Anyone who knows me knows that I am a rather large PRINCE fan. For me, this also extends to his spin-off bands and pretty much anyone who has ever worked with the man.

This past year, two of Prince’s spin-off bands released new material; The Family and the Time (the names are different now but more on that later).

Let’s start with The Time. This was a project Prince created as an outlet for music in the vein of his earlier work (while he explored other styles). They were built from a group of Minneapolis musicians from other bands and went on the great success. After four albums, the band and its members started to drift apart. Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis went on to great success and fame as record producers. Lead singer Morris Day went solo and also dabbled in acting in television and film.

The band re-formed in 1990 around the release of Graffiti Bridge, the sequel to the hit film Purple Rain. The album Pandemonium spawned their highest selling single “Jerk Out.” The Time disbanded once again soon after.

It took until 2012 for the original seven members of The Time to get back to the studio and create some of that Minneapolis Funk that audiences loved back then. The problem now is that Prince will not let them use the name “The Time.”  So their new album Condensate is by The Original 7ven. According to the band’s website, they are in this project for the long haul and have big plans for 2013. Although, they have apparently lost one of their members so…The Original 6ix?

The album hits all the right beats for a fan of The Time. From the hilariously huge ego of the lead singer Morris Day to the classic guitar sounds of Jesse Johnson…it is just as funky as the old stuff.

The Family was another Prince spin-off in the post-Purple Rain days. The band was originally put together with remnants of The Time’s mid- 80’s breakup. The line-up of The Time members (Jellybean JohnsonJerome Benton, and Paul Peterson) were on board, and with the addition of Susanna Melvoin (twin sister of Prince’s then guitarist) the band was created. The band’s claim to fame (in my eyes and ears) is the song “Nothing Compares 2 U.” That song was, of course, made famous by Sinead O’Connor but was done first (and best, just ask ME) by The Family.

Years later, The Family (minus Jerome Benton who is with The Original 7ven) has reformed under the moniker FDELUXE. Their new album, Gaslight, combines the essence of the original Family sound paired with the subsequent influences of its members. I used to refer to the original family album as “Art Deco-Funk.” I am not sure exactly what I meant by that all those years ago but, like The Original 7ven, the Fdeluxe crew really found a way to give a new musical experience and keep the flavor of the original band intact. The arrangements were so good that I didn’t miss the orchestral arrangements of Clare Fischer, which were so well done on the original. This album was put together on a budget and the band could not afford to hire him (Mr. Fischer also passed away in January of 2012).

Because of the band name changes and the sheer volume of new music that gets released each day you might have missed these two. Both albums are available on Sonic Tap.

– Submitted by Jose Brown, Sonic Tap