A previously unheard home studio cassette recording of Prince performing at his piano in 1983 will be released as Piano & A Microphone on Sept. 21. The nine-track, 35-minute project from the Prince Estate in coordination with Warner Bros. Records is planned for what would have been the rock icon’s 60th birthday and it is available now to pre-order on CD, LP, deluxe CD+ LP, digital release and pre-save for streaming; click here to pre-order, and here for pre-save stream.
“This raw, intimate recording, which took place at the start of Prince’s career right before he achieved international stardom, is similar in format to the Piano & A Microphone Tour that he ended his career with in 2016,” Prince Estate entertainment adviser Troy Carter said in a statement about the project recorded at Prince’s Kiowa Trail home studio in Chanhassen, Minnesota. “The Estate is excited to be able to give fans a glimpse of his evolution and show how his career ultimately came full circle with just him and his piano.”
This rare, intimate glimpse finds Prince working through songs including “17 Days” and “Purple Rain” (which would both be released the following year), a cover of Joni Mitchell’s “A Case of You,” “Strange Relationship” (issued in 1987 on the Sign O’ The Times album) and “International Lover,” as well as a rare recording of the pre-Civil War spiritual “Mary Don’t You Weep,” which will be heard on the end credits of Spike Lee’s upcoming film BlacKkKlansman, due out in August.
The album cover features a rare image of Prince backstage during the 1999 tour, taken by Allen Beaulieu, who worked closely with Prince from 1979-1984, shooting the covers of Dirty Mind and Controversy and the promo shots for 1999. The Deluxe version will include a 12″ booklet with new liner notes from Prince’s engineer, Don Batts, as well as never-before-seen candid photos of the singer. Fans who pre-order the digital download will get an instant grat download of “Mary Don’t You Weep.”
Track listing for Piano & A Microphone:
“A Case Of You”
“Mary Don’t You Weep”
“Cold Coffee & Cocaine”
“Why The Butterflies”
Prince fans will celebrate what would have been the singer’s birthday today (June 7) with a three-day festival in Henderson, Minnesota (where Purple Rain was filmed), which will include a bus tour of Purple Rain filming locations, a screening of the movie and live music. In addition to Microphone, the Prince Estate has teamed with Tidal to release a batch of previously unreleased music from the vaults for a new album due out next year.