Sunday, October 5, 2014

Morris Day and The Time - Jungle Love

With his larger-than-life persona, humor, and style Morris Day was the perfect frontman for The Time.  He was also a tremendous foil for Prince in Purple Rain, but had a tough time translating that to continued commercial success.

The Time began as a Prince side project and provided an outlet for some of his funkier music as he transitioned to rock and pop.  He created the group in 1981, and filled it with talented members of the Minneapolis funk scene, including Morris Day, a childhood acquaintance (who also co-wrote "Partyup" on the Dirty Mind LP).  Most of The Time came from a preexisting R&B act called Flyte Time, which included Jellybean Johnson on drums, Jimmy Jam and Monte Moir on keyboards, and Terry Lewis on bass.  With Morris Day and Jesse Johnson (guitars), the group was complete.

Though The Time released three top 50 albums in the early 1980's, there were issues with Prince from the start.  First, Prince played all of the music on their albums and required that Morris Day sing the songs note-for-note as Prince intended.  There were also problems concerning the pay and the treatment of the band; by 1984 The Time had broken up.

"Jungle Love" may be The Time's best-known song; it reached #20 on the singles chart in 1984.  It is a straight up funk jam that is captured quite well in Purple Rain.  Though it is not the rarest of the rare, it has become something of a forgotten classic.

There have been several Time reunions, starting in 1990 for the Graffiti Bridge movie soundtrack.  The group is currently together, and has been working under the name The Original 7ven since 2001.

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