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Reply #30 posted 06/03/16 1:48pm

EnDoRpHn

BartVanHemelen said:


The master of the 1994 release is AFAIK exactly the same as the one used in 1987.


How would you know? The original was only pressed on vinyl. CD releases in the 1980s tended to follow LP releases by at least a few (if not several) months.

IIRC, Lovesexy was his first album released directly to CD.
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Reply #31 posted 06/03/16 1:51pm

EnDoRpHn

RaspBerryGirlFriend said:

For those of you who had bootlegs of the original 1988 pressing, how did the sound compare to the 1994 CD release? I've often heard it said here that the mastering on the 1994 edition was pretty lousy and lacks bottom end, so I've often wondered if the mastering those old bootlegs was any better. Mind you I guess many of those tapes would have been several generations down from an original copy so that might have negated any advantages the original master might have had.


My original boot was a heavily-duplicated copy from cassette. The best one I found was a tape copy from an original LP. (This was back in 1988.)

My impression in 1994 was that he deliberately engineered it to sound like a bootleg: very flat with no bottom end and very little definition. This is especially apparent in comparison to Lovesexy, his first direct-to-CD release, which has similar arrangements and production.
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Reply #32 posted 06/03/16 1:57pm

OnlyNDaUsa

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I heard of it on MTV news... they said something like "Prince is releasing a new album called the Black album it is said to be a funk album with x rated lyrics" a short time later they said it had been "shelved indefinitely"

Lore has it that Prince did not want anyone to know it was him at first. It was allegedly showing up on release lists as a WB album by "Somebody"

I first heard it late 88. I was on a weekend pass and happened to go to a record swap meat. I got in for free (I was so early they though i was setting it up) and got 2 black albums. chocolate box, and the jewel box, and 2 interview 7" One was a picture of Prince from the Lovesexy show that was the MTV interview (with a woman asking the questions) and one that i think was peach color with I THINK the same interview)

I loved the black album the others were ok maybe it was the sound? but within a few weeks of that i was getting all kinds of boot legs

another note: my Army dog tags had Lovesexy as the relgion! I acutaly got ordered to get another set i did but i wore the Lovesexy ones the most

The Spike is Real Wear a Mask (this is not the 2nd Wave)
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Reply #33 posted 06/03/16 2:01pm

PeteSilas

OnlyNDaUsa said:

I heard of it on MTV news... they said something like "Prince is releasing a new album called the Black album it is said to be a funk album with x rated lyrics" a short time later they said it had been "shelved indefinitely"

Lore has it that Prince did not want anyone to know it was him at first. It was allegedly showing up on release lists as a WB album by "Somebody"

I first heard it late 88. I was on a weekend pass and happened to go to a record swap meat. I got in for free (I was so early they though i was setting it up) and got 2 black albums. chocolate box, and the jewel box, and 2 interview 7" One was a picture of Prince from the Lovesexy show that was the MTV interview (with a woman asking the questions) and one that i think was peach color with I THINK the same interview)

I loved the black album the others were ok maybe it was the sound? but within a few weeks of that i was getting all kinds of boot legs

another note: my Army dog tags had Lovesexy as the relgion! I acutaly got ordered to get another set i did but i wore the Lovesexy ones the most

Prince supposedly recalled the album after the ecstasy trip and there is also the theory that wb weren't going to lift a finger to promote it and that had an effect. Prince really wasn't selling that well for an artist of his standing at the time. Madonna and MJ were still selling very well while Prince was going more and more out to left field. I think the lovesexy album struggled to go gold at the time and stores wouldn't even stock a naked man on the cover with the flower looking like a weenie.

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Reply #34 posted 06/03/16 2:07pm

GirlBrother

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I can't recall how I knew the album existed.

I half remember there being some blurb in the NME about it.

I definitely remember a bootleg of it being reviewed in Smash Hits magazine in 1987. The review referred to Cindy C as featuring "Sheila E.'s splendidly rattling timbales." That always stuck in my head.

I'm fairly certain I had a copy on a TDK D-60 cassette, by January 1988.

