The Joup Friday Album: Dump ‘The Skinny Motherfucker With the High Voice?’

Album cover for the album 'The Skinny Motherfucker With the High Voice? by Dump (James McNew of Yo La Tengo) an album of Lo-Fi Pronce cover versions.

Album cover for the album ‘The Skinny Motherfucker With the High Voice?’ by Dump (James McNew of Yo La Tengo) an album of Lo-Fi Prince cover versions.

Maybe this is all down to Lemmy. So impervious was he for so long, that Death was fended off, expending all his efforts and ingenuity trying to bring the man down. This most prized scalp finally secured, the Reaper was free to run amok, indiscriminately scything down anyone of any cultural significance, resulting in this Celebritygeddon we’ve been suffering since Christmas.

Having been charged with the task of assembling this Friday’s Album recommendation, I felt it unconscionable not to acknowledge the passing of such a monolithic figure from my life’s landscape, despite being unable to describe myself as a ‘fan’ in the truest sense of the word. Which isn’t to say that I wasn’t and am not, such was the might of his impact, and expanse of his oeuvre.

Having been born the year his self-titled album was released, my own arrival into sentience coalesced with his ascent into stratospheric stardom, and as a child I recall exploring the houses of parents’ friends, where Prince dwelled among the Pierrot the Clown duvets and Cabbage Patch Kids that inhabited the alien bedrooms of their adolescent daughters.

Whereas the similarly ubiquitous Michael Jackson might have had the more immediately appealing moves or more palatable singles, Prince was the boundary-demolishing advancement of culture, screaming out of the TV like the result of a three-way between Little Richard, James Brown and Jimi Hendrix, brazenly appropriating the title and attire of 18th Century Eastern European nobility. While Michael dominated the centre ground, Prince was conquering the world on his own terms, with a deeply layered and wholly idiosyncratic aesthetic, and more importantly, music that was – and still is – wildly progressive.

In an age where the only comparable personalities have such a small percentage of his talents – namely an overinflated ego based on an ability to make words that they thought of by themselves, attesting to their greatness, coming out of their mouths in time (and tune, pretty much) with the re-appropriated music of others – Prince was pushing not only the boundaries of societal perceptions of sexuality (decades before the phrase ‘gender fluidity’ was even coined), but of what pop music could be. Ultimately the industry and world would turn out of sync with what he was prolifically outpouring, and his endeavours would predominantly fill the archives of Paisley Park, hopefully to be made accessible to the world for the rest of (and probably beyond) our lifetimes.

As I said earlier, I’m not quite the back catalogue aficionado, coming to my own particular appreciation after finally seeing ‘Purple Rain’ on late night TV in my teens, which resulted in an adoration of that soundtrack and a dalliance in his resulting recordings, but culminated in a fascination of his filmic output and a quest, a decade ago, to locate each of his cinematic forays on videotape. This took the greater part of a year, but resulted in one of the most magical moments in my life when, after months of trying to locate the final elusive video release, I approached the last charity shop in the outlying towns of the Greater Manchester area that I had been scouring after a long day, turned to my girlfriend and said words to the effect of “I am going to walk in to this shop, and return with ‘3 Chains O’ Gold’. I walked in, located the shelf with the videotapes, outstretched my finger, scanned from left to right down three shelves until the last tape…

Anyone with an appreciation of His Royal Violet will know there is no YouTube availability of his music, so I offer this excellent collection of James McNew’s (Yo La Tengo’) 2001 release of 4 Track Prince covers, which hold aloft his songwriting brilliance in stripped down form, and also deftly illustrates one of us many white boys trying desperately to emulate him in our bedroom.

Tag, Tommy.

Chester Whelks

Chester Whelks

Chester Whelks is a peripheral figure on the fringes of existence. Predominantly bothering the local music scene of his native Manchester, England, he has a very finely attuned Justice-button, and knows how to call a spade a ‘Multi-Purpose Murder/Concealment Device’.

3 Responses to The Joup Friday Album: Dump ‘The Skinny Motherfucker With the High Voice?’
  1. Shawn C. Baker Reply

    Not only is this an A-Mazing entry into the annals of Friday Album pieces, but what just happened at the end in the comments made MY day. Magic!

  2. Chester Whelks Reply

    Wow, in light of my own little self indulgent Prince-coincidence detailed at the end of this, your comment makes me exceptionally happy at this happenstance. I decided on this album while writing, originally intending to just write an appreciative piece but realising this might have been on YouTube. Had a feeling you’d have already heard of this, or would have loved it if you hadn’t.

  3. Tommy Reply

    Holy shit! I just posted about this record on my blog in lieu of posting the original Prince jams! Love this album, and love the mutual wavelength spanning an ocean.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

EnglishFrenchGermanItalianPortugueseRussianSpanish