Prince Lotusflow3r (2009) ...One of the greatest songs in Prince's expansive catalog finds a home on Lotusflow3r, his 2009 release that was part of a triple-album set (with Bria Valente's debut, and his own MPLSound). Colonized Mind is a rocking slow builder that smolders with Prince's guitar before turning into a sizzle through the combustion of Michael Bland's live drums (I confirmed Michael B. is on drums through the fabulous website, PrinceVault.com). Prince is so talented and so versatile that picking any one style as a favorite in his repertoire is borderline impossible. But... If i had to, I would argue that Prince is never better than when he plays with a drummer of the caliber of Michael Bland, and a bass player with the chops of Sonny T. Colonized Mind is THAT song where all the best elements of the energy of this power-trio meld into perfection. The album, similarly, has an 'out-of-this-world' cover of Crimson and Clover where Prince's guitar solo is among his best ever. We also really dig the songs 4ever, and Love Like Jazz. LotusFlow3r
Chuckii Booker "Niice-N-Wiild"(1992)...So
many people slept on this one. Chuckii served up one of the funkiest projects
of the nineties with Niice N Wiild. This
multitalented musician/vocalist came with a well thought-out album. The
theme of the CD - despite what the title hints - is that, love heals. "With all My Heart"
is a mid-tempo sizzler with Chuckii reminding, via funky walkie-talkie rap,
that "Love is Medicine" - The first five tracks blend perfectly
together. ..."Games" is a moody, slow, head-nodder, that flows
- showing off Booker as guitar man. ..."The Soul Trilogy" - 3
ferociously funky tracks that run together pay homage to TheJBs - proving that today's "cats" can get loose without a 'click track'.
If you like James Brown - you'll love this! ...Bass player extrordinare, Derek 'DOA' Allen is so funky on "Love is Medicine" and
"Soul Trilogy" that one wonders where he got his funk from.Niice N' Wiild
Eric Benet "True
to Myself" (1996) ...Eric Benet. Eric Benet's debut solo album, "True to Myself",
is a favorite that has lasting power. Milwaukee's Benet
is a soulful jazzy vocalist that centers his powerful yet smooth voice in
arrangements that recall the complexities of the great Leon Sylvers III.
The music is decidedly gospel, soul, blues, and funk. The album opens with
the title track; a liberating tune written by Benet and his cousin George
Nash Jr. The Sly Stone classic, If You Want Me to Stay, is incredibly
funky. Produced by the late, Roger Troutman (Zapp), this unrelenting
bass thumper leaves your upper lip crooked. Benet, Nash and Demonte'
combine their writing, and production abilities on "Let's Stay Together".
Again vocals dominate as Benet is lead and background, multitracked to show
off his perfect pitch. Laced with many songs that to me are the benchmark
for songwriting in this era, this CD will make you groove, move, and feel
the entire way. "Femininity", and "Spiritual Thing"
will stand the test of time. The bass playing credit on Femininity is given
to Skeeta, and Rio. It is perfect. ...You might cry during
"While You Were Here". The song tells the story of Eric's sudden
single parenthood. His girlfriend and mother of his child Tami Marie
Stauff, was killed in an auto accident. The song is sung to Tami, assuring
her that Eric will care for their 15 month old child India.
Before the gift of clarity.
We pay the price of misery.
Why? Please tell me why?
Thing follows, bringing some much needed good vibes. This single received
some airplay but not as much as it deserves. Whoever you play this song
for will dig it. The trio of Benet, Nash, and Demonte' has something special
together, no doubt. True to Myself
Prince and the Revolution"Purple
absolute classic! Who doesn't know the words to Darling Nikki? Actually,
I could tell you exactly where I was when I first heard "When Doves
Cry". Prince was IT in 1984 and this record hit on the heels
of a bigger than huge buzz from Prince's previous release "1999".
The world was ready for whatever Prince had to offer. And he knew it. The
mix on Purple Rain ranges from straight Rock N Roll on "Let's
Go Crazy" to Dance/Funk - "Baby I'm a Star", to pure pop on
"Take Me With U" and the title track. Prince's self-assured confidence
on vocals reached a new height in "The Beautiful Ones" - a ballad
that is sung with a passion uncontested. Music from the Motion Picture "Purple Rain"
The Revolution "Around
The World in a Day" (1985) ...The
follow up to Purple Rain certainly wasn't what anyone was expecting from Prince. Around The World in a Day came with super songs, "Pop
Life", "Raspberry Beret", and "Condition
of the Heart". Stubborn folk, wanting for what's already been sold,
were thrown off by the finger-cymbals and eastern sounds that Prince was
toying with at the time. "Paisley Park", and the title track,
were a departure from the R&B, FUNK, and Funky Rock N Roll that had
charcterized Prince's previous LPs. The LP was, however, another step in
the progression of Prince as an "artist". You could still find
the funk on "Tamborine" - a nasty, bass-driven tune, sung falsetto
by Prince. Around the World in a Day