There was a local record store in my hometown which had loads of bootleg tapes under the counter. All the tapes were unlabelled and had a flimsy photocopied insert on thin day-glo paper.

Why the record store put the bootleg tapes under the counter, I don't know... I mean, everybody knew they were there, and you only had to ask for them, for the stoner shop assistant to pull them out. lol

Even just going into that store felt dangerous. They looked like Manson Family members and sold poppers right next to the cash register. I was 15, it was 1988. Going into that record shop felt like walking into a Warhol movie.

I always remember that one of the Prince vinyl bootlegs was called, "When Doves Cry, It's A Sign Of The Times" which always made me laugh. lol

Anyway... When I got home and played that tape I was underwhelmed.

It was hissy and tinny, like listening to a badly tuned AM transistor radio.

Aside from the actual audio quality, I didn't like the music at all. I probably only played it a half dozen times. Bob George was an instant favourite though. I just liked the silliness of it all.

For something labeled as forbidden fruit, it didn't taste all that sweet.

I didn't own a CD player until July 1988. I actually bought CDs before I had a player, so that I'd be ready.

Some time after I purchased the CD player, I went back to the dodgy record store and bought a Black Album bootleg on CD.

I think I may still have the bootleg somewhere.

It had Old Friends 4 Sale and In All My Dreams as stylistically jarring bonus tracks.

The cover was that Controversy-era picture of Prince with his tongue out, sort of making a vagina shape with his hands in white lace gloves. You all know the picture!

Well, the audio quality was much better, and this time around I listened to the album more intently. The sound quality was still bad, but it sounded more like a cassette copy from an FM radio now, instead of a badly-tuned AM radio. lol

It's strange really. I enjoyed hearing The Black Album more, after I'd heard Lovesexy. It seemed less of a stylistic change between Lovesexy and The Black Album, than going from Sign O' The Times to The Black Album.

It's still not a favourite album at all.

I think it was so hyped-up at the time, that it could only ever be a disappointment.

It really was hyped. I remember some crazy woman on late night Channel 4 saying, "Even his unreleased stuff is better than anybody else's released stuff. The Black Album is amazing!" I'm pretty certain Channel 4 randomly had a Prince themed night for no apparent reason in 1987.

I also remember an article about Cat's solo career in Sky Magazine in 1988. The interviewer remarked that Cat bought her own boom box to the photo shoot, playing a cassette copy of the album.

The hype for it was everywhere. It really was.

I'm gonna look for that bootleg CD.
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Reply #35 posted 06/03/16 2:12pm

TheDigitalGard
ener

EnDoRpHn said:

BartVanHemelen said:

The master of the 1994 release is AFAIK exactly the same as the one used in 1987.

How would you know? The original was only pressed on vinyl. CD releases in the 1980s tended to follow LP releases by at least a few (if not several) months. IIRC, Lovesexy was his first album released directly to CD.

There was cd's http://the-black-album.in...lease.html

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Reply #36 posted 06/03/16 2:22pm

GirlBrother

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Behold! The crappy bootleg CD.







I'm pretty certain that Kris Dawson (Chris Dawson?) was a major player in late 80s UK Prince fandom. I think the story went that he finally met Prince and Prince stared at him across a table and said nothing - for like ten minutes. HAHAHAHA!
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Reply #37 posted 06/03/16 2:28pm

tiggerlane

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electrodyne said:

Some questions for everyone: 1. Where, when & how did you first learn of & listen to The Black Album? What were your thoughts on it then-and-now? 2. Do any "old-timers" who traded or bought bootleg cassettes still have their cassettes & sleeves? What was story behind your cassette tape? If so, would anyone mind sharing hi-resolution pictures of your cassettes, please? It's for a project. Feel free to send a private message or post here.

I don't have a picture at the moment...but somehow, I have TWO versions of the Black Album, both on CD. One is the "mp3" version, and the other one I have labeled (in Sharpie) "The Black Album - CD version." I know it must have been about the time I got Crystal Ball - maybe?

I also have a cassette tape that I ordered from the NPG music club, that I kept sealed in the original mailer. I never opened it. I have no idea what tape is in it now. And I don't plan to open it, but pass it down to my daughter.

