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Listen To "Mary Don't You Weep" From Upcoming Prince Album
On June 7, the day Prince would have turned 60, Warner Bros. Records and the Prince Estate announced that nine rare tracks of him singing at the piano in his Minnesota home studio will be released on Sept. 21, titled Piano & A Microphone: 1983. Accompanying the day's special announcement, the track "Mary Don't You Weep" was released from the album, providing a movingly private and up-close listening experience of the artist who inspired so many.
The newly released version of the track was supposedly played live by Prince in the 1990s. We get to hear it in recorded form for the first time from the upcoming posthumous album. Prince's recording of the classic spiritual will also appear over the credits of the not-yet-released Spike Lee film BlacKkKlansman.
"Mary Don't You Weep" has its own track record of providing inspiration.. It was the first track on Aretha Franklin's 1972 album Amazing Grace, which was inducted into the GRAMMY Hall Of Fame in 1999. The spiritual's lyrics of freedom inspired the Paul Simon song "Bridge Over Troubled Water," which earned both Record and Song Of The Year at the 13th GRAMMY Awards.
The nine tracks on Piano & A Microphone: 1983 had been stored on a single cassette tape. The upcoming album's announced track list will also include early versions of "17 Days," "International Lover," "Purple Rain," "Strange Relationship," and a cover version of Joni Mitchell's "A Case Of You," among others.
Prince's career took off to major success soon after these musical ideas were recorded and put away. Prince Estate advisor Troy Carter said, "The Estate is excited to be able to give fans a glimpse of his evolution and show how his career ultimately came full circle with just him and his piano."
Further rarities are expected to be released next year through the Prince Estate's deal with music streaming service Tidal. For now, "Mary Don't You Weep," as the first ambassador of the works in Prince's vault, speaks to us with simple beauty but also with reverberating historic overtones.