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Thread started 08/27/09 7:20am

scififilmnerd

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Prince.org exclusive: Ultimate Undertaker

PRINCE VS. WB: THE FANS LOST
Part 2: No records allowed, only videos


By Scififilmnerd

The making of The Undertaker
Having just wrapped up work on the Come album in late May 1993, prince conceived the idea of doing a different kind of album, using just drummer Michael Bland and bassist Sonny Thompson as he had done for the original Come session, 2 January 1993. It would be the first music to actually be recorded by prince, just a week after the name-change from Prince.
Nicknamed The Paisley Park Power Trio, the three of them set up together on the soundstage at Paisley Park 14 June 1993, their amps cranked up full, and did some bluesy jamming. The result was an album called The Undertaker.
“Picture this,” Michael Bland told Guitar World in 1994: “A DAT machine, a 32-channel board, two techs and three players. It was about three o’clock in the morning. We got our sounds together and just let the DAT roll. We took about an hour to make that record, from start to finish, playing straight through with no overdubs. The sequence of songs on the record is exactly the way we played it. The guitar segues from one song to the next, like when we do live stuff."
“He tends to really start opening up and playing a lot of different things when me and Michael do a trio thing with him,” added Sonny Thompson. “There’s no keyboards there – no nothing. So he can venture out and play what he wants to play.”

The songs and the video
The Undertaker was a mixture of two new songs, The Ride and Poorgoo; a cover of The Rolling Stones’ Honky Tonk-Woman from their 1969 hits collection Through The Past, Darkly; a preview of the new song Zannalee; and new versions of old songs: Bambi from the 1979 Prince album, the Mavis Staples-song The Undertaker, and Dolphin from the Come-album.
Mavis Staples’ album featuring The Undertaker had yet to see release. The song had been recorded in August 1992 and was written by Prince, Tommy Barbarella, Michael Bland, Levi Seacer Jr. and Sonny Thompson. It was inspired by Mavis Staples telling Prince about her eight-year marriage to a mortician. Prince doesn’t play on her version of the song.
A camera team filmed the live in the studio-recording of The Undertaker and prince produced a 42-minute film directed by Parris Patton focusing on the Power Trio’s performance and featuring limited acting by Vanessa Marcil from the day-time soap General Hospital. She plays a drug addict in the video. "I don't do any dancing. I wear no makeup and my hair's kinda messy throughout the whole thing,” she told Soap Opera Weekly about her part. “I look pretty scummy. Those are the kinds of roles I really like to play. I'd much rather play someone basic and real than someone who's all done up wearing pretty tight outfits.”

The destruction of a masterpiece
prince privately manufactured a CD in around 1000 copies containing the Power Trio performance. Unfortunately, when the sleeve cover was at the printer’s office, Warner Bros. heard of the record and ordered prince to destroy the whole edition. Luckily, some copies of the 36 minutes album escaped and appeared on the collector’s market in 1995, although at very high prices. Fortunately, it got widely bootlegged, ensuring that fans got to hear it.

prince: The Undertaker (14 June 1993)
1. The Ride (10:54)
2. Poorgoo (4:24)
3. Honky Tonk-Woman (3:01) (Mick Jagger/Keith Richards)
4. Bambi (4:03)
5. Zannalee (Prelude) (0:44)
6. The Undertaker (9:45)
7. Dolphin (3:40)

The album seemed like a natural continuation of the guitar rock style on the 29 May 1993 Come album configuration, which it complimented perfectly. “It starts off in a blues vein,” prince told Guitar World in 1994, “but then quickly goes to funk. But because of the first song, (The Ride,) people tend to want to put it in that glass of water. It’s real garage, you know, but Warners won’t release it.”

