When someone asks you if you’re a god, you say yes—and the same goes when Prince asks if you want to hear the blues. Posing that question and hearing no dissenters, Prince let rip with a cover of “The Sweeter He Is,” a 1969 song by Isaac Hayes and David Porter that was originally recorded by the Soul Children (above) for the legendary Stax label.
The Purple One was apparently happy enough with the soulful saunter he and his band 3RDEYEGIRL achieved that he dropped a recording of the take as a free download yesterday via Twitter. The recording is “NOT4SALE”—not that anyone would be too tempted to try to bootleg this muddy mix, which sounds like a live rehearsal take pulled from a soundboard.
Declining to explore the homoerotic territory that would be breached by a straightforward cover, Prince swaps the title’s masculine pronoun for the feminine. (“You made me feel like a queen” also becomes “You made me feel like a king.”)
“The sweeter she is,” Prince croons, “the longer the pain is gonna last.” She must have been something, because Prince and the band let this slow jam spin out for seven-plus minutes, even longer than the epic original (conciseness never having been Isaac Hayes’s specialty). Whether this new track constitutes pleasure or pain is…well, let’s say it’s in the ear of the beholder.
The new recording comes just two days before Prince and 3rdEyeGirl open Paisley Park’s doors for an all-night pajama party.