dirty martini

old music for new people

who influenced prince? July 13, 2008

we always talk about artists who we believe are inspired by prince, but less so on who originally inspired his purpleness.

prince has pretty much created a recognisable sound of his own but there are elements of many artists of the 60s and 70s.

we don’t need an excuse to post about prince here at dirtymartini:

a post of prince duets, featuring beyonce, angie stone, madonna to name a few

a post of 2007/8 tracks that sounds some suspiciously like prince

the perfect prince set list, inspired by the o2 tour

some more tracks that bit off a huge chunk of purple greatness

recent and not so recent examples of how a little purple goes a long way

some rare prince tracks that everyone should own

the many artists who owe some success to prince

my first ever post was a homage to the vault of unreleased prince tracks

 

download here

chaka khan – sweet thing

curtis mayfield – tripping out

david bowie – life on mars

delfonics – what’s your sign

earth wind and fire – would you mind

george clinton – atomic dog

graham central station – mirror

james brown – get up offa that thing

jimi hendrix – foxy lady

joni mitchell – big yellow taxi

mavis staples – chocolate city

ohio players – sweet sticky thing

rick james – mary jane

santana – evil ways

sly and the family stone – if it were left up to me

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i can’t believe it’s not prince September 22, 2007

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oh yes, this is a sequel. there are definitely more than one post’s worth of prince jackers.

download here

alexander o’neal – innocent

well, alex was in a band, flyte time, with prince in the 70s. so it’s natural that their sounds would evolve similarly. especially with jam and lewis on production duties. i heard something about alex being spotted on kilburn high road looking confused last week. wtf if a soul legend doing on kilburn high road? shopping in primark?

cassie – me and you

no she can’t sing, especially not live, but the general consensus is that she’s getting away with it cos she has hot beats courtesy of er, her man ryan leslie. this sparse track is ‘kiss’ for the 00s. but not as good, obviously.

damage – ghetto romance

a very turn of the century sounding track from the boys and i’m not sure why it reminds me of prince exactly but i want to include it so…here it is.

janet jackson – if

in your face funk. janet, like prince, was never afraid to use rock in her production. she was also never afraid to tell it like it is which is probably they were my two favourite artists of the 80s. this track is every bit as hectic as ‘my name is prince’ which was out just a bit earlier.

karyn white – hungah

karyn’s earlier efforts were 80s machine funk and new jack swing respectively but for her third album she stripped her sound down somewhat.

mario vasquez – cohiba

the first time i saw mario on american idol i thought he had the potential to perform like prince, if not to be such an all rounder.  i’m not sure why this project has stalled…

natural selection – do anything

well this track fooled me the first time i heard it. the call and response chorus is very ‘erotic city’ and the beat is like a slowed down ‘extra loveable’.

nicole scherzinger – steam

there are no shortage of prince-style beats in 2007, which is just as well as nicole isn’t interesting enough without them. i’m not sure what all the fuss is about here. this will be another flop due to deluded self-belief that she’s as interesting on her own.

paula abdul – my love is for real

after cartoon cats and ethereal ballads, paula’s third album tried to channel prince and probably was more credible although not at all a success. her vocals are the problem. i find it incredible that she now judges others and that simon cowell has managed not point out the irony.

ryan leslie – rock u

to me, most of next selection’s beats are an attempt to recreate the buzz around early 80s prince. are ryan and cassie the new prince and vanity? probably, which is proof of the decline in quality and talent in the music industry.

spl2rge – scuse me

bear with me on this one – if prince had been born in london not minneapolis, twenty five years later, this is the kind of music he would have been making.

teedra moses – backstroke

well, teedra lies about her age but she does make decent music. this is very 90s prince.

