94 East featuring Prince review: Nuggets from the Purple One’s funky teen years
94 East, featuring Prince
94 EAST, FEATURING PRINCE
R&B / Soul
And so it starts – the search for hitherto unknown or rare tracks either written by or featuring Prince Rogers Nelson. 94 East, a funk band co-founded by New York keyboard player Pepé Willie, featured Willie’s 17-year-old cousin, Prince, who was hired primarily as a session player on the basis of his precocious talent.
Digging for varying sizes of gold nuggets in the wake of an artist’s death is nothing new, of course (there is a major reissue programme of Prince albums scheduled for next year and, presumably, for many years to come), but to be fair to Willie, these recordings from 1977 have been reissued before in different shapes and formats. This latest reissue, however, brings more to the table: greater resonance, two new songs and, perhaps, a wider understanding of where Prince got and developed his funk from.