Morris Day this weekend. Lead singer and stage bon-vivant of The Time, in concert at The Roxy in West Hollywood, recorded by North German Radio on February 2, 1982.
As Prince exploded on the scene in the early 80s, he brought with him a veritable village of collaborators, off-shoot projects, discoveries and friends.
Morris Day, a friend and early band member with Prince from an early collaboration called Grand Central and later Champagne, before they went in different directions, but still remained close. It was Day who contributed Partyup to Prince’s Dirty Mind album while Day was in another band, the funk group Enterprise. And as a return favor, Prince enlisted Day to be lead singer of his side-project The Time.
The Time was solid Funk/R&B and Day was their charismatic lead singer – whose stylish good looks and exaggerated vanity made him a star attraction – even upstaging Prince on occasion. It was Day’s personality that made him the perfect foil and antagonist for Prince in his film projects; Purple Rain, and Graffiti Bridge, and together with The Time had a successful run.
Sadly, the run was short, as Day left The Time in 1985 to pursue a solo career. He would later go into retirement, re-emerge and continue acting as well as performing.
This concert, from 1982 puts Morris Day and The Time at their formative, just-about-to-hit-it stage, 6 months ahead of their second album What Time Is It? and 9 months before the fabled 1999/Triple Threat tour which was a breakout for them as well as another Prince project Vanity 6.
Unfortunately, not a lot of Morris Day & The Time live shows seem to exist – and it was ironic that this show from the Roxy wound up being broadcast by German Radio, since I don’t think it was ever broadcast here.
A great band that was short-lived, not without controversy, but another important element in the remarkable story of Prince and his vision.
One caveat: The second track, After Highschool fades out about a minute in. Believe it or not, the station was breaking away for the news. And rather than stop the tape, and pick up where they left off, they let it run, so the rest of the song is missing. Otherwise, the rest is in good shape.
Crank it up and enjoy.