On what would have been the late artist's 60th Birthday, Prince's estate has confirmed details of a new album-length release. Piano & a Microphone 1983, out September 21 on Warner Bros, is a nine-song collection of solo recordings that Prince laid down at home in the time between 1999 and Purple Rain, as his fame gave way to superstardom. The songs have been kicking around for years on a bootleg called Intimate Moments with Prince. They will now form the first official posthumous Prince release since last year's deluxe edition of Purple Rain.
The first single from the album, released this morning, is a cover of "Mary Don't You Weep," an early spiritual first recorded in 1915 and first made famous by The Caravans in the mid-'50s. The Piano & a Microphone version starts off with a jittering jazz piano and a high-up falsetto, but it wanders around over the next five minutes as Prince dips into his lowest register and bounds around the keys. The audio seems to disintegrate for a minute or so in the middle, but it recovers soon enough.
Piano & a Microphone 1983 will also feature stripped-down versions of "Purple Rain" and "International Lover." Listen to "Mary Don't You Weep" below.
Follow Alex Robert Ross on Twitter.