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Thread started 07/31/18 7:58am

lonelyalien

Prince as an engineer

Was just wondering what is known about prince's engineering abilities in the studio did he actually get behind the desk much or was he using professionals for most of his music. I literally know nothing about this is he credited as engineer on any of his tracks?

I'm just like everybody else I need love.....and water.
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Reply #1 posted 07/31/18 8:10am

jjam

The Dirty Mind album solely credits him (aka Jamie Starr) as engineer. Not exactly an audiophile experience, that album.

Many of my favourite albums aren't exactly well recorded though. It's more about the vibe and music for me, which I think we can safely say that Dirty Mind, There's A Riot Goin On (Sly) and A Wizard, A True Star (Rundgren) have in abundance.

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Reply #2 posted 07/31/18 8:35am

lonelyalien

jjam said:

The Dirty Mind album solely credits him (aka Jamie Starr) as engineer. Not exactly an audiophile experience, that album.

Many of my favourite albums aren't exactly well recorded though. It's more about the vibe and music for me, which I think we can safely say that Dirty Mind, There's A Riot Goin On (Sly) and A Wizard, A True Star (Rundgren) have in abundance.

cool i didnt know that.

I'm just like everybody else I need love.....and water.
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Reply #3 posted 07/31/18 11:53am

mtlfan

Someone else here will know the source, but apparently one of Prince's engineers reported that in some instances more was done to mix his music than he ever knew (or would have wanted to know).

What else did Prince engineer himself?

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Reply #4 posted 07/31/18 12:54pm

PeteSilas

like many fans, it never made much difference to me, prince once said all his 80's music was poorly mixed. Interesting statement, some truth to it. just listening to some of his contemporaries like Jam and lewis' control, you can hear how much more effort went into making the drums really crack, Prince's perfectly great drum tracks never sounded like that, but did it really make a difference? nah, not to me anyways.

Prince.org: With fans like these he didn't need haters.
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Reply #5 posted 07/31/18 1:46pm

RodeoSchro

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IIRC, there's some pretty good information on this subject in Duane Tudahl's book. I don't know if he was considered good or bad - he was just considered Prince. He did it the way he thought was best.

Second Funkiest White Man in America

P&R's paladin
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Reply #6 posted 07/31/18 1:52pm

PeteSilas

lonelyalien said:

jjam said:

The Dirty Mind album solely credits him (aka Jamie Starr) as engineer. Not exactly an audiophile experience, that album.

Many of my favourite albums aren't exactly well recorded though. It's more about the vibe and music for me, which I think we can safely say that Dirty Mind, There's A Riot Goin On (Sly) and A Wizard, A True Star (Rundgren) have in abundance.

cool i didnt know that.

ya, the sly album was called "muddy" but it added to the music to me, it reflected his life at the time. a great rock critic, can't think of his name now, thought the 70's production was too good, he stated real rock music was heard best on cheap speakers, he's right, listen to the great 50's songs, they come through just fine.

Prince.org: With fans like these he didn't need haters.
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Reply #7 posted 07/31/18 10:56pm

BlueShakooo

Where are the "Prince was the greatest engineer ever"-comments? wink
"Don't get too serious, it's just a dream."
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Reply #8 posted 08/01/18 8:22am

scorp84

He wasn't the most meticulous of engineers when it came to the sonics of his records. Jimmy Jam once said that he recorded his music at ridiculous volume levels(waaaayyyyyy too loud).

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Reply #9 posted 08/01/18 9:20am

bonatoc

avatar

jjam said:

The Dirty Mind album solely credits him (aka Jamie Starr) as engineer. Not exactly an audiophile experience, that album.

Many of my favourite albums aren't exactly well recorded though. It's more about the vibe and music for me, which I think we can safely say that Dirty Mind, There's A Riot Goin On (Sly) and A Wizard, A True Star (Rundgren) have in abundance.


