Wednesday, April 13, 2011

"When Eye Lay My Hands On U "

Among the many unreleased Prince projects is the High album from 2000. The disc was complete and ready for production, but Prince pulled the plug and opted to release it via his then-burgeoning (and now defunct) online music club.

As Uptown writers note in the exhaustive chronology The Vault, the album is accessible and straightforward, likely another attempt at a commercial comeback (1999's Rave Un2 the Joy Fantastic had a similar intent, but ultimately failed.

By and large, the music on High is far more compelling than anything on Rave, and with smart marketing and single selection, I believe it could have had significant commercial impact. Alas. Many of the songs were later repackaged in the second incarnation of Prince's online music club, but spread across a few releases, losing any sense of consistency as to what the High album may have sounded like in its initial configuration. [Note: many of the tracks were also initially released via 2-track singles sold on the 2000Hit N Run tour.]

To that end, here is the original tracklist:

1. U Make My Sun Shine
2. My Medallion
3. Supercute
4. Golden Parachute
5. High
6. When Eye Lay My Hands on U
7. When Will We B Paid
8. Gamillah
9. Underneath the Cream
10. The Daisy Chain

Standout tracks here are "My Medallion," "Supercute," "The Daisy Chain" and "When Eye Lay My Hands on U." All are accessible yet interesting enough that they could have seen some success in the musical climate of 2000. But I digress.

The main motivation behind this post is a recent late night spin of volume 5 from the mind-bogglingly comprehensive The Work set of unreleased material. I haven't heard the High tracks in a while, and I was quickly reminiscing about bumping these tracks in my Cavalier (via Discman with cassette adapter, naturally) that summer. Suddenly, it's July 2000.

More importantly, "When Eye Lay My Hands on U" is a track that blows me away. There are so many layers here, not to mention the blistering guitar work. Take a listen:

And here's a great live take from the Montreaux Jazz Festival in 2009:

Prince Montreux 2009 When I lay my hands on You by madonnacelebration

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