I forgot to add...these are both on CDs I evidently made at home. So I'm not sure where I got the files, or how I downloaded them. I had a friend who was a Prince fam like me at the time, so it's possible he emailed me the files.

[Edited 6/3/16 14:29pm]

"I gave my love, I gave my life, I gave my body and mind..." - P
Thank you for the gifts - we will all meet again, dear Prince.
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Reply #38 posted 06/03/16 2:41pm

EnDoRpHn

TheDigitalGardener said:

EnDoRpHn said:

BartVanHemelen said: How would you know? The original was only pressed on vinyl. CD releases in the 1980s tended to follow LP releases by at least a few (if not several) months. IIRC, Lovesexy was his first album released directly to CD.

There was cd's http://the-black-album.in...lease.html

Some random Internet site with a section reading "More information needed" is not authoritative information indicating that a CD was released. The entire project was shelved before the release date. As I said in another post, at the time, CD releases typically lagged LPs by several months. Lovesexy was Prince's first release issued on CD simultaneously with LP. All of the mentions on that website refer to LP copies.

If there had been CD copies, the bootlegs circulating back in 1988 would have been much cleaner. Most of them were sourced from duplicated promo cassettes or crackly cassette recordings of the LP.

[Edited 6/3/16 14:44pm]

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Reply #39 posted 06/03/16 2:46pm

aalloca

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emesem said:

Cool story.

I read about it in the Village Voice reviewed by none other than Nelson George. (I had no idea who he was then)

17 year old me picks up phone and calls Village Voice and asks for "Nelson George". Mr. George picks up and I say "Hey where did you get the Black Album?" and he says. "Oh. just go to Revolver Records in the Village". I'm like "ok, thanks, man"

And thus started my introduction to the dark magical world of bootlegs and concert video VHSs etc....sigh....good times.

BOOM ........ my fav record store of all time........ Revolver West 8th! Best Prince selection around.

Music is the best...
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Reply #40 posted 06/03/16 2:47pm

EnDoRpHn

electrodyne said:

Some questions for everyone: 1. Where, when & how did you first learn of & listen to The Black Album? What were your thoughts on it then-and-now? 2. Do any "old-timers" who traded or bought bootleg cassettes still have their cassettes & sleeves? What was story behind your cassette tape? If so, would anyone mind sharing hi-resolution pictures of your cassettes, please? It's for a project. Feel free to send a private message or post here.

1. I read about it in Billboard magazine, probably only a few weeks before the original scheduled Dec. 1987 release date. My recollection is that the article was titled something like "Is new WB record really Prince?", and that it noted that WB had only issued a release date for an untitled album with the catalog number.

2. I bought my original bootleg copy at an East Coast used record store that carried lots of bootlegs. Probably in a box somewhere in my attic. Pretty sh!tty copy, but sonically probably not much worse than the official 1994 CD release.

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Reply #41 posted 06/03/16 2:48pm

tish9311

A local R and B station stated that they had a special treat for Prince fans. Then they said listend on Thursday at midnight for the Black Album. So I had time to get my cassette tapes and tape recorder ready. That Thursday night I taped it and that tape is in a box with my old radio dj tapes and school projects.

Beautiful, Loved and Blessed

Thank You Prince
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Reply #42 posted 06/03/16 3:41pm

OnlyNDaUsa

avatar

PeteSilas said:

OnlyNDaUsa said:

I heard of it on MTV news... they said something like "Prince is releasing a new album called the Black album it is said to be a funk album with x rated lyrics" a short time later they said it had been "shelved indefinitely"

Lore has it that Prince did not want anyone to know it was him at first. It was allegedly showing up on release lists as a WB album by "Somebody"

I first heard it late 88. I was on a weekend pass and happened to go to a record swap meat. I got in for free (I was so early they though i was setting it up) and got 2 black albums. chocolate box, and the jewel box, and 2 interview 7" One was a picture of Prince from the Lovesexy show that was the MTV interview (with a woman asking the questions) and one that i think was peach color with I THINK the same interview)

I loved the black album the others were ok maybe it was the sound? but within a few weeks of that i was getting all kinds of boot legs

another note: my Army dog tags had Lovesexy as the relgion! I acutaly got ordered to get another set i did but i wore the Lovesexy ones the most

Prince supposedly recalled the album after the ecstasy trip and there is also the theory that wb weren't going to lift a finger to promote it and that had an effect. Prince really wasn't selling that well for an artist of his standing at the time. Madonna and MJ were still selling very well while Prince was going more and more out to left field. I think the lovesexy album struggled to go gold at the time and stores wouldn't even stock a naked man on the cover with the flower looking like a weenie.