That, I won't ever be able to understand.

If Prince is ever to be considered a Genius, it's from his sound.
You have no idea how much this was exactly how he wanted to sound.
This shit has so much personality and intent...
It's the spirit of punk.

It's an audiophile experience beyond comparison.
But maybe you're the Emancipation or TGE type, the ones where you can smell the flying faders. Yuck.

If we go that way, London Calling sounds poorly too.
And don't start me with the Kinks, or Jimi. or Janis.
It's 8 tracks, not fucking Lexicons and Eventides and shit.

Dirty Mind was recorded like Nebraska.
It's pure, and it's the very birth of the Minneapolis sound.
The Book.

It's supposed to be dirty. It's Punk'n'Funk.
"And suddenly... Groupies!"

Go grab the flac'd vinyl.
Put it on 11.
Don't skip my SKipper's tracks.
Then repent! biggrin




[Edited 8/1/18 9:32am]

[Edited 8/1/18 9:34am]

The Colors R brighter, the Bond is much tighter
No Child's a failure
Until the Blue Sailboat sails him away from his dreams
Don't Ever Lose, Don't Ever Lose
Don't Ever Lose Your Dreams
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Reply #10 posted 08/01/18 9:24am

bonatoc

avatar

scorp84 said:

He wasn't the most meticulous of engineers when it came to the sonics of his records. Jimmy Jam once said that he recorded his music at ridiculous volume levels(waaaayyyyyy too loud).


Why, there's another way to enjoy music?


You ol' purple farts, go back to your crescent hearing aids.

The Colors R brighter, the Bond is much tighter
No Child's a failure
Until the Blue Sailboat sails him away from his dreams
Don't Ever Lose, Don't Ever Lose
Don't Ever Lose Your Dreams
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Reply #11 posted 08/01/18 9:31am

bonatoc

avatar

lonelyalien said:

Was just wondering what is known about prince's engineering abilities in the studio did he actually get behind the desk much or was he using professionals for most of his music. I literally know nothing about this is he credited as engineer on any of his tracks?


He's, simply put, more adventurous than Phil Spector as a producer and more creative than Bruce Swieden as an engineer.
Having said that, there's nothing to add.

Spend two weeks with the first two Time albums, then switch to Vanity 6.
Again, I can't imagine any other way to listen to Prince than real loud.
I pity the ones who haven't made the whole building rant
because Black Muse us on eleven, with the loudness on.

But surely here no one is that deaf.
You have to feel it in your chest and down your spine.
Fuck them headphones (or get the very best you can).

A good pair of headphones reveal shitty mp3's on the spot.
Hear, hear!

The Colors R brighter, the Bond is much tighter
No Child's a failure
Until the Blue Sailboat sails him away from his dreams
Don't Ever Lose, Don't Ever Lose
Don't Ever Lose Your Dreams
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Reply #12 posted 08/01/18 11:35am

PeteSilas

scorp84 said:

He wasn't the most meticulous of engineers when it came to the sonics of his records. Jimmy Jam once said that he recorded his music at ridiculous volume levels(waaaayyyyyy too loud).

it really is a seperate skill, i learned when mixing my own music how difficult it is. You raise the low end the high end suffers and you raise the high end and it might be tinny, you raise it all and it's just a loud mess. mixing itself is a pain because instruments might stand out at different pitches and points than others, but my vocals particularly seemed to really be dynamically difficult. Trying to keep my voice in the mix when i wasn't singing as loudly was difficult. i had cheap equipement, i wouldn't know how much better great equipement would be. as far as others music, it's never, never bothered me to be honest. I've never really thought cd's made any difference for me than the old tapes and records i used to listen to. for me, the only music i can't handle mixed and mastered right is my own. I'm not even sure all the technical aspects of mastering, supposedly it's to get the whole album at a similar volume or something. to tell you the truth, with my equipement, it probably didn't make any difference having it professionally mixed and mastered, especially as they rush through it anyway, not caring about how things turn out.

