loader image
Artwork by Reverend

Diamonds And Pearls SDE hides unreleased Prince album

It was in Paris at a Diamonds and Pearls tour show on 10 July 1992 that I had the most transcending live concert experience of my life...

By Nickfunk

I became a fan in 1988 and like many others, I believe that Prince’s art never got close to the heights of his Dirty Mind to Lovesexy period. Yet, it was in Paris at a Diamonds and Pearls tour show on 10 July 1992 that I had the most transcending live concert experience of my life.

As I never thought that Diamonds and Pearls was a top-notch album (I rank it as slightly better than Batman and Graffiti Bridge, but less satisfying than the following three efforts), I had no great expectations for this Super Deluxe Edition (SDE) release. I will point at a few flaws at the end, but first I will have a go on why I find this release so enjoyable.

The video of the Glam Slam show

Okay, first the obvious: the video of the Glam Slam show is really off the hook. Prince previewing the Diamonds and Pearls tour in his club in Minneapolis to a crowd that did not pay to see him that night; the first live performances of the then-unreleased “The Sacrifice of Victor” and “Sexy MF”; Prince’s fine playing and dancing, proving his unparalleled showmanship throughout the show including with a super energetic appearance at the bar and on the bar during “Push”; the great chemistry he had with his band members and, finally, the fantastic filming make this performance nothing less than historic and something that many fans will cherish and go back to over the years.

Diamonds And Pearls SDE hides unreleased Prince album 1
Stills from the 01/11/92 Glam Slam show

Unheard nuggets from the Vault

But the reason why I like this SDE more than any other so far lies in the vault material. That may sound strange, but here is what got me so hooked. Having been interested in Prince’s music and unreleased material for decades, what gets me most interested in these kinds of releases is the completely unheard tunes, while I care less for Prince’s versions of songs released by other artists (hereinafter the Originals) or for alternate takes of album tracks.

Hence, I concentrated on the 7 or 8 songs (depending if you count “Darkside” and “Blood on the Sheets” as one or two songs) that were new to me: “Streetwalker”, “Lauriann”, “Darkside”, “Blood on the Sheets”, “Trouble”, “Alice Through the Looking Glass”, “Hey U”, and “I Pledge Allegiance to Your Love”.

Is there any masterpiece among those? Hardly, but I liked all of them albeit to different degrees. Perhaps what I enjoyed most is the variety of styles and musical genres in these songs, something Prince got us used to, or rather spoiled us with, in many of his albums.

Of course, I gave a spin to all the other songs and what a pleasure it was to get to a perfectly sounding “Open Book”, a song that considering its sheer quality (both musically and lyrically) Prince should have never given away. Instead, I always thought that “Open Book” could have been a fantastic closing number for a Prince album.

Would it be possible to assemble a decent Prince album revolving around the new outtakes and “Open Book”?

Assembling the hidden Open Book album

I then started to think: would it be possible to assemble a decent Prince album revolving around the new outtakes and “Open Book”, striving to find the best possible sequencing also by adding a few other songs included in this release?

I started working on it and after a few weeks of tweaking the order and adding or removing a couple of tunes, here is the result. Tentatively titled Open Book.

Diamonds And Pearls SDE hides unreleased Prince album 2

Clocking at about 78 minutes, these fifteen songs would fill a single CD and if it had been released as an album, it would not be Prince’s best post-eighties work, but probably not his worst either.

But first: why select “Schoolyard”, “Work That Fat”, “Something Funky (This House Comes)”, “Letter 4 Miles” as well as the Originals “Pain”, “Get Blue”, “Tip O’ My Tongue (besides “Open Book”)”? Well, the first ones because they were either slated for inclusion in the Diamonds and Pearls album or are one-off Prince tracks never intended for other artists. Thus, they arguably represent well where Prince’s creativity was at in that period of time. As for the four Originals, I retained those that could add quality to the set and that most fans would not immediately associate with another artist, which is arguably the case with Martika’s tracks or with “The Voice” and “Standing at the Altar” that brings immediately Mavis Staples and Margie Cox to mind.

The songs and the music of Open Book

When playing the Open Book selection, you may be surprised to listen to a very entertaining, if not 100% cohesive, piece of work spanning from funk to pop and hard rock, while also venturing into jazz and classy blues.

There is some great intensity, vibe and musical ideas in the slow numbers “Pain” (priceless when Prince ad-libs), “Letter 4 Miles” (makes you travel all the way forward to the mood of “The Rainbow Children” song), “Get Blue” (outstanding singing and piano playing) and “I Pledge Allegiance to Your Love” (perhaps the real hidden gem of the unheard outtakes of this SDE).

“Lauriann” is not a pop-rock classic, but it is perhaps only marginally inferior to a similar-sounding album track such as “The One U Wanna C”, while “Hey U” seems to have elements in common with both “Vavoom” and “Get Yo Groove On”, but it sounds more accomplished and has aged better to my ears.

“Work That Fat”, “Something Funky (This House Comes)” and “Alice Through the Looking Glass” bring the right dose of funkiness to the fore, with the first being remarkable for having as the main character a sort of funny Bob George’s cousin. For as much as I like Rosie Gaines’ voice, I enjoy more this “Rosie-less” version of “Something Funky (This House Comes)” than the previously circulating outtake, as it becomes an irresistible instrumental band jam already halfway through, while “Alice Through the Looking Glass” has a Pheromone-like hypnotic feel to it, which never gets me tired.

“Alice Through the Looking Glass” has a Pheromone-like hypnotic feel to it, which never gets me tired.

