Prince Takes Us All on a Bluesy ‘Ride’
Although Prince had often put older songs on his records, 1998's Crystal Ball was the first time Prince had devoted an entire set (and a three-CD set, at that) to the contents of his famed vault. Buried on the third disc was an innuendo-filled 12-bar blues called "The Ride."
As Prince Vault notes, "The Ride" was first cut in 1993 during a rehearsal at Paisley Park for a CD featuring Prince leading a stripped-down power trio that was slated for inclusion in an issue of Guitar World. However, Warner Bros. balked at the idea -- this took place as he was feuding with the label over his desire to release more music than they would allow -- and blocked the release, even though copies of the disc had been made. However, that rehearsal was worked into a home video that built a story around the performance and was released two years later as The Undertaker.
The song wound up in two other concert videos over the years, Live! The Sacrifice of Victor, highlights from a recording of an aftershow he and the New Power Generation threw at Bagley's Warehouse in London, and as a bonus track on 2003's Live at the Aladdin Las Vegas DVD.
But the version that surfaced on Crystal Ball stemmed from a 1995 concert at Paisley Park that wound up on Love 4 One Another, a VH1 special. Lyrically, it's loaded with a level of double-entendre that you can find at any blues club ("If you like it real slow / I got days / If you wanna take a shortcut / I know the way"), but it provides the framework for Prince to show off on guitar, as he does in the above video from a 2014 concert in Manchester, England.
Prince didn't often fall back on the blues, but he did work blues jams into his concerts from time to time. "Blues In C (If I Had A Harem)" showed up on the 1989's Lovesexy Live 2 video, although his solo owed more to jazz than blues. He occasionally worked Muddy Waters' "Electric Man" into "The Question of U," and "Purple House" was a re-working of Jimi Hendrix's "Red House" released on a tribute album in 2004.
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