The Undertaker live
A few lucky fans got to hear some of The Undertaker performed live at some of the aftershows on the Act II tour of Europe, which started 26 July and ended 7 September 1993. A section of the shows would feature just the Power Trio, usually performing The Ride, Honky Tonk-Woman and a cover of Elvis Presley’s 1957 hit Jailhouse Rock written by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller. Bambi and Poorgoo were occasionally included in the set.
The song The Undertaker was also performed at the aftershows, but in a version more resembling the Mavis Staples-recording, as it featured the entire band, including the NPG Hornz. Mavis Staples’ album The Voice featuring The Undertaker was released during the tour, 24 August 1993, and prince would then also introduce the song as being from that album, rather than from The Undertaker. Mavis Staples herself joined prince and the NPG for a performance of it at the tour’s final aftershow in London, 8 September 1993.
The final aftershow was filmed and parts of it were released as a home video, The Sacrifice Of Victor, in March 1995. It included The Ride, Jailhouse Rock and Mavis Staples’ rendition of The Undertaker.
On 6 March 1994, Holland’s largest radio network, Radio Veronica, began broadcasting songs recorded during a concert at Paisley Park 13 February 1994. They had purchased audio and video tapes of the performance, which included a short version of The Ride. prince also played The Ride at concerts in Monaco and Paris, 3 – 6 May 1994.

The mysterious new blues-album
From 28 May to 26 July 1994, prince embarked upon a summer tour of clubs in Minneapolis, Miami, Los Angeles and New York. The tour, dubbed The Love Experience, included occasional performances of The Ride, usually as the show opener.
At this time, prince gave an interview to Guitar World, which was published in November 1994. prince revealed that, although there’d been talk for a while of a straight-up blues album, The Undertaker was not that album. It is possible that he was hinting at Chaos And Disorder, which was sequenced in late 1994, shortly after the publication of the Guitar World interview. Certainly, the Zannalee prelude on The Undertaker ended up being of the full version on Chaos And Disorder.
As for when The Undertaker would come out, Levi Seacer Jr., head of NPG Records, didn’t know. “The thing here is that he’s always working on something. But I think this needs to be heard.”
prince would have liked to give The Undertaker away with the issue of Guitar World containing the interview. “I’d like to put out 700.000 copies of some blues guitar music with a guitar magazine but Warners won’t let me,” he told New Musical Express in March 1995.
In an interview with Q, also from March 1995, he added: “I have a song called Undertaker, which I wanted to give to Guitar Player, so they could give it away free with the magazine – to remind people that, hey, I’m actually a guitar player, too. (Laughs.) That’s what it is – really long guitar solos. But Warners wouldn’t let me.”

Fan-reaction to The Undertaker video
prince’s European Gold Experience tour, 3 - 31 March 1995, included occasional performances of Dolphin and The Ride. Now keyboards were added to The Ride. The Ride, Jailhouse Rock and the Mavis Staples-version of The Undertaker were also performed at aftershows.
To coincide with the tour, the 1993 The Undertaker movie was finally released as a home video. Vanessa Marcil’s character pops some pills and runs rampant at Paisley Park, stumbling upon the Power Trio performance. Strangely, prince doesn’t have her thrown out - not even when she pukes all over his guitar solo during The Ride.
The amusing puking sound was actually used to cover up the video version of The Ride being an edit of the album version. The video version of Poorgoo supposedly also has subtle differences from the album version. Dolphin is an edit of the Come album version with the ending of The Undertaker album version added.
Although one critic complained that prince only played obscure tracks and no hits, fans were delighted with the music in the psychedelic video. It featured prince’s most inspired, awesome and impressive guitar playing to date. It was considered to be a riveting, masterful performance.
To celebrate the release of the video, prince performed the entire The Undertaker album at an aftershow in London, 23 March 1995, except for Dolphin, but with a full version of Zannalee. Keyboards were added to all of the songs, except Bambi.

