319: Just Another Sucker

Unreleased (1978) / Minneapolis Genius (1986)
In the late seventies, before his solo career skyrocketed, Prince recorded a series of tracks with his cousin’s husband, Pepé Willie. Largely these early studio excursions are best left for the completist but there is one song that demands attention and not just because it’s the only one claiming a co-writing credit from a certain Mr Nelson. Flaunting this attribution, Just Another Sucker spearheaded various repackagings of these sessions over the years (eight reissues with six different album titles and counting) and while it can’t carry a whole album (never mind eight) the song’s an enjoyable, fresh-sounding forerunner of the Minneapolis sound from a soon-to-be Hot New Thing, barely twenty-one. The funk flows thick and fast as the band taps into a gushing vein; an underground stream of talent that will soon flood the chart plains. Despite its high quality, I’d wager this historical song doesn’t receive a lot of play from the Prince faithful, not helped by Prince’s annoyance that it ever resurfaced. I know I’ve left the album to languish in the attic with my boxed-up CD collection, never bothering to digitise it, but a 1978 demo of Just Another Sucker lives on in my music library, getting regular playlist love. A candid snapshot of a rising legend before the song was reworked and wrung dry for cash and legacy capital by a snubbed mentor.