That's a Groove, You Know?
September 24, 2020 1:43 PM   Subscribe

In the end, Sign O' The Times was a Frankenstein's monster, stitched together from the remains of three completed, but discarded albums: Dream Factory, Camille and the triple-disc Crystal Ball set. Now, 33 years on, Prince's estate is releasing an expanded version of Sign O' The Times which includes 45 unreleased tracks from the recording sessions. To get a better understanding of how it came together, here's a history of the record and its subsequent tour, featuring new and archive interviews from the musicians who were there, and some of Prince's most famous fans. Prince's Sign O' The Times: An oral history [BBC] posted by chavenet (12 comments total) 21 users marked this as a favorite
Related, from Quinn Moreland at Pitchfork: “What It Was Like to Be Prince’s Personal Photographer”
posted by Going To Maine at 2:08 PM on September 24, 2020 [3 favorites]

I watched the film a couple of months ago because pandemic and I stumbled on it channel-surfing. First time I'd seen it in 20 or 25 years and holy shit that band could throw down.

Thanks for this, chavenet.
posted by soundguy99 at 3:21 PM on September 24, 2020 [4 favorites]

Some of his best lyrics IMO. What would he have said about 2020? Ok going to read the links now.
posted by Coaticass at 4:05 PM on September 24, 2020 [1 favorite]

The Current 88.5 (Twin Cities, MN) also did an 8 part podcast about SOTT, in collaboration with the Prince Estate.

The Story of SOTT- Episode 1

FB Link announcing it
posted by gregglind at 4:12 PM on September 24, 2020 [1 favorite]

holy shit that band could throw down.

Like, that version of 'I could never take the place of ur man'? That one, right? Jeezus. I got to see him in L A when he did 30...SOLD OUT, dates in a row, for free, to raise money to upgrade the Coliseum (like tix weren't free, he did it for free. 30 shows.) He did that song...with Sheila E. ...I thought I died and went to heaven.
posted by sexyrobot at 5:56 PM on September 24, 2020 [5 favorites]

Saw Prince as a high school student in my not-very-big hometown on the Purple Rain tour. Camped out for 2 days to get tickets. Wonderful and amazing.

Now, about this particular release... I have thought that Sign O' The Times is the most bestest Prince album since the day I first heard it, and I continue to think that. I totally love this album. It is burned into my brain from repeat listenings just within the first 6 months of its release, but the thing is, I'm STILL listening to it several times a months even now, over 30 years after it came out.

So this new thing coming out is.... well, first of all, it's $160, so that's a bit of a gulp. ($300 if you wan vinyl. Holy shit!) But this set is astonishing. This is the kind of thing people have been waiting for to come out of that oh-so-famous Vault for so so so long. And to do it all, just gigantically like this (over 90 tracks, half of them never released before? Wow!) means they probably are NOT holding back. There won't be another release in 10 years with another 45 new studio tracks. (Well, there could be, this WAS Prince), but probably not.

So, it feels to me like I can get this thing, and then it will be the final time I'll purchase this album. And wow, what a thing to dig into! I'd LOVE to hear more SOTT-era Prince stuff!

Anyway, this whole post sort of made me a bit dizzy. Thank you! I had no idea this was coming, out!
posted by hippybear at 6:43 PM on September 24, 2020 [2 favorites]

That podcast is a part of the official Prince Podcast and it's available in podcast subscription format wherever you look for such things.

Thanks for that link. The first episode's first 15 minutes are great, I look forward to continuing to listen.
posted by hippybear at 10:55 PM on September 24, 2020 [1 favorite]

I have just driven to my local record shop where the SOTT Vinyl SDS has been on order since the second it was announced, and I've unboxed it at home but am not going to play it until I have a quiet few hours :)

We heard the album a few years ago on Classic Album Sundays in London on £50K worth of hifi and it showed that we hadn't missed anything, the original album master really was pretty low-fi, so while I am excited about the new material, I am WAY more excited that the remaster will be magical. I hope I'm not in for a massive letdown.

If you go to Mixcloud and hear the mind-blowing sonic quality of the SOTT rehearsals, you'll understand. Please please please just go and listen to the first fifteen seconds, honestly:

If the remaster's quality even comes anywhere vaguely near that, I will melt into a puddle of amino acids.
posted by bookbook at 6:12 AM on September 25, 2020 [1 favorite]

The CD box set is my partner's Candlenights present (he knows that's what he's getting). I'm pretty sure it's the best gift I'll ever buy him.
posted by minsies at 6:30 AM on September 25, 2020

The Purple Rain super deluxe edition (a much smaller but still excellent collection), has already more than tripled in value. Snatch this up now or have regrets (because jerks like me are buying multiple copies as an investment).
posted by the bricabrac man at 8:17 AM on September 25, 2020

Unlike many remasters I've heard of classic albums, the new one is not simply "louder".. in fact, direct comparison shows that it's a bit warmer, slightly "softer", and isn't as harsh. I really really love it so far.
posted by Chickenring at 12:35 PM on September 25, 2020

I got my set today.

The book is absolutely beautiful and I read a bit of it but still have a long way to go.

The remastered album is elegant. It's less sharp and different elements are accented so it is familiar but also new.

I haven't gotten into the vault tracks yet. Saving that for later.

Truly a beautiful, lovely object to own. I'm pleased. They put a lot of thought into the presentation of this, and it's really great.
posted by hippybear at 7:36 PM on October 4, 2020 [1 favorite]

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