Prince.org: With fans like these he didn't need haters.
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Reply #13 posted 08/01/18 2:47pm

purplethunder3
121

avatar

bonatoc said:

scorp84 said:

He wasn't the most meticulous of engineers when it came to the sonics of his records. Jimmy Jam once said that he recorded his music at ridiculous volume levels(waaaayyyyyy too loud).


Why, there's another way to enjoy music?


You ol' purple farts, go back to your crescent hearing aids.

Related image

"No them...there's only us."
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Reply #14 posted 08/01/18 3:01pm

bonatoc

avatar

purplethunder3121 said:

bonatoc said:


Why, there's another way to enjoy music?


You ol' purple farts, go back to your crescent hearing aids.

Related image


biggrin

The Colors R brighter, the Bond is much tighter
No Child's a failure
Until the Blue Sailboat sails him away from his dreams
Don't Ever Lose, Don't Ever Lose
Don't Ever Lose Your Dreams
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Reply #15 posted 08/01/18 3:39pm

jjam

bonatoc said:

jjam said:

The Dirty Mind album solely credits him (aka Jamie Starr) as engineer. Not exactly an audiophile experience, that album.

Many of my favourite albums aren't exactly well recorded though. It's more about the vibe and music for me, which I think we can safely say that Dirty Mind, There's A Riot Goin On (Sly) and A Wizard, A True Star (Rundgren) have in abundance.


That, I won't ever be able to understand.

If Prince is ever to be considered a Genius, it's from his sound.
You have no idea how much this was exactly how he wanted to sound.
This shit has so much personality and intent...
It's the spirit of punk.

It's an audiophile experience beyond comparison.
But maybe you're the Emancipation or TGE type, the ones where you can smell the flying faders. Yuck.

If we go that way, London Calling sounds poorly too.
And don't start me with the Kinks, or Jimi. or Janis.
It's 8 tracks, not fucking Lexicons and Eventides and shit.

Dirty Mind was recorded like Nebraska.
It's pure, and it's the very birth of the Minneapolis sound.
The Book.

It's supposed to be dirty. It's Punk'n'Funk.
"And suddenly... Groupies!"

Go grab the flac'd vinyl.
Put it on 11.
Don't skip my SKipper's tracks.
Then repent! biggrin




[Edited 8/1/18 9:32am]

[Edited 8/1/18 9:34am]

What an odd reply. Dirty Mind was recorded on more advanced equipment than Nebraska. It's very lo-fi. I've said how this doesn't matter owing to the vibe of the album. But it's the opposite of an audiophile comparison. That's a fact.

And The Gold Experience is no audiophile experience either, thanks to the awful mastering with far too much compression.

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Reply #16 posted 08/01/18 4:24pm

Hamad

avatar

jjam said:

The Dirty Mind album solely credits him (aka Jamie Starr) as engineer. Not exactly an audiophile experience, that album.

Many of my favourite albums aren't exactly well recorded though. It's more about the vibe and music for me, which I think we can safely say that Dirty Mind, There's A Riot Goin On (Sly) and A Wizard, A True Star (Rundgren) have in abundance.

You know whats funny though? A lot of audiophiles cite those very same albums as "headphone" masterpieces. Especially Sly's in my case nod

Every saint has a past, and every sinner has a future...
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Reply #17 posted 08/01/18 4:41pm

JoeyCococo

He def was not thinking of audiophiles when hr recorded....I can count on one hand many superbly recorded albums he had....I love them all.

What I got from Duane's book is that the ideas came so frequently, he did not have time or patience to work on the recording.i think this is why there was such an over reliance on the line.
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Reply #18 posted 08/01/18 5:58pm

bonatoc

avatar

Hamad said:

jjam said:

The Dirty Mind album solely credits him (aka Jamie Starr) as engineer. Not exactly an audiophile experience, that album.

