PRINCE and the REVOLUTION – AMERICA / GIRL (12″ extended single)
Side One: America (21:46)
Side Two: Girl (7:36)
ARC (Allied Recording Company) pressing
Matrix / Runout: 0-20389-A SHI [ARC logo] B-21968 -SHI SLM △ 10-764 1-1X
Matrix / Runout: 0-20389-A SHI [ARC logo] B-21968 -SHI SLM △ 10-764 1-1
Vinyl; Pro-Ject RM-5SE with Audio Tecnica AT440-MLa cartridge; Speedbox power supply; Creek Audio OBH-15; M-Audio Audiophile 192 Soundcard ; Adobe Audition at 32-bit float 96khz; ClickRepair on “Girl” only, set to “1”; clicks and pops removed individually with Adobe Audition 3.0; resampled using iZotope RX 2 Advanced SRC and dithered with MBIT+ for 16-bit. Converted to FLAC in dBPoweramp. Tags done with Foobar 2000 and Tag and Rename.
It’s almost Independence Day in the USA. So, a twenty-one minute jam on the funkiest single from the Around the World In A Day, because why not. Playing until the tape reel ran out, there are some fun solos from Prince and Dr. Fink, but the group had yet to incorporate the horn parts that would become part of the instrumental workout on the road, and so this is probably less interesting than it could have been. As the tempo never varies, I’ve found this makes a good track for when you need something epic to power a good run or workout of your own (and those versions of “A Love Supreme” or “Echoes” you have your iPhone usually result in you standing still and staring off into space). You can hear the live treatment that this song got, which was about half as long as this, on any number of high-quality bootlegs. They mostly seem to follow the pattern in this video clip, minus the somewhat sloppy drum solo played by P.
Being a godless commie my own self, I always wanted to think of this song as an ironic comment on patriotism. Given what we now know about his truly deep religious convictions (which he insisted were sincere from the beginning), I’m not entirely sure any more. It seems possible he may in fact be implying that Jimmy failing to pledge allegiance to the flag has some causal relationship to him now living on a mushroom cloud. Little sister, making minimum wage and living in a one-room jungle-monkey cage, may still be better off than those Reds, who most definitely didn’t have anything this fun to dance to. Taking it all at face value, this has to be the funkiest Cold Warrior anthem you’re likely to hear, at least until James Brown released “Living In America” in December of 1985 and sang the pugilistic praises of all-night diners and black coffee. Prince obviously drew a lot of inspiration from James, especially on this song (and especially specially on the live rendition). Was everyone just feeling particularly red, white, and blue in 85, or was there some sinister CIA program to accelerate Perestroika by covering the globe with feverish funk celebrating capitalist freedoms? There’s a history dissertation idea in there for some of you grad students out there, you can thank me later in your acknowledgements.
“Girl” is not my favorite B-side from Prince, but it’s certainly not terrible either, and the extended version makes the track more, um, charming. Dig, if you will, the picture of Kraftwerk abducting Barry White, forcing him to breath through a helium tank, and ordering him to compose and perform an erotic proclamation of lust for their new record (“Please Barry, show us how you humans make with the sexy music”), and you’ll have some idea of “Girl.” Well, except that the mechanical rhythm that chugs along underneath the track is generated by a couple low notes on a Hammond organ rather than a synth. The spoken parts of the extended tune, which simulate one half of an intimate conversation of some kind, are Prince at his most blush-inducing. It features the line, “”All I have to do is think about you, and I can have an orgasm. Sounds funny, doesn’t it? Marry me.” Just like the track Temptation from this same album, it’s stuff that’s so over the top that only he could pull it off without appearing completely silly. Okay so maybe a little silly, but we know the man could laugh at himself, because he apparently approved of Dave Chappelle’s depiction of him dry-humping a basketball.
The extended mix also features collaborator and love-interest Susan Melvoin reciting the lyrics backwards with “boy” switched out for “girl.” It is only just barely audible with all the other stuff going on in the mix, and so for fun I’ve isolated it for all those people who have trouble playing digital audio backwards. This is just the right channel (where her voice is) and with EQ applied to accentuate just the voice.
So whether you are enjoying beers and barbecue in the Land of the Free or just enjoying yourself in one of the lesser countries of the world, here’s a little extended paisley magic for your collection.