213: Willing and Able

Diamonds and Pearls (1991)
It’s a welcome change to turn the spotlight onto one of Prince’s more jubilant songs after writing about three of his bleakest. Willing and Able bursts in like a playful puppy and instantly lights up any room and any mood. It cares not a jot for your hang ups and blues. The chorus, whether Prince consciously knew it or not, comes from a line in Bob Marley’s Is This Love and you can detect a faint reggae rhythm beneath the layers of jazz, funk, hip-hop and gospel. With so many influences at play it’s a small miracle the song is so lithe. It deftly takes the feelgood jazz baton from Strollin’ and dances and sings and does its thing with even more winsome bonhomie. I discovered the video version recently and it was like unexpectedly bumping into my best friend on vacation.