Many of my favourite albums aren't exactly well recorded though. It's more about the vibe and music for me, which I think we can safely say that Dirty Mind, There's A Riot Goin On (Sly) and A Wizard, A True Star (Rundgren) have in abundance.

You know whats funny though? A lot of audiophiles cite those very same albums as "headphone" masterpieces. Especially Sly's in my case nod


I discovered the Time albums on a '88 JVC small boombox and it was out of this world.

I mean it's like Jarrett's Köln Concert pt. I. It's not an "audiophile" experience,
there is a clear harmonic distortion coming from the Telefunken.
Yet it's heaven.

The texture of Dirty Mind is out of this world.
No kick gets through your chest like this. The Telecaster is all tiny, it's ridiculous.
It's fantastic.

But really, The Time albums, come on. They sound amazing.
You can bet Prince had the final cut, even when Peggy or Susan or Coke assisted.
It's all his sound. OK, "Irresistible Bitch", then. Tell me it's not engineered with flair.
or "How Come U Don't Call Me Anymore".

Let me reverse the question: what is an audiophile experience to you,
in all Prince's catalogue?

The Colors R brighter, the Bond is much tighter
No Child's a failure
Until the Blue Sailboat sails him away from his dreams
Don't Ever Lose, Don't Ever Lose
Don't Ever Lose Your Dreams
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Reply #19 posted 08/01/18 6:00pm

bonatoc

avatar

If you don't remember how the AAA sounded, I don't wanna see ya no more.

The Colors R brighter, the Bond is much tighter
No Child's a failure
Until the Blue Sailboat sails him away from his dreams
Don't Ever Lose, Don't Ever Lose
Don't Ever Lose Your Dreams
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Reply #20 posted 08/01/18 6:24pm

Hamad

avatar

bonatoc said:

Hamad said:

You know whats funny though? A lot of audiophiles cite those very same albums as "headphone" masterpieces. Especially Sly's in my case nod


I discovered the Time albums on a '88 JVC small boombox and it was out of this world.

I mean it's like Jarrett's Köln Concert pt. I. It's not an "audiophile" experience,
there is a clear harmonic distortion coming from the Telefunken.
Yet it's heaven.

The texture of Dirty Mind is out of this world.
No kick gets through your chest like this. The Telecaster is all tiny, it's ridiculous.
It's fantastic.

But really, The Time albums, come on. They sound amazing.
You can bet Prince had the final cut, even when Peggy or Susan or Coke assisted.
It's all his sound. OK, "Irresistible Bitch", then. Tell me it's not engineered with flair.
or "How Come U Don't Call Me Anymore".

Let me reverse the question: what is an audiophile experience to you,
in all Prince's catalogue?

That deserves a thread on its own nod

Every saint has a past, and every sinner has a future...
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Reply #21 posted 08/01/18 6:50pm

bonatoc

avatar

Madhouse's 8 ages very well. Even butchered in 128k mp3, it still sounds wonderful to me.
Who knows who engineered it.

The Colors R brighter, the Bond is much tighter
No Child's a failure
Until the Blue Sailboat sails him away from his dreams
Don't Ever Lose, Don't Ever Lose
Don't Ever Lose Your Dreams
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Reply #22 posted 08/03/18 4:09am

BlueShakooo

bonatoc said:

Madhouse's 8 ages very well. Even butchered in 128k mp3, it still sounds wonderful to me.
...

True!

"Don't get too serious, it's just a dream."
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Reply #23 posted 08/03/18 8:33pm

SanDiegoFunkDa
ddy

one of his engineers said he wanted every track seeing red. almost peaking out. he had to tone it down somewhat in the mixing and mastering or it would have been a big mess

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Reply #24 posted 08/03/18 8:34pm

SanDiegoFunkDa
ddy

bonatoc said:

Madhouse's 8 ages very well. Even butchered in 128k mp3, it still sounds wonderful to me.
Who knows who engineered it.

