‘Mutiny’ Unleashes a Fully Armed and Operational Horn Section
If the world at large has any memory of the self-titled 1986 debut album by the Family, it’s because of the song “Nothing Compares 2 U,” which Sinead O’ Connor took to the top of the charts four years later.
But that might not even be the best song on the album.
Consideration for that honor must also be given to "Mutiny," a dazzling blast of horn-charged funk that Prince loved enough to perform live as recently as 2014.
Assembled partially from the remaining members of the recently disbanded Time, with keyboardist St. Paul Peterson moving over to lead vocals alongside Susannah Melvoin, The Family was conceived as yet another vessel for Prince's songwriting overflow.
Although he wrote or co-wrote all but one of the album's tracks, the only one Prince took credit for in the liner notes was "Nothing Compares 2 U." The album marked two important milestones for the purple one; it was his first time working with both saxophonist Eric Leeds and string composer Clare Fischer.
The Family didn't catch on with the record-buying public, so Prince added Leeds, Melvoin (who was now performing in the same group as her twin sister Wendy) and guitarist Miko Weaver into a new version of the Revolution, along with trumpet player Atlanta Bliss, former Morris Day foil Jerome Benton and dancers / backup singers Wally Safford and Greg Brooks.
While some of the genre-blending diversity of the Purple Rain days had been sacrificed - particularly the emphasis on icy synthesizers and rock guitar - this expansion transformed the Revolution into an amazingly strong horn-charged R&B group.
Bootleg video footage of "Mutiny" from the professionally-filmed June 7 Detroit stop on the tour shows just how impressive this outfit was. Trading his wild curls and purple-and-white lace-adorned outfits for slicked-back hair and a sharp yellow suit, Prince effortlessly commands both the stage and his new ensemble, as Bliss and Leeds punctuate every one of this declarations of heartbreak with sharp, powerful blasts.
Unfortunately, not many fans got to witness this spectacle in person. The Parade tour only visited nine American cities, and another dozen overseas, in the spring and summer of 1986. (Put us in charge of the vaults, and we promise that Detroit show will be the very first thing that gets released.)
Soon after, Prince disbanded the Revolution altogether and got to work on his 1987 masterpiece Sign O' the Times, which featured a live version of "It's Gonna Be a Beautiful Night' (later augmented in the studio) from the Paris stop of the Parade tour.
The horn section of Leeds and Bliss, along with Dr. Fink, Weaver and the trio of Benton, Brooks and Safford remained in the now-unnamed band for the tour in support of Sign O' the Times, which found Prince strongly re-incorporating rock guitar back into his new, more organic sonic palette.
The Family reformed under the name fDeluxe in 2011, and have released four albums since that time.
Prince Albums Ranked in Order of Awesomeness