Prince’s 1978 debut For You is an album that I’ve personally tended to give heavy props to. My friend Henrique has pointed this out many times. Whenever the album is written about,it’s generally described as technically flawless musically. But that the songs tend to plod on in repetitive jams that don’t come across to many as very listenable. One thing about it’s personal appeal here comes from this very quality. It showcases for sure that funk was the bedrock of Prince’s music,with his ability to stay squarely on the one. And that’s not even to mention how much of the Minneapolis Sound is already present here.
It does bare some degree of repeating however that ever since this blog has existed, Prince’s music has not been present on most areas of the internet. And on YouTube in particular. So there was no way to give Prince a proper musical overview by the use of this feature of the blog. Since that is awkwardly showing signs of changing,it is fitting to start discussing the individual songs from the For You album one at a time. There are a few numbers on this album that really helped reshape the face of funk for the coming decade. And one of them was called “Just As Long As We’re Together”.
A drum kick off gives way to a sustained ARP string ensemble showcasing some rolling Minneapolis synth brass over it for the intro. Another kick off brings the song into the uptempo dance beat of the song,underpinned by a percussive slap bass line all the way along. The chorus returns to the instrumentation and melodic sound of the intro-with an acapella break from Prince separating the refrain from the chorus. As with most of his earlier music,Prince’s sings most of this in his falsetto range. On the second refrain however,he drops into a softer version of his lower register he’d use later.
On the second half of the song,Prince plays the melody with a Carlos Santana-like crying tone on lead guitar before going into a hi hat/synth brass heavy drum break that leads into a more minor key version of the chorus. This evolves into Prince singing falsetto vocalese with the synth brass before the song strips down to the slap bass and ringing Afro-Cuban percussion. The synth brass gradually returns-playing continual call and response with Prince’s rapid fire bluesy guitar riffs. The synth brass plays some hot and heavy charts as the groove itself fades on into it’s own aurally purple sunset.
There’s been much talk about how awkward it was for Prince to have all the instruments he played listed when half of them were keyboards of some sort. Instrumentally though,that very much defines this song. Structurally, “Just As Long As We’re Together” isn’t far removed from what melodic funk bands such as Earth Wind & Fire were doing at the time. The difference was the spacier flavors of the futurist synthesizers Prince had playing his horn charts. Prince’s ability to take a style of funk prevalent at the time and making it his own showcases his early adaptability with a good groove.