WB was cool with Prince. they let him put out 2 madhouse abums, a double album, a movie, and a the black album. so whatever issues Prince was having it was not WB's Fault.

The Spike is Real Wear a Mask (this is not the 2nd Wave)
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Reply #43 posted 06/03/16 3:44pm

TheDigitalGard
ener

EnDoRpHn said:

TheDigitalGardener said:

There was cd's http://the-black-album.in...lease.html

All of the mentions on that website refer to LP copies.

If you bother to scroll down the page to which I linked to, you will see clear info on a cd pressing.

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Reply #44 posted 06/03/16 3:47pm

TheDigitalGard
ener

TheDigitalGardener said:

EnDoRpHn said:

All of the mentions on that website refer to LP copies.

If you bother to scroll down the page to which I linked to, you will see clear info on a cd pressing.

And if you need further proof, check the BA page at this site (can't link to the actual page) http://sleevographia2.fre...ercher.htm

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Reply #45 posted 06/03/16 3:55pm

PeteSilas

OnlyNDaUsa said:

PeteSilas said:

Prince supposedly recalled the album after the ecstasy trip and there is also the theory that wb weren't going to lift a finger to promote it and that had an effect. Prince really wasn't selling that well for an artist of his standing at the time. Madonna and MJ were still selling very well while Prince was going more and more out to left field. I think the lovesexy album struggled to go gold at the time and stores wouldn't even stock a naked man on the cover with the flower looking like a weenie.

WB was cool with Prince. they let him put out 2 madhouse abums, a double album, a movie, and a the black album. so whatever issues Prince was having it was not WB's Fault.

didn't say it was, that was just one of the stories surrounding the black album. the drug one sounds the most credible in hindsight.

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Reply #46 posted 06/03/16 4:02pm

TheDigitalGard
ener

GirlBrother said:

I'm pretty certain that Kris Dawson (Chris Dawson?) was a major player in late 80s UK Prince fandom. I think the story went that he finally met Prince and Prince stared at him across a table and said nothing - for like ten minutes. HAHAHAHA!

Chris ran the Crystal Ball fanzine and fan club, I'm sure he had a shop too which sold lots of Prince stuff.

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Reply #47 posted 06/03/16 6:53pm

jtfolden

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I knew about the album prior to cancelation via multiple reports in Billboard magazine. The release date came and went and there was more coverage of it being canceled, followed quickly by Billboard publishing a review after they got their hands on an unreleased copy.

I'm pretty sure I had a tape cassette copy within two months of it's intended release date. Then I ordered several vinyl copies (which I turned around and sold through an independent record store here in town thaks to the owner (she was also a huge fan!) not long after... lol.

Somewhere along the way I had two different versions on CD - no later than early '89 I'm pretty sure.

I can't remember where I got them all, though - the cassetee via a trade, the rest through ads in the back of Goldmine magazine maybe???

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Reply #48 posted 06/03/16 6:56pm

MIInsane

First, I remember reading in a magazine that Prince was releasing an x-rated album. There were no other details.

Later on, I saw a segment on "CBS This Morning" about the "hot things of the summer". A kid talked about "The Black Album" and held up a cassette with a xeroxed cover. They played a clip of "When 2 R In Love".

Ended up ordering a vinyl copy on orange vinyl. Sound quality was really good.

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Reply #49 posted 06/03/16 7:01pm

OnlyNDaUsa

avatar

TheDigitalGardener said:

EnDoRpHn said:

All of the mentions on that website refer to LP copies.