“Tip O’ My Tongue” brings a lighter feeling to the collection and is the more easy listening – and perhaps least remarkable – track included here (but it does sport a great sax hook melody), while “Blood on the Sheets” (preferred here to the more rehearsal sounding “Darkside”) surprises us with a very timely grunge feel, making it not unthinkable to see it featured in an early Nirvana record.

While not a masterpiece, “Streetwalker” is damn groovy and has some great keyboard playing, while “Trouble” has little melody to it, but it hooks you with that haunting sound and the spelling out of the letters (T-R-O-U-B-L-E) is a nice connecting thread with the later appearing “Get Blue” (B-L-U-E).

As mentioned above, the song “Open Book” may just well be the absolute highlight here, while “Schoolyard” works really well as an opener and is just a pleasure to listen to Prince’s witty (if not nasty) storytelling in pristine quality and with the great additional vocals by Rosie.

Besides the kaleidoscopic nature of this compilation, I go back and listen again and again to these songs (yes, exactly in this order…) because of the strong songwriting with some great melodies in several songs and for the masterful musicianship throughout, underpinned by notable solos. A feature perhaps not immediately noticeable is that no less than nine of the songs on Open Book are built on keys or piano lines and often include solos – with the ones on “Pain”, “Streetwalker” and “Get Blue” standing out, in particular. But while predominant throughout, this is not a fully-fledged piano/keyboards collection as some real fine guitar playing comes to the fore in different styles in at least six songs, with the endless funky rhythm guitar and solos in “Something Funky (This House Comes)” – probably performed by Levi – being a clear winner for me.

The Diamonds and Pearls SDE’s flaws

What could have done better in this SDE release? First, videos were really becoming important for Prince in this era and therefore the visual section should have been more complete (why not 2 blue rays?) by adding the Get Off video collection, as well as the Arsenio Hall and MTV Awards legendary performances.

Second, it is a mystery why not include a different show from the Diamonds and Pearls tour instead of having the same Glam Slam show also on CDs/LPs.

Third, the studio material: I am convinced that just about all edits of released singles bear no interest for most fans. And once these edits take the space of more interesting b-sides (such as “Q in Doubt” and “Clockin’ the Jizz”), it becomes hard to follow the logic of the Estate.

Finally, and with regard to the outtakes: I would think best to get all songs in the Vault from this period that were not intended for other artists such as “Uh Huh” or “Player”, as they may otherwise remain in the Vault forever. Conversely, at least some of the Originals tracks, so well represented in this SDE, could have been put aside for future Originals releases.


But now a legitimate question that could come to mind: why try to assemble a fantasy Prince unreleased album with the material included in this Diamonds and Pearls SDE and not with the previous ones? Well, the Purple Rain SDE had only 2 or 3 never-heard-before songs, while the 1999 SDE had more but – while highly enjoyable – they had a much more uniform sound, the majority of them falling in the rockabilly category. As for the Sign O’ The Times SDE, I am not entirely sure but perhaps the fact that there were so many shelved albums around that time (Dream Factory, Crystal Ball, Camille) did not spark my interest in imagining another Prince opus back then.

I may give it a try in the future, but for now I will keep getting my purple groove on with this fine Open Book hidden album, imagining how cool it would have been if Prince had put something like this on a CD-R and just sold it at the Diamonds and Pearls shows, making that 10 July 1992 even more special to me.

– Nickfunk

Diamonds And Pearls SDE hides unreleased Prince album 3

Diamonds And Pearls Super Deluxe Edition

Diamonds And Pearls is the thirteenth studio album by Prince, and was the first with his new backing band, The New Power Generation. Featuring six massive international singles, including the hits “Gett Off”, “Cream”, and the iconic title track.

— Nickfunk
Hi, just a moment...

Have you enjoyed reading so far? We are a non-profit, ad-free Prince fansite, and we like it keep it that way. Would you consider buying some of our funky merchandise to support us? Thank you!


About the author


Nickfunk is a nomad Italian having lived in Italy, France, Belgium, Chile and Brazil and visited many other places. Currently living and working in Brussels he still enjoys travelling - which he rates as the highest form of culture - while listening to music and going to live concerts remain central among his interests.


    • Yes indeed nice review and thoughts ;), 1 tiny suggestion i would have preferred a closer to the released Margie Cox Standing at the Altar version aswell, lets hope the new PR will have all those missing alternate/uncut/full versions, Make Love not War!

  • A hidden album between Purple Rain and Sign O’ The Times would be Roadhouse Garden. I’d be interested in your compilation for this collection.


  • Your opening statement discredits the rest of your article. D&P is without contest a much stronger opus than Lovesexy, judging by the international acclaim the album received but also by how stratospheric the tour was in terms of sales.
    The band was also the best he ever had and you can hear the much elevated musicianship qualities throughout the album as well as the live shows.
    It’s your site and as such you can write whatever you want but don’t expect us to rate your content when it’s filled with so much emotional bias which unfairly trashes an era that is arguably one of Prince’s best and one that saved his career.

    • Hi AJ, a couple of things. We did not ask you to rate our content. Also, this article (and his sincere opinion) has been written by guest author Nickfunk. You’re free to disagree of course. Furthermore, most of the content on Housequake.com has been contributed by Prince fans. So if you have an interesting piece written yourself, feel free to send us an email: info@housequake.com. Thanks!

Follow Us

Hi, just a moment...

We are a non-profit, ad-free Prince fansite, and we like it keep it that way. Would you consider buying some of our funky merchandise to support us? Thank you!


Latest articles

Latest Comments