Susan

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Reply #25 posted 08/03/18 11:13pm

PeteSilas

susan also said something very interesting and very true, that was the fallacy of Prince's perfectionism, she said there was no way to get as much done as they got done and worry about everything being perfect too. In retrospect, I think people confused his exacting demandingness with perfectionism. personally, i was rarely struck by something on his official records where I thought "hey, he should have spent more time on this" i did think that about several of the b-sides, even my faves, songs like hello and others sounded like they were rushed through and the lyrics could definitely used more thought, another lonely christmas too. as good as some of the b-sides were I thought they weren't revised enough. I rarely got that feeling from his official releases on the albums. people have said there were mistakes aplenty on them, but i never heard that many, in fact the only one that really sticks out in my mind is how I could never take the place of your man seems to have some sloppy editing.

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Reply #26 posted 08/03/18 11:23pm

SkipperLove

I suspect that he became more of a perfectionist where sound was concerned as he got older and more technically knowledgable.. His demandingness (I theorize) had more to do with impatience due to him having ideas flowing and wanting to get them out of his head/recorded as soon as possible so he didn't lose the ideas. As a result, he did not have time for correcting mistakes, or people saying that's not my specific job, or engineers own perfectionisms taking up time or hem-hawing around about what needed to be done.. In the old days, he probably wanted it quick and decent-sounding.

PeteSilas said:

susan also said something very interesting and very true, that was the fallacy of Prince's perfectionism, she said there was no way to get as much done as they got done and worry about everything being perfect too. In retrospect, I think people confused his exacting demandingness with perfectionism. personally, i was rarely struck by something on his official records where I thought "hey, he should have spent more time on this" i did think that about several of the b-sides, even my faves, songs like hello and others sounded like they were rushed through and the lyrics could definitely used more thought, another lonely christmas too. as good as some of the b-sides were I thought they weren't revised enough. I rarely got that feeling from his official releases on the albums. people have said there were mistakes aplenty on them, but i never heard that many, in fact the only one that really sticks out in my mind is how I could never take the place of your man seems to have some sloppy editing.

[Edited 8/3/18 23:32pm]

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Reply #27 posted 08/04/18 12:13am

PeteSilas

you're right, even though i never thought there was a lot wrong with his 80's stuff from a sound perspective, there is no doubt that he got more polished in the 90's and later, he got better as a musician and singer too, sometimes i really wonder about the people who butcher the later music, i wonder how they even call themselves fans. P's peak was 78-16

SkipperLove said:

I suspect that he became more of a perfectionist where sound was concerned as he got older and more technically knowledgable.. His demandingness (I theorize) had more to do with impatience due to him having ideas flowing and wanting to get them out of his head/recorded as soon as possible so he didn't lose the ideas. As a result, he did not have time for correcting mistakes, or people saying that's not my specific job, or engineers own perfectionisms taking up time or hem-hawing around about what needed to be done.. In the old days, he probably wanted it quick and decent-sounding.

PeteSilas said:

susan also said something very interesting and very true, that was the fallacy of Prince's perfectionism, she said there was no way to get as much done as they got done and worry about everything being perfect too. In retrospect, I think people confused his exacting demandingness with perfectionism. personally, i was rarely struck by something on his official records where I thought "hey, he should have spent more time on this" i did think that about several of the b-sides, even my faves, songs like hello and others sounded like they were rushed through and the lyrics could definitely used more thought, another lonely christmas too. as good as some of the b-sides were I thought they weren't revised enough. I rarely got that feeling from his official releases on the albums. people have said there were mistakes aplenty on them, but i never heard that many, in fact the only one that really sticks out in my mind is how I could never take the place of your man seems to have some sloppy editing.

