“Welcome 2 America” takes latest glance at coveted Prince Vault materials

Courtesy of Google Images

The Prince Estate recently announced their latest foray into unveiling more of the legendary rocker’s treasure trove of unreleased creative material. Entitled Welcome 2 America and due out in July, the 12-track LP (recorded in 2010) was initially slated to accompany a then-ongoing tour of the same name. However, for reasons known only to the artist himself, Welcome 2 America was scrapped; bound instead to gather dust on the shelves of the much-spoken-of Prince Vault.

Until now. 

The lead single (and title track) is perhaps at first listen not the type of promotional introduction one would typically expect. The 5+ minute funky slink plays almost like jazz club improvisation, with Prince providing a spoken monologue against the gorgeous vocals of trio Shelby J, Elisa Dease, and Liv Warfield. Lyrically, the single confronts themes like the dangers of escalating technology, endless greed amongst the aristocrats, and oppressive societal rule, issues that have only grown worse and more toxic since Prince wrote and spoke these words to tape. 

That seems to tap into the broader mindset of where this posthumous album will dwell. To quote the Estate’s Welcome 2 America press release:

“(The album is) a powerful creative statement that documents Prince’s concerns, hopes and visions for a shifting society, presciently foreshadowing an era of political division, disinformation, and a renewed fight for racial justice”

This certainly isn’t new territory for His Royal Badness, as his albums Purple Rain and Sign O’ The Times most famously highlighted themes including fears of nuclear war, the AIDS crisis, and trying to survive while the world is falling to pieces. Even Prince’s final studio album Hit n Run Phase Two opens with “Baltimore”, a rock’d up ode for peace following the 2015 death of 25-year old Black man Freddie Gray at the hands of Baltimore police officers.

So it seems appropriate that even from beyond the grave Prince has more statements to make that fit into the mood of our modern times. And while I have pondered at length just what he might have thought of his Estate releasing this recording and several others since his passing in 2016, the facts are these: Prince put no plans in place for the future of his creative works and didn’t seem to care what might happen to it all.

As a result, I just want to hear the music. Ordinarily I seek to respect the wishes of the artist and creator first and foremost, but with no knowledge of that and the mythical whisper of the Prince Vault coming to call… its time to just enjoy these little musical feasts as the treat that they are.

Prince was a once in a lifetime talent; hearing more his thought process in this world is a good thing.

Courtesy of Google Images

Bowie first demo found in bread basket

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Not exactly a headline I imagined writing, yet here we are. Per this article and image via The Guardian, one of the earliest recordings of David Bowie singing with his first band The Konrads recently resurfaced. Evidently, a former Konrad rediscovered the demo of the 16-year old then-aspiring saxophonist singing the tune “I Never Dreamed” in an old bread box when moving back home.

First of all, finding anything of a value in a bread box that isn’t disgusting, rotten bread (especially with the magnitude of a Bowie tape), seems like the most adorably fun, totally British situation I can possibly imagine. All the story really lacks is that typical UK rogue’s charm and charisma, AKA: actor Colin Firth.

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You see what I mean. I can’t make fun though. Discoveries with historical value like this dazzle to my eye like shiny Spanish galleons from long-lost pirate ships. The concept of mythical areas like Prince’s Paisley Park vaults and wherever Ryan Adams stores his years of insane, unheard material creates the same effect. And to just have that hanging out in your house? It’s like finding a Honus Wagner baseball card being used as a bookmark in a copy of The Boxcar Children.

Wagner Honus T206 card-sm

The Bowie demo’s expected to fetch just over $13,000 US dollars at auction. Sadly not an expense I could ever afford, but may it hopefully find a good home to continue its unique little place in the musical timeline!

Reading this story also made me think back to Paul McCartney’s recent appearance on James Corden’s Carpool Karaoke and some of the oral history they explored around Liverpool. A lovely segment if you haven’t given it a viewing. Seeing this talisman of young Bowie just beginning to draw the line of his career is much like the scenes they show of the home where McCartney first wrote songs with John Lennon.

At the end of the day, its just wonderful to know these places and items still exist.

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