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May 14 2017

One Nite Alone… Solo piano and voice by Prince

NPGMC Logo (princevault.com)

NPGMC logo

Preface

On May 14th 2002 One Nite Alone… was released by NPG Records. The physical album was only made available to members of the NPG Music Club, an online Prince community, which was active from 2001 to 2006, through which Prince was able to communicate directly with his fans and release his music. For a yearly contribution of $100,- (lowered to $25,- in the fourth year of its existence) members received (new) music on a monthly basis, physical cd’s and access to exclusive pre-sale for concert-tickets, guaranteeing a (secured) place in front of the stage.

Availibility

Prince - One Nite Alone... NPGMC Flyer (geocities.co.jp)

Prince – One Nite Alone… NPGMC Flyer

Because the physical album was only made available to NPG Music Club members, it is rather rare. This results in, at times, ludicrous amounts of money being asked for an original copy. Even copies (including the artwork) are offered for up to € 50,-. From 2015 to midway 2016 the album was made available on online music service Tidal.

At the time of its release I wasn’t truly convinced of the album, but, since then, it has been raised in my esteem. Contrary to Emancipation, for example, this album turned out to be learning expedition. For me, it still is a ‘Sunday morning’ record; I have to be in the mood for it. Like the subtitle, Solo piano and voice by Prince, makes clear, it’s a Prince solo album, playing piano and doing vocals. It was a kind of precursor to his final tour, titled Piano & A Microphone.

One Nite Alone…

Prince - One Nite Alone... (startribune.com)

Prince – One Nite Alone…

One Nite Alone… is the 25th studio album by Prince. It features songs performed solely by Prince, singing and playing piano. On just two songs, Here On Earth and A Case Of U, he is accompanied by drummer John Blackwell. A Case of U is a cover of the Joni Mitchell song A Case Of You off Mitchell’s classic album Blue from 1971. Mitchell is thanked in the liner notes and the song is dedicated to John L. (Nelson), Prince’s father who passed away on August 25th, 2001. The song Avalanche was somewhat controversial as Prince identifies Abraham Lincoln to be a racist, because he supposedly was never a personal advocate for abolishing slavery and/or rights for the black communities.

Besides John Blackwell, Prince’s doves, Divinity and Majesty, are thanked in the liner-notes: they supplied ambient singing.

As portrayed in the article on The Rainbow Children the name of the One Nite Alone… album was also used for the 2002 tour Prince did in support of The Rainbow Children. During the tour songs off One Nite Alone… were occasionally played, in particular A Case Of U and Avalanche.

Prince - One Nite Alone... cover backside (lipstickalley.com)

Prince – One Nite Alone… cover backside

Songs

  • One Nite Alone…
  • U’re Gonna C Me
  • Here On Earth
  • A Case Of U
  • Have A
  • Objects In The Mirror
  • Avalanche
  • Pearls B4 The Swine
  • Young And Beautiful
  • Arboretum

Trivia

Prince - One Nite Alone... CD label (lipstickalley.com)

Prince – One Nite Alone… CD label

  • One Nite Alone…, U’re Gonna C Me, Here On Earth, A Case Of U and Pearls B4 the Swine were previously (digitally) made available through the NPG Music Club in 2001;
  • U’re Gonna C Me was re-released in 2009, in a different version on the album MPLSound;
  • During an online session on (Prince-site) love4oneanother.com in 1999, Prince was asked whether he would consider releasing a solo piano album, since his skills on the instrument were underestimated and his style was reminiscent of Art Tatum and Bud Powell. Prince replied “Eye so appreciate the compliment. If the demand is there, eye would release a solo piano joint. Get a petition 2gether”;
    (source: princevault.com)
  • This was the first album to be released during the second NPG Music Club year. In total, 4 cd’s would be released (and shipped). The 3 cd box One Nite Alone… Live! was regarded as a fulfillment on that promise. Many fans were upset. In the One Nite Alone… tour program 3 other cd’s were mentioned for release: Xenophobia, Last December and The Very Best Of , which have never seen the light of day (although Xenophobia was later released, be it in a different form).

End judgement

As stated above, at the time of release I was not too pleased with the album, but that changed. I don’t play it very often, but when I do I am impressed by Prince’s achievement. It’s a very intimate album, on which Prince, once again, shows that he resided in a different universe as apposed to his peers. Particularly the songs One Nite Alone…, the beautiful A Case Of U (clearly a favorite of Prince’s, since he played it often), highlight Avalanche and the instrumental Arboretum are my favorites on this album. All in all highly recommended!

In closing

Do you know One Nite Alone…? What’s your opinion? Let me know!

 

2 comments

  1. orpheus

    i heard the album and love it so much. downloaded it but love to get the cd. it reminds me of the old Prince that i used to love. been playing the songs like forever now

    1. A Pop Life (Erwin Barendregt)

      It is indeed a great album, isn’t it?
      Thanks for your reply!

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