If you bother to scroll down the page to which I linked to, you will see clear info on a cd pressing.




this is the one i have... under the sticker it says "Nelson"

http://the-black-album.in...cid=BO-002

[Edited 6/3/16 19:03pm]

The Spike is Real Wear a Mask (this is not the 2nd Wave)
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Reply #50 posted 06/03/16 7:05pm

FunkiestOne

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I am an "old time tape trader" and started trading tapes in about 1985 with people all over the world. I think I got the Black Album on cassette tape in '87 after SOTT came out. It could have been early 1988 before Lovesexy was released. But was one of my best Prince moments ever to listen to that album for the first time.

.

But being a hardcore fan in the 80s was so exciting and rewarding. P had so many surprises for us, and tapes of his concerts, rehearsals, outtakes would arrive in the mail and such wonders when you pessed PLAY. .

.

Thank you, Prince, for that incredible ride you gave us with your music. That was a huge part of my life back then and my main obby and source of fun and joy.

.

.


[Edited 6/3/16 19:09pm]

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Reply #51 posted 06/03/16 7:29pm

Genesia

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electrodyne said:

feeluupp said:

"project" = bootlegger on eBAY lol lol



"Project" in this instance, is a written essay on Prince tape trading via independently-published regional & more widely-circulated Prince fanzines & the postal service, in the mid-1980s through early-1990s. A time before computers & downloading.

If you lived in the culturally void middle-of-nowhere at that time, even learning about an unreleased Prince album - much less finding a cassette copy of it - was a heavy thing. Almost an urban legend. Especially something that was described as super-funky, but also dark and a little bit twisted. Finding a bootleg LP copy meant driving 6 hours to the "weird" record store you heard about, giving them a password, then being led into a small room with all sorts of LP bootlegs from bigger name classic rock artists (think Dylan, Rolling Stones, Grateful Dead, etc.). And lo-and-behold, a small section of Prince bootleg LPs.

I'm not exaggerating about this. There was no EBay. No blogs.

I corresponded & traded tapes with a number of people back in the day. Sometimes you'd get lucky if someone you traded with, would take some time to make a really cool decorative sleeve. These sleeves are the photos I'm politely asking others to share & post here. It was a different time then, and I'm writing about it.

Thank you.


This is totally how I got hooked up with the Black Album: scuzzy hole-in-the-wall wrecks stow in Springfield, IL. I went in to buy Batman and struck up a conversation about Prince with a guy who worked there. I told him the only album I didn't have was the Black Album and he said, "You want it? I can get you a cassette. Come back in a week and I'll have it." He only charged me for the cost of the cassette, itself. The sound quality was terrible (heaven knows how many generations we're talking about). But I was so excited just to have it.
We don’t mourn artists because we knew them. We mourn them because they helped us know ourselves.
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Reply #52 posted 06/03/16 8:12pm

EnDoRpHn

TheDigitalGardener said:

EnDoRpHn said:

All of the mentions on that website refer to LP copies.

If you bother to scroll down the page to which I linked to, you will see clear info on a cd pressing.

I did scroll down the page. Catalog information about a CD is not a physical CD. Show me a physical copy of the original CD, pressed with that catalog number, and I will send you a free postcard.

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Reply #53 posted 06/03/16 8:24pm

Doozer

avatar

I found my copy in a mom and pop record store in Lafayette, Indiana in early 1988. It was a cassette, very hissy, pretty poor quality. The sleeve was black and white and had the photo of Prince from the U Got the Look single on the cover, wearing the white fur coat. It was the configuration that was eventually released in 1994. Like others hear, it was my first exposure to unreleased music. It never crossed my mind that a musician would have finished albums that wouldn't get s proper release.
.
I met a guy who was also in high school in a neighboring Indiana town. He was incredibly connected and had loads of unreleased material, rehearsals, live shows, etc. He gave me a lot of material and sold me other things, including 1999 era outtakes, the Camille album, When Doves Scream rehearsal, Last Heart demo, and a Lovesexy show that had Purple Rain back masked and unlistenable. He had his own "radio show" called New Power Music where he'd record to tape his commentary and play snippets of unreleased songs that he had available. I lost track of him after my family moved to Texas in 1991. Always thought I'd find him here or online but haven't after all these years.
Check out The Mountains and the Sea, a Prince podcast by yours truly and my wife. More info at https://www.facebook.com/TMATSPodcast/
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Reply #54 posted 06/03/16 9:03pm

EnDoRpHn

OnlyNDaUsa said:

TheDigitalGardener said:

If you bother to scroll down the page to which I linked to, you will see clear info on a cd pressing.




this is the one i have... under the sticker it says "Nelson"

http://the-black-album.in...cid=BO-002

[Edited 6/3/16 19:03pm]

That's a bootleg LP copy.