 

prince’s protegees – sharing the magic May 7, 2007

its a common misconception that all of prince‘s protegees were:

  1. short – and i do mean short, as in shorter than prince, who is a certified dwarf
  2. female – prince had so many associates, it wasn’t really necessary for him to be able to sleep with all of them…

we need to make a distinction here. prince wrote and produced for many artists but these are those whose success he can legitimately claim as partly his own.

its difficult to say whether or not they could have been successful without him, most were launched as ‘prince‘s latest project’. but their music is so much an extension of his own that it’s literally like discovering a whole new prince back catalogue. as is the man wasn’t prolific enough already…

also check out some rare prince, some even rarer prince and some dubious attempts to jack his style

ten artists who pretty much owe prince their careerdownload here

vanity 6 – undress me – 1982
originally named ‘the hookers’, the group wisely vetoed prince’s idea that they should perform in lingerie and heels. fronted by his then-girlfriend denise matthews, their biggest hit was ‘nasty girl’ in 1982.

apollonia 6 – blue limousine – 1984

after rows with prince led to lead vanity 6 member denise matthews fleeing paisley park, patricia kotero stepped in and the project became apollonia 6. they only released one album, and still didn’t wear much.


jill jones – violet blue – 1987

former back up singer to teena marie, she was recruited to provide backup vocals for the 1999 album. her debut album in 1987, written and produced by the man himself, received rave reviews and now sells on ebay for several hundred dollars.

mazarati – strawberry lover – 1984

originally given one of prince‘s biggest hits ‘kiss ‘to record, as soon as he heard it he kept it for himself. if only he’d done the same with tom jones. they managed to make off with an album’s worth though and had brief success in the mid 80s.

sheena easton – sugar walls – 1984

reality tv isn’t actually a new phenomenon, especially search for a star type programming. in 1980, sheena, then 21, was followed in her attempts to gain a record contract. after landing one, she soon decamped to the US and after some dodgy country music attempts, regained her senses and hooked up with prince in 1984. this track was banned by some stations – an interesting development for sheena but something prince had become a veteran of by this point.

wendy and lisa – satisfaction – 1989

originally part of ‘the revolution’ one of prince‘s earlier backing bands. they doubtless learnt a lot form touring and working with prince but in fact, achieved their success alone. the girls felt underappreciated and rebelled, leading to prince firing them in 1986, interrupting and delaying work that would become the ‘sign of the times’ album. they parlayed their industry expertise and talent into several successful albums, most notably ‘fruit at the bottom’ in 1989.

taja sevelle – love is contagious – 1987

taja joined paisley park in 1987 at the age of 25, and became instantly successful with this track, a worldwide hit. despite going on to sell many albums, she promptly disappeared, re-emerging a decade later with a radically different sound and image, now favouring indie twanging and tori amos style wild and unkempt image. hmmvery alternative (yawn)…

morris day and time – 777-9311 – 1984

a former classmate of prince and the remainders of the group flyte time who had a decent amount of success and exposure throughout the 80s. morris, who went solo in 1984, almost stole the show in under the cherry moon. this exaggerated persona was evident throughout his musical catalogue. like prince, he tried and failed to manage his own girl band, the day z’s. tlc paid homage when they covered the morris day and time track ‘get it up’ for 1993’s poetic justice soundtrack.

sheila e – a love bizarre – 1985
multi-talented instrumentalist sheila escovedo first collaborated with jazz bassist alphonso johnson in 1976 when she was just 18. soon after she met prince and he took her under his wing. she had several hit albums and appeared in the 1985 movie krush groove with ll cool j and blair underwood. lucky girl. she also appeared on the beyonce track ‘work it out’. and had to dodge lots of flying weave.

elisa fiorillo – on the way up – 1990

i didn’t know much about this girl except that she sang with jellybean and dated jordan knight of nkotb at some point. grr. apparently, she won star search at age 14 in 1983 and is mostly a back up singer.

