I was born here, unfortunately.
Pepé Willie was mentor to Prince before the budding star signed his record deal with Warner Bros. Records. Willie was an influence on Prince’s high school band Grand Central and is husband of Prince’s first cousin, Shauntel Manderville. He gave Prince and Andre Cymone their first jobs, as a session musicians for his band 94 East (so named after the nearby Interstate 94).
The studio sessions were recorded between 1976 to 1979, with Prince playing guitar, keyboards and drums on every track. Prince recorded part of it at home, in his first rented property, 5215 France Avenue S., in Edina, Minneapolis, using only a basic 8-track recording unit. The remaining sessions took place at two professional facilities, Sound 80 and Cookhouse Studios, in downtown Minneapolis.
Billed as The Historic 1977 Recordings they have been repeatedly re-released under several packages and configurations long after Prince became famous. First released in February 1986 as Minneapolis Genius and reissued in 1992, subsequent issues have been repackaged and named Symbolic Beginning (1995), The Legends Collection (1999), 94 East Featuring Prince (2000), One Man Jam (2000) and most recently If You Feel Like Dancin’ (2004). Prince wrote one just track, however, Just Another Sucker, which appears on the compilation.
- Pepé Willie
- Bass Guitar
- André Cymone
- Kristie Lazenberry Lovin' Cup & Just Another Sucker
- Marcy Ingvoldstad Lovin' Cup & Just Another Sucker
- Pepé Willie and Tony Silvester
- Hot Pink Records Inc.
- Castle Classics
- Judith Salavetz and Spencer Drate
- 35 years, 2 months ago on 12 February 1986
- Running Time
- US Chart Peak
- UK Chart Peak
- Orig. Formats
- If You Feel Like Dancin' (7:11) 2
- Lovin' Cup (4:21)
- Games (5:01)
- Just Another Sucker (5:21) 1 & 2
- Dance To The Music Of The World (5:09)
- One Man Jam (6:17)
- Running Time
1992 Reissue (Disk 1)
- Just Another Sucker [Vocal] (5:17) 1
- Games [Vocal] (3:34)
- If You Feel Like Dancin’ [Instrumental] (7:09)
- Love, Love, Love [Vocal] (3:52)
- If You See Me [Instrumental] (5:41)
- One Man Jam [Instrumental] (6:16)
- You Can Be My Teacher [Vocal] (4:05)
- Running Time
1992 Reissue (Disk 2)
- Games [Instrumental] (3:35)
- Lovin’ Cup (4:18)
- If You See Me [Vocal] (5:41)
- I’ll Always Love You [Vocal] (3:52)
- Better Than You Think [Vocal] (4:29)
- Dance To The Music Of The World [Vocal] (6:03)
- Games [Instrumental] (4:58)
- Better Than You Think [Instrumental] (4:31)
- Running Time
1 Co-written by Prince and Pepé Willie.
2 Released as singles.
Minneapolis Genius – review
Considering Prince was 16 or 17 at the time of recording this, it is seriously impressive stuff. The album captures Prince at his roots. Pre-discovery, pre-Warner, and recorded over the year when he was renting his first home in a nondescript corner of Minneapolis when a jobbing session musician. The album largely comprises of funk laden dance grooves – certainly nothing wrong there – kicking off with a seven-minute jam If You Feel Like Dancin’, a true old school down and nasty tight-ass track, complete Prince’s trademark dirty keys. We slow down for the wonderfully smooth second track, Lovin’ Cup, the first of two tracks with vocal accompaniment (no, neither with Prince). What is impressive throughout is the mark of Prince’s professionalism – picking out his instruments he is solidly on point always. Prince’s track is Just Another Sucker, which rises and falls with a melody reminiscent of In Love. Now, we are the first to acknowledge this site is biased in this next comment, this is the album’s best track. Cymone’s bass is delicious throughout and just makes you wonder what the school hall at Grand Central High would have been like on prom night. Dance To The Music Of The World has great electronic flourishes. This is the work of a highly accomplished Minneapolis genius indeed – full of the confidence and the same flair we got to know all too well. Closing with One Man Jam a deep groove with touches of Sexy Dancer, you are swept away to a 70s paradise and wishing you could turn back time and straight on to that disco ball spotted dancefloor, to start the next 40 year ride with Prince all over again.
Minneapolis Genius is rated 3.5 out of 5 by Goldies Parade.
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