[Edited 8/3/18 23:32pm]

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Reply #28 posted 08/04/18 12:48am

SkipperLove

His talent is played down in later years because of his artistic (and I suspect personal/image based) choices being less consistent. One thing I will say about a lot of his earlier work is that it feels more conceptual (songs sound like they belong together--but ironically that might partly be because he was less musically knowledgable) . Plus, there is the whole nostalgia, ageism, coolness factor. I think if he took the spirituality out of AOA/Hit and Run phase II and said "fuck" at least 3 times, critics would have creamed themselves over those albums. (sorry, I am being gross) Also, his mistakes where artistic choices were concerned were less glaring and obvious in the old days. He was a trend setter instead of follower. But then again, he "followed trends" his own way and not always in the post 80's era. But people are never happy with later prince. I have read critics get annoyed with him because he didn't follow trends and use new trendy producers. I guess their argument was that if you are going to follow trends at least do it right. But really it comes down to the name change, his odd business decisions, his choosing to release songs like My Name is Prince over better songs like And God Created Women, coupled with a lack of the right kind of big record company hype that hurt him. Really I can imagine his albums like Chaos and Disorder and Come getting a bit more of the benefit of the doubt from critics if they were released properly and not dismissed by Prince as throw away albums. Not saying they would get stellar reviews but I think they would have gotten better reviews.


Plus why sort through his later more complicated and inconsistent later catalogue when you can go to his great live concerts and still be sustained by his massive body of work from the 80's. Collectors love that stuff (see Questlove who listens to the later work but only begrudgingly admits to liking some of it.) Fans were spoiled and perplexed at the same time when he was alive. Now that he is gone, they might crave the later work a bit more due to getting tired of obsessing over the old stuff. Also, the industry now seems to embrace musical diversity more. In mid 90's, it was musical movements. Everyone with cool taste was expected to like hip-hop and alternative rock. Who cared what fun things Prince was still doing with funk or rhythm and blues at the time?

PeteSilas said:

you're right, even though i never thought there was a lot wrong with his 80's stuff from a sound perspective, there is no doubt that he got more polished in the 90's and later, he got better as a musician and singer too, sometimes i really wonder about the people who butcher the later music, i wonder how they even call themselves fans. P's peak was 78-16

SkipperLove said:

I suspect that he became more of a perfectionist where sound was concerned as he got older and more technically knowledgable.. His demandingness (I theorize) had more to do with impatience due to him having ideas flowing and wanting to get them out of his head/recorded as soon as possible so he didn't lose the ideas. As a result, he did not have time for correcting mistakes, or people saying that's not my specific job, or engineers own perfectionisms taking up time or hem-hawing around about what needed to be done.. In the old days, he probably wanted it quick and decent-sounding.

[Edited 8/3/18 23:32pm]

[Edited 8/4/18 1:00am]

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Reply #29 posted 08/04/18 1:03am

Hamad

avatar

PeteSilas said:

susan also said something very interesting and very true, that was the fallacy of Prince's perfectionism, she said there was no way to get as much done as they got done and worry about everything being perfect too. In retrospect, I think people confused his exacting demandingness with perfectionism. personally, i was rarely struck by something on his official records where I thought "hey, he should have spent more time on this" i did think that about several of the b-sides, even my faves, songs like hello and others sounded like they were rushed through and the lyrics could definitely used more thought, another lonely christmas too. as good as some of the b-sides were I thought they weren't revised enough. I rarely got that feeling from his official releases on the albums. people have said there were mistakes aplenty on them, but i never heard that many, in fact the only one that really sticks out in my mind is how I could never take the place of your man seems to have some sloppy editing.

Thats very true. When she was interviewed in the Prince podcast, she said something to the effect that, since he was prolific and was recording new songs around the clock, he was disinterested and sometimes even impatient with how recording studios are operated. Therefore the techincal side of engineering didn't mean much to him. To put it into perspective, perfection takes time and Prince was always on the move to the next song once he was done recording one.

Every saint has a past, and every sinner has a future...
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