 

miss jackson if you’re nasty April 17, 2007

ok, let’s get this out of the way first. janet jackson is not the best singer in the industry. but the standard appears to have now been set by artists who employ rampant melisma and the technically brilliant yet incredibly unappealing christina aguilera.

janet‘s breakthrough was in 1986 with the ‘control’ album produced by jimmy jam and terry lewis, previously members of prince‘s group, flyte time. no vocal gymnastics necessary, this album was anchored by janet‘s confident delivery and the precedent set by electro funk/soul such as shannon‘s ‘let the music play’ and cherrelle‘s ‘i didn’t mean to turn you on’.

the album was short – 8 tracks – but it was a crash course in being a young woman in 1986 and beyond. female assertion at a time when destiny’s child were trying to colour inside the lines at elementary school (subject to age verification, cough). janet instructed young girls to take control, cut family ties, kick your boyfriend into touch and make him wait for it.these were ideas that resonated with my pre-teen group, and even more so with the teenage community, who appreciated further reinforcement of the guidance from girls’ magazines like just seventeen and mizz on dealing with sex. in 1986, the media didn’t dare portray 12 year old girls getting pregnant and carrying on happily with their lives in the way coronation street and eastenders would have us believe is possible in recent years. they put out messages about safe sex and waiting until you were older, because society had a spiralling aids epidemic to combat before it even dealt with teenage mums. janet, in her own way, made it cool to say no.

hmm. twenty years ago, no one went online to find that 21 year old janet was in the process of divorcing first husband james debarge, whom she had married at 18. i’ve listened to the ‘control’ album differently since the 2005 claims that they in fact had a baby during their short marriage. back then, you got your info from magazines like smash hits and the one-off interview with parky or terry wogan, and so precious few people even realised she had been married.

of course, its entirely possible that some of the bitterness and icy resolve that made ‘control’ such a great album was a reflection of the fact that janet‘s first two albums, released in 1982 and 1984, flopped. actually they contained some great tracks but failed to inspire, the first merely reflecting the waning disco sound and the second lyrically damper but equally funky as ‘control’, let down by an ill-advised duet with cliff richard. yes, that’s cliff richard.

by the time janet followed up her successs with ‘rhythm nation 1814’ in 1989, social consciousness was the order of the day and this album’s title track remains the only credible plea for unity to date. almost making up for several self-indulgent cheesefests unleashed by her brother.

in the 90s she trod the safer, summery r&b route, to great effect, then lost her way slightly in the 00s by failing to live up to the standards she set for herself. however, in today’s gossip and scandal obsessed culture, surfacing rumours of an 80s baby with then teenage husband james debarge and that wardrobe malfunction have ensured her profile remains high regardless.

and you know you want to look that good when you hit 40. so here is some lesser known janet, enjoy!

top 10 lesser known janet tracksdownload here

making love in the rain
the first collaboration with jazz artist herb alpert released in 1987 , this is a sultry chillout track in a similar vein to ‘funny how time flies’.

diamonds
the second, and better known herb alpert track, following a similar path to the upbeat ‘control’ numbers.

he doesn’t know i’m alive
quintessentially 80s and often overlooked ‘control’ track. ok yes, i used to sing this into a hairbrush.

one more chance
1993 b side to ‘if’ from the ‘janet‘ era. probably left off due to the proliferation of slow jams making the album.

pretty boy
cool electro funk from the 1984 ‘dream street’ album. production-wise, a preview to things to come.

don’t mess up this good thing
janet was too young, and jumped on too late to be a disco pioneer. but this standout track from her self titled debut in 1982 was a taste of what might have been.

where are you now
mid-tempo remix of a melancholy ‘janet‘ track, made sunnier for the ‘janet:remixed’ album by nellee hooper.

70s love groove
janet:remixed’ track originally on the ‘you want this’ single. similar to ‘any time, any place’.

you need me
included on the re-released cassette version of ‘rhythm nation 1814’. a ‘miss you much’ clone (never a bad thing).

accept me
mid-tempo grower released as a b side to ‘every time’ from ‘the velvet rope’.