Dorothy Parker, Dorothy Parker)
Dorothy Parker, Dorothy Parker, Dorothy Parker

Well
Dorothy Parker, Dorothy Parker
Well
Oh

Only Prince could create something as painfully sincere, weird, traumatic and yet somehow still so funky as “Papa,” where a cruel father crucifies all the dandelions before he beats on his four year old child, points a shotgun up in the sky and screams in anguish “How come I don’t love my woman?”…but then Prince warns: “Don’t abuse children, or else they turn out like me.”

And then here he reminds you what his music has always been about–the joy to be had in life–by concluding that song with uptempo fuzzfunk and:

Fair 2 partly crazy, deep down we’re all the same
Every single 1 of us knows some kind of pain
In the middle of all that’s crazy, this 1 fact still remains
If u love somebody, your life won’t be in vain
And there’s always a rainbow, at the end of every rain!

Prince was certainly enigmatic but he would always look you directly in the eye. He boldly declared to hell with all your labels with the words: I’m not a woman. I’m not a man. I am something that you’ll never understand/I’m not your lover. I’m not your friend. I am something that you’ll never comprehend. 

In both subject matter and composition, no one wrote songs quite like Prince! I really believe that Prince was the most proficient musician of our lifetime, but no matter what style (and he flirted with and mutated them all) he always exercised a true economy to his songs: every note or absence served a purpose. Although he could likely school anyone on guitar, chief among his instruments in my opinion was the voice, which I think this mix illustrates well with the gorgeous and just stunning vocal interplay to be heard in tracks like “Dark,” “Count the Days,” “Adore,” and the glorious “The Beautiful Ones.” (He opened the show I attended with this last number, as the phenomenal Misty Copeland performed a ballet atop his purple piano!)

There was such an extraordinary amount of talent packed into his 5ft 2in frame. As he says with self-deprecation in the funky and funny monologue “Bob George” (a song I had so hoped to squeeze into this mix) Prince was “that skinny motherfucker with the high voice.” Yet, let’s face it this little weirdo in purple was one sexy motherfucker as well!

Prince had plenty of confidence and little hang-ups. That’s one thing I’ve always loved about listening to his music, he was telling you that there was a true spirituality to celebrating this thing called life with “dance, music, sex, romance” or “D.M.S.R.” His former tour manager Alan Leeds was recently quoted as saying “For him the love of God and the sexual urges we feel are one and the same somehow. For him it all comes from the same root inside a human being. God planted these urges and it’s never wrong to feel that way. The urge itself is a holy urge.”

Or as Touré (author of I Would Die 4 U: Why Prince Became an Icon) put it: “[…] for him there was no need to separate the things we do on Saturday night from the things we do on Sunday morning.”

Plato said: Eros leads to Gnosis. As I recently read on the website, plotinus, Eros should be seen as:

[…] a liberating agent who releases and activates the creative process of the mind. Eros inspires and opens the channel of intuition to the higher and abstract understanding and communion with beauty and truth. The myth of Eros and Psyche describes in detail the inner process of transformation. In fact, Eros cannot be separated from his beloved Psyche, since they are united by a secret and sacred bond, invisible and unconscious in man. In fact, man’s psyche remains filled with erotic, sensual, carnal desires that keep him and his mind trapped on the physical plane along with his emotions and consciousness. But a seeker must transmute the attraction of Eros and awaken the bond with his psyche so that he can rise towards the “beloved,” the invisible golden thread that links his consciousness to the universal qualities of beauty and love.

The gifts of Eros affect the emotional and thought processes of humanity, especially those of a seeker who has to learn how to open up and integrate these gifts in his psyche. From the lowest and most physical levels of consciousness to the most spiritual ones, Eros remains forever present, gradually transforming the inner fire into pure light. Eros operates in every living creature, and Greek poetry and philosophy describe how nature partakes of the gift of Eros. Hence we could say that Eros’ contribution to humanity is not only inherent in man’s psyche, but that it is also involved in the process that awakens the ego to its true nature, the beauty and unconditional love of the soul.

Eros implies a yearning for unity, harmony, and completion.

illustration by Ulla Pugaard

Yes, most of Prince’s work was concerned with sex, but then again most of it was concerned with spirituality as well. These seem to be things he had no trouble reconciling. Yes, by others’ standards and ethics he was vulgar. Remember it was Prince’s music (“Darling Nikki” and its reference to female masturbation in particular) that was used by Mary “Tipper” Gore and her Parents Music Resource Center (PMRC) as an example of unsuitable content when pushing for the use of a Parental Advisory label for recorded music.  However, with Prince the erotic might be visceral, explicit, but it was rarely truly crude or misogynist. When it came to women (and God) he was always seeking to find “the answer to the question of u.” He adored and respected women and felt a sense of wonder in their presence. Particularly Prince respected women as artists and for their intelligence. He respected and acknowledged female sexuality. Prince wanted to make love with them; Prince wanted to fuck them. Like he says to the woman in question in the eight minute epic “Joint 2 Joint”: “You’re making me proud to be a human being.”

That is not negated by his lustful follow through and the come-on:

And if we’re ever naked in the same machine/I’m gonna lick it, baby, joint 2 joint

Porochista Khakpour just published an eloquent essay for the Village Voice concerning Prince’s relation to women in which she writes:

These weren’t women as I saw them all over that era’s hair metal or even hip-hop — accessories in the forms of dates or flings, burdens ranging from fiancée to divorcée. What I saw was Prince seeing women as collaborators, co-workers; they were essential in art and life, and creators in every sense of the word.

[…]

These women were not arm candy. They weren’t draped over him; they weren’t flanking him like magician’s girls. If anything, Prince was the sex object, the candy. The women were something else […].

 

 

Above all, what I love about listening to his work is that yes he wanted you to believe he is a sexy motherfucker, but I think he wanted you the listener–no matter what or who you are–to fully appreciate that yeah you’re a sexy motherfucker too!

Can I talk to you?
Tell you what you mean to me
Every time you wander
I’ll be your eyes so you can see
I wanna show you things
That I never showed no other, I wanna be
More than your mother
More than your brother
I wanna be like no other
If you need me, I’ll never leave
I know, that you know, without you there is no me
There is no me
Without you there is no sea
There is no shore

Love is too weak to define how much I adore
You
The last words you hear

Be with me darlin’ til the end of all time
I’ll give you my heart
I’ll give you my mind
I’ll give you my body
I’ll give you my time
For all time I am with you

You are with me?

R.I.P.

____________________BOBBY CALERO_______________

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