Release of The Ride (Live)
During the rest of 1995, prince gave concerts at Glam Slam Miami and at Paisley Park, before embarking on a Gold Experience tour of Japan 8 – 20 January 1996 and of Hawaii 17 – 19 February 1996. The Ride was occasionally played.
On 26 August 1995, a concert at Paisley Park included an Undertaker segment. prince played Dolphin, Zannalee, Bambi, a cover of Steve Vai’s instrumental Tender Surrender and The Ride.
In 1998, a fairly short live version of The Ride from Paisley Park, 28 October 1995, was released on the Crystal Ball collection. Prior to that, the Crystal Ball version of The Ride had been featured in the TV movie Love 4 One Another that premiered on VH-1 27 January 1996. Fans generally liked the original Power Trio recording of the song better.
In November and December 2001, members of Prince’s now defunct NPG Music Club got the opportunity to download the song The Undertaker and the video version of Poorgoo. The fan-favorite album remains unreleased.

Thanks to:
Virgo and Squirrelgrease

Sources:
David Cavanagh: Sign here…, Q, 1995
Janet Di Lauro: Interview with Vanessa Marcil, Soap Opera Weekly, 21 September 1993
Alan di Perna: The Guitarist Formerly Known As Prince, Guitar World, November 1994
Andy Richardson: My Name Isn’t Prince And I Am Funky, NME, 11 March 1995
Uptown presents Days of Wild – A Documentary of Prince/prince

Part 1:
The Come(back) album that never happened: http://prince.org/msg/7/317254

Part 3:
All that glitters ain’t Gold: http://prince.org/msg/7/318315" target="_blank"> http://prince.org/msg/7/318315

Part 4:
Slave to the system: http://prince.org/msg/5/319042

Part 5:
Chaos and disorder: http://prince.org/msg/7/319752

Part 6:
Free at last!: http://prince.org/msg/7/342786

Appendix 1:
List of unreleased Prince album configurations: http://prince.org/msg/7/319757

Appendix 2:
List of unreleased Associated Artists album configurations: http://prince.org/msg/5/319895

Appendix 3:
List of chronological Prince recordings: http://prince.org/msg/7/320445
[Edited 8/29/10 8:34am]
rainbow woot! FREE THE 29 MAY 1993 COME CONFIGURATION! woot! rainbow
rainbow woot! FREE THE 1994 CHAOS AND DISORDER CONFIGURATION woot! rainbow
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Reply #1 posted 08/27/09 7:34am

december

lurking Absolutely love this album allthough I don't have a copy of it off course lurking

Thanks for the read.
(Little Richard enters the stage)
Homer: Purple Rain!!
Little Richard: Shut up!
Homer (to Marge): Oh my God, Michael Jackson just told me to shut up!
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Reply #2 posted 08/27/09 7:53am

ARock

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great read.... keep em comin. Cant wait to hear about TGE cool
[Edited 8/27/09 7:54am]
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Reply #3 posted 08/27/09 7:59am

NoVideo

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good job!! Love The Undertaker. Hopefully it will see officially CD release some day.
* * *

Prince's Classic Finally Expanded
The Deluxe 'Purple Rain' Reissue

http://www.popmatters.com...n-reissue/
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Reply #4 posted 08/27/09 9:49am

SANSKER7

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Thank you, thank you!

These are great to read.
cool
Hope to see more.
"
First I need a picture of your mother, to verify the fact that there's not another one in the universe so supreme!!"
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Reply #5 posted 08/27/09 10:00am

scififilmnerd

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Naturally, I made an Ultimate collection to get me psyched for writing the article. It goes like this:

