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The Revolution’s Lisa Coleman says it was wonderful and painful to hear Prince’s Piano & a Microphone 1983


Bettmann/Getty ImagesPrince‘s Piano & a Microphone 1983 album is being released Friday, featuring liner notes by Lisa Coleman from Prince’s Purple Rain-era band, The Revolution. Coleman says the project brought her joy, and pain.

“I didn’t want to do it,” the keyboard player tells Billboard. “It was hard and I cried, and just hearing his voice at the beginning of the tape, when he tinkles around and he’s talking to one of his engineers and just speaks into the mic…Just hearing his voice like that, it was wonderful to hear and it was painful.”

Piano & a Microphone 1983 is the late music legend 35 years ago accompanied only by a piano, just after the release of 1999 and a year prior to the release of Purple Rain, which launched him to super-stardom. 

There are nine tracks in all, recorded at Prince’s Chanhassen, Minnesota studios that later came to be known as Paisley Park.  Songs include pre-release versions of “17 Days,” which was the B-side of “When Doves Cry” a year later; “Strange Relationship,” from 1987’s Sign o’ the Times; and a performance of what would become Prince’s signature hit, “Purple Rain.”  The first single, “Mary Don’t You Weep,” was released some three months ago.

The Prince estate will be releasing more music; Coleman says, “There’s, like, 100 years’ worth of material in that vault.” 

“Inside the band there’s a famous jam called “Ice Cream,” she continues. “When Prince was in a good mood or we were having a good show he would sometimes just run to the microphone and scream “ice cream,” and that was a cue for us to go into this particular jam thing, and that’s never been released or heard or really known.”

Coleman is now touring as a member of The Revolution, with dates through October 28 in Providence, Rhode Island.

Here’s the Piano & a Microphone 1983 track list:

1) “17 Days” 
2) “Purple Rain” 
3) “A Case of You” 
4) “Mary Don’t You Weep” 
5) “Strange Relationship” 
6) “International Lover”
7) “Wednesday”
8) “Cold Coffee & Cocaine” 
9) “Why the Butterflies”

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