Catalog # SAB 360/361/362/363
Release Year 2008
4CD Length 76:25 / 61:43 / 69:18 / 63:21
Date/Venue Outtake / Demo / Alternate
Source Soundboard Recordings
Deane's Comments (rates this release 5.0/5.0)
Sabotage don't turn their hands to studio material very often, and it's a pity as if this is an example of what they are capable of, I wish they'd do it more frequently. Documenting Prince's prolific output from the "purple" era of 1983 to 1985 the quality of the tracks on here is consistently high, however as with collections of this nature the quality will always vary slightly as it relies on what exists and circulates. There is nothing earth-shatteringly new on here, but the presentation, quality and choices of inclusion all add up to making this a really rather sexy release documenting the man's genius over arguably his most creatively diverse period. A release of this nature wouldn't be of much interest without the inclusion of 'Computer Blue', and there are no less than 6 on the opening two discs alone. I've decided to list the timings in my tracklisting above (although they appear to differ to the timings mentioned in The Vault) so as to cause as little confusion about "which version is which" is possible - suffice to say if it exists, and circulates, it's on here.
The majority of Discs 1 and 2 concentrate on the material intended for the Purple Rain film and/or soundtrack with the odd exception, and Discs 3 and 4 feature Prince's compositions intended for his associates. Beginning with a pristine long version 'Erotic City', Disc 1 is my personal favourite of the entire set, not least for the inclusion of the studio-based reworking of the rehearsal performance of 'Electric Intercourse', but also the duo of 'I Would Die 4 U / Baby I'm A Star' which segue into each other as with the album versions (although, it has to be said the segue from one to the other isn't exactly flawless). Disc 2 contains a slight oddity in the form of a 1:07 sample of the instrumental 'Traffic Jam' which appeared in 2008, and makes it's first appearance on a pressed release. It also features the raw St. Louis Park 'Computer Blue' which differs from all others due to it's live/rehearsal nature. Disc 2 closes with a 3:53 edit of the fan-made attempt to create the 14m+ version of 'Computer Blue', and I could quite happily have lived without it being included on the set, but it is what it is.
The two instrumentals titled 'Untitled Instrumental' on Disc 3 are often titled 'Climax', and whilst they are nothing new, I have to give credit in particular to the sound quality of the first version as it's the best I've heard thus far. Likewise 'Sex Shooter' has always suffered from some horrendous crackling/static halfway through the song which, while still being audible, is far reduced than anything I've had the pleasure of hearing before. Disc 3 ends with the 0:17 sample of the uncirculating vocal version of 'Lust U Always'.
Disc 4 is the least interesting disc of the 4 with tracks 1-8 focusing on The Family's material. One of the few real low points of the entire release occurs on 'Toy Box' which suffers from some serious surface noise throughout - as do all versions of the outtake, but following on from some of the stellar quality material on here it sounds all the worse. Credit where credit is due to Sabotage as after the horrendously bad 'Purple Rush 6', I didn't hold out much hope for this release, and they have proved me wrong. Sure, there's nothing on here which doesn't appear on countless other outtake sets, but the quality (give or take a few) throughout is excellent and they have attempted to correct flaws and glitches with some very impressive results.
As a collection of material spanning one particular era, I'd say this release would be hard to beat, and it's certainly the best focusing on this particular era. The booklet is a hefty 22 pages and includes in-depth, detailed information on each and every track included, along with details where appropriate about the corrections Sabotage have made to the particular track. For once, I don't have a single complaint to make and would quite happily have this on repeat for the next few weeks. Hopefully they will turn their attention to more studio outtakes focusing on one particular era in the near future. Whether this is the final volume in the "Purple Rush" collection remains to be seen, however if it is, it would be a fitting release to mark the closing chapter. Lastly, I should mention that this volume also comes with a large cardboard box to house all the Purple Rush volumes 1-7 in a similar vein to the one issued to house the 2008 release "The Indigo Chronicles". All and all the entire Purple Rush series is must own.