Ultimate The Undertaker

Disc 1:
1. The Ride (10:54)
2. Poorgoo (4:24)
3. Honkey Tonk-Woman (3:01)
4. Bambi (4:03)
5. Zannalee (Prelude) (0:44)
6. The Undertaker (9:45)
7. Dolphin (3:40)
Live 1993:
8. The Ride (8:16) - Barcelona, 23/8
9. Poorgoo (4:50) - Paris, 1/9
10. Honkey Tonk-Woman (2:50) - Barcelona, 23/8
11. Bambi (3:02) - Paris, 1/9
12. Jailhouse Rock - Paris, 1/9
13. The Undertaker (11:11) - Paris, 1/9
Live 1994:
14. The Ride (7:26) - Monte Carlo, 4/5

biggrin

I would have loved to make a Disc 2 with the video versions and 1995 live versions, but then I discovered, I don't have the video versions in MP3 or WMA format, only on cassette. sad
rainbow woot! FREE THE 29 MAY 1993 COME CONFIGURATION! woot! rainbow
rainbow woot! FREE THE 1994 CHAOS AND DISORDER CONFIGURATION woot! rainbow
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Reply #6 posted 08/27/09 10:06am

scififilmnerd

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Does anyone know the lyrics for prince's version of Honky Tonk-Woman? biggrin

I never could make out what he was singing. confused
rainbow woot! FREE THE 29 MAY 1993 COME CONFIGURATION! woot! rainbow
rainbow woot! FREE THE 1994 CHAOS AND DISORDER CONFIGURATION woot! rainbow
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Reply #7 posted 08/27/09 10:16am

Barbefunkorama
que

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This is not crap.

I love my version of this group of videos, pressed on Panasonic laserdisc Video Disc. I bought a copy of it on E bay from someone in Japan then combed the Goodwills and flea markets until I found one of those old laserdisc players.
I may have the jelly 4 ur peanut butta but u got 31 hours and 21 minutes left.
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Reply #8 posted 08/27/09 10:26am

dualboot

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I play the Undertaker cd every 2 weeks and I must say it may be the most played Prince music in the last 10 years at my home and work.
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Reply #9 posted 08/27/09 10:43am

Xtraordinary

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This is good stuff! Looking forward to the next installments.

Thanks much!
Who ever said Prince has lost it - has lost it. The Kid's still got game!
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Reply #10 posted 08/27/09 12:36pm

rlittler81

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Cool! Can't wait for Ultimate Gold!
3121... Don't U Wanna Come?
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Reply #11 posted 08/27/09 1:34pm

zobilamouche

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Since the original VHS is a warner product; wouldn't they be able to issue this on dvd as they did with the D&P one?

Certainly this material is far more appealing to any fan of real music than seeing prince and the Gameboyz in tacky swimwear and skeelers.

They can count on my spending money smile
The HQ-er formerly known as krokostimpy.
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Reply #12 posted 08/27/09 1:56pm

bluefish

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scififilmnerd said:

Does anyone know the lyrics for prince's version of Honky Tonk-Woman? biggrin

I never could make out what he was singing. confused


from DTT Lyrics:

Honky Tonk Women

Met a freaky bar-room queen in Memphis
Tried 2 pull me upstairs 4 a ride
She covered her nigga with 20 roses
Blew my nose, yeah baby, blew my mind

Cuz my honky tonk woman
Give me, give me, give me the honky tonk love

Cuz my honky tonk woman
Give me, give me, give me the honky tonk love

Honky tonk woman
Give me, give me, give me the honky tonk love

guitar headbang
‎https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCvmsrcg1qD_wVuS4qnopmQg
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Reply #13 posted 08/27/09 2:57pm

scififilmnerd

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bluefish said:

from DTT Lyrics:

Honky Tonk Women


Thank you. kiss2
rainbow woot! FREE THE 29 MAY 1993 COME CONFIGURATION! woot! rainbow
rainbow woot! FREE THE 1994 CHAOS AND DISORDER CONFIGURATION woot! rainbow
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Reply #14 posted 08/27/09 4:06pm

pplrain

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december said:

lurking Absolutely love this album allthough I don't have a copy of it off course lurking

Thanks for the read.

lurking lurking



me too!


lurking lurking
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Reply #15 posted 08/27/09 4:14pm

DesireeNevermi
nd

great thread thumbs up!
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Reply #16 posted 08/27/09 4:56pm

SavonOsco

I still listen to The Undertaker on a regular basis,absolutely love it...good job by you thumbs up!
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Reply #17 posted 08/27/09 5:58pm

TyphoonTip

Great stuff. I want more! razz
[Edited 8/27/09 18:06pm]
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Reply #18 posted 08/27/09 6:02pm

blackielawless
rules

Is there any way to offically buy the Undertaker DVD?
3121
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Reply #19 posted 08/27/09 9:56pm

udo

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Danke schoen!

