.

R-2055415-1261289263.jpegNow that Prince has passed, a thought occurred to me. Perhaps The Time has won the eternal struggle to be the coolest cool thing in Minneapolis in the Purple Rain movie-universe. Really, I’ve always thought of them as an adversary to my man The Kid. In my mind I know that isn’t the case, that Morris Day and Prince were friends – and even that The Time was more of an offshoot of Prince than anything else.

Prince guided the band, hell – he even put them together. Prince’s contract with Warner Brothers let him act as a recruiter and artist developer, so he creaqted the Time from artists he knew around his hoetown scene. They were kind of an outlet for his creativity even when he had moved past the funky fresh sound of the late 70s/very early 80s.

“What Time Is It” dropped at the end of 1982. That was a year before Purple Rain came out, and Prince was still best known for funky ass movers like “I Wanna Be Your Lover.” Even after the purple one had moved on to more elevated artistic pursuits, the Time helped his funky side live on. They were funk rock kings in their own right, and only flourished more with Prince as a guide. The band eventually couldn’t live under the thumb of the Purple one, and split. And reformed. Quite a few times, actually.R-2055415-1261289273.jpeg

But this is about “What Time Is It” – the before they were huge album that is just funky fun for the whole family. The cassette reminds us of a young band, burning to come up in the world (on track “Onedayi’mgonnabesomebody”) and also that “Gigolos Get Lonely Too,” which was the closest thing to a hit the band had before skyrocketing due to Purple Rain. The Prince influence is so overwhelming on this album, that Prince fans might as well just embrace it and add it to his catalog. He wrote and sang a lot of the jams before Morris Day re-recorded the lead vocals. If you want more early Prince to assuage your pain, this cassette is something to collect.