After two days of five star music we come back down to Earth a bit with today’s song. While it might not be a masterpiece, instead we get a fun, unique piece of ad-libbed music called “Cloreen Bacon Skin.”
In the early 1980’s Prince and Morris Day worked together constantly. According to The Time bassist and super producer Terry Lewis, “What people don’t know about Morris is that he’s one of the best drummers you’ve ever seen. And one of the funniest cats of all time.” Morris would lay down a funky beat and Prince would go to work writing and generating ideas while the two cracked each other up. On the night of March 27, 1983, engineer Susan Rogers started recording at Prince’s home away from home – Sunset Sound in Hollywood, CA – and Morris got funky. One of Prince’s many alter egos had the name Jamie Starr. “Cloreen Bacon Skin” is Prince’s Jamie Starr voice from start to finish. According to Rogers, Jamie Starr was Prince “imitating guys of his father’s generation. You know, barber shop guys.” When Prince says, “You can’t fuck with me. I’m old,” Rogers says that’s absolutely Prince imitating his dad. Prince doesn’t sing on this song. He just talks a lot of shit, mostly about a fictional woman Prince and Morris created named Cloreen Bacon Skin.
I’d hardly call “Cloreen Bacon Skin” a song, but it sure is enjoyable. It’s just two guys jamming. 15 minutes of Morris Day with some nasty funk on drums while Prince demonstrates the rumble bass style that Revolution bassist BrownMark would master in his time with Prince. While the song never went any further than the ad-libbed version, it did inspire future Prince songs like “Irresistible Bitch” and “Soul Psychodelicide.” It’s rumored that “Cloreen Bacon Skin” was considered for a B-side at one point, but it never happened. Instead, in 1998 Prince released a triple album of unreleased vault material and remixes called Crystal Ball. “Cloreen Bacon Skin” is the oldest recording included in the collection.
Quick tangent: If you like hearing brilliant artists jamming in a studio like “Cloreen Bacon Skin” I have another recommendation. Click this link and prepare to have your mind blown by D’Angelo, Questlove, James Poyser, and Pino Palladino laying down some of the funkiest shit ever put to tape. The tempo increases as the song progresses and Pino’s work has to be heard to be believed.
Like I said above, “Cloreen Bacon Skin” isn’t a song as much as it is Prince talking shit over a great beat. If you’re like me and love to listen to extended jam sessions and how music is made, you’ll dig this. Any peek in to the process of a genius like Prince is appreciated. You get to witness Prince’s sense of humor and Morris Day’s funky ass drumming. I could listen to studio work like this from Prince all day.