(or rather: thanks!)


Official undertaker DVD?
Did you really think that mr P wanted to monetize on that?
Pills and thrills and daffodils will kill... If you don't believe me or don't get it, I don't have time to try to convince you, sorry.
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Reply #20 posted 08/27/09 10:18pm

Mars23

Moderator

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moderator

clapping
Studies have shown the ass crack of the average Prince fan to be abnormally large. This explains the ease and frequency of their panties bunching up in it.
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Reply #21 posted 08/27/09 11:04pm

squirrelgrease

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Oooohhhh. Can't wait to read this. I've been rocking The Undertaker CD for a couple of weeks.
If prince.org were to be made idiot proof, someone would just invent a better idiot.
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Reply #22 posted 08/27/09 11:13pm

a2grafix

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Another outstanding breakdown of a very cool period in Prince history.

I'm with everyone else on here -- bravo and keep the history coming.
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Reply #23 posted 08/27/09 11:34pm

nurseV

pplrain said:

december said:

lurking Absolutely love this album allthough I don't have a copy of it off course lurking

Thanks for the read.

lurking lurking



me too!


lurking lurking



Me 3 lurking
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Reply #24 posted 08/28/09 1:17am

Nosferatu

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Definitely a creative peak, not just the albums, unreleased tracks and potential albums, but the amount of TV and video specials too - Beautiful Experience, Love 4 One Another, Sacrifice video, Undertaker video. And all this with WB trimming everything down and censoring his output.

Such a shame that now he is able to do all of this and more... He doesn't confused
Formally known as Mr_Nos on Housequake

Hate is such a strong word, I'm just disillusioned...
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Reply #25 posted 08/28/09 2:06am

KeithyT

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zobilamouche said:

Since the original VHS is a warner product; wouldn't they be able to issue this on dvd as they did with the D&P one?

I'm sure they would, although they may still have to get Prince's agreement (can anyone clarify). I thought they would re-release all these VHS on DVD (3 Chains O Gold, Sacrifice of Victor, Undertaker etc) once the D & P Video Collection came out but as seems to be the norm, it stalled... sad
Just somewhere in the middle,
Not too good and not too bad.
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Reply #26 posted 08/28/09 2:22am

Virgo

Another great thread, Scifi biggrin

Looking forward to Gold and C & D
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Reply #27 posted 08/28/09 3:28am

IstenSzek

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love love love love lovin' these!~

can't wait for the Gold one drool

clapping
and true love lives on lollipops and crisps
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Reply #28 posted 08/28/09 7:35am

djThunderfunk

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Love these fantastic posts!! What's the chance of adding one for Exodus? I'd love to see that one laid out the way you did with Come. Thanks so much for sharing your efforts...
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Reply #29 posted 08/28/09 8:12am

scififilmnerd

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djThunderfunk said:

What's the chance of adding one for Exodus? I'd love to see that one laid out the way you did with Come.


I actually thought about it, but BorisFishpaw probably knows more about Exodus than I do. confused

Still, maybe I could do Part 4 as a combined Exodus and Chaos And Disorder feature, because otherwise the Chaos And Disorder one might become rather short. hmmm

I'll certainly think about it. biggrin
rainbow woot! FREE THE 29 MAY 1993 COME CONFIGURATION! woot! rainbow
rainbow woot! FREE THE 1994 CHAOS AND DISORDER CONFIGURATION woot! rainbow
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