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Reply #55 posted 06/04/16 1:23am

BartVanHemelen

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LEATHRSAIL said:

My feelings about this album then and now havent changed. I have been called out on this site for my view point and was called a liar. That posting my view point was spreading lies because it wasn't in any Per Nelson books <eye roll> I don't need someone to write a book to tell me what my viewpoint should be.

.

If your opinion is contradicted by FACTS, your opinion is wrong. You can claim the sky is green, but that doesn't make it so. Simple as that. Instead you continue to spread your long debunked nonsense as a possibility.

© Bart Van Hemelen
This posting is provided AS IS with no warranties, and confers no rights.
It is not authorized by Prince or the NPG Music Club. You assume all risk for
your use. All rights reserved.
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Reply #56 posted 06/04/16 1:24am

BartVanHemelen

avatar

EnDoRpHn said:

BartVanHemelen said:

The master of the 1994 release is AFAIK exactly the same as the one used in 1987.

How would you know? The original was only pressed on vinyl. CD releases in the 1980s tended to follow LP releases by at least a few (if not several) months. IIRC, Lovesexy was his first album released directly to CD.

.

Utter nonsense. Educate yourself: http://the-black-album.in...lease.html

© Bart Van Hemelen
This posting is provided AS IS with no warranties, and confers no rights.
It is not authorized by Prince or the NPG Music Club. You assume all risk for
your use. All rights reserved.
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Reply #57 posted 06/04/16 1:29am

BartVanHemelen

avatar

EnDoRpHn said:

TheDigitalGardener said:

There was cd's http://the-black-album.in...lease.html

Some random Internet site with a section reading "More information needed" is not authoritative information indicating that a CD was released. The entire project was shelved before the release date. As I said in another post, at the time, CD releases typically lagged LPs by several months. Lovesexy was Prince's first release issued on CD simultaneously with LP. All of the mentions on that website refer to LP copies.

If there had been CD copies, the bootlegs circulating back in 1988 would have been much cleaner. Most of them were sourced from duplicated promo cassettes or crackly cassette recordings of the LP.

[Edited 6/3/16 14:44pm]

.

Another Prince fam refuting evidence and the work of people who have researched this and instead trusting his opinions. There were crystal-clear TBA boots on CD in the early 1990s clearly copied from a CD source.

© Bart Van Hemelen
This posting is provided AS IS with no warranties, and confers no rights.
It is not authorized by Prince or the NPG Music Club. You assume all risk for
your use. All rights reserved.
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Reply #58 posted 06/04/16 2:08am

maplenpg

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I don't know exactly how I knew about it but I used to have NME and Melody Maker delivered weekly so that's most likely. I got my cassette boot from one of the stands that wait around after concerts selling bootleg T-shirts. It was a Prince concert and I could drive so I'm reckoning around 1990. I think I paid £10 for it. I probably still have it somewhere but I don't have it to hand. It was just a bog-standard blank cassette with 'The Black Album' written on in black marker. The quality was excellent and I played that cassette constantly for some time both in the car and my Walkman. Happy days 😀
[Edited 6/4/16 2:09am]
The Org is my playground and y'all are my playmates.
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Reply #59 posted 06/04/16 2:12am

GirlBrother

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EnDoRpHn said:

If there had been CD copies, the bootlegs circulating back in 1988 would have been much cleaner. Most of them were sourced from duplicated promo cassettes or crackly cassette recordings of the LP.


There really were CDs pressed, including a USA longbox package.

These images are from the great (but hard to navigate) Sleevographia site.



















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