Prince Reveals the Greatest Bromance Ever Sold on ‘Poorgoo': 365 Prince Songs in a Year
To celebrate the incredibly prolific, influential and diverse body of work left behind by Prince, we will be exploring a different song of his each day for an entire year with the series 365 Prince Songs in a Year.
“Poorgoo” (also listed as “Poor Goo” in a later live incarnation) was the second song in The Undertaker, a Prince movie released by Warner Home Video in the U.K. on March 6, 1995. It was recorded much earlier, on June 14, 1993, at Paisley Park Studios. The track is from Prince’s brief but brilliant blues guitar era that kicked off with “Peach” and lasted through the Come and Chaos and Disorder albums. According to PrinceVault, another bluesy classic, “Calhoun Square” (released on Crystal Ball in 1997), was recorded the following day.
The track, recorded as continuous live jam session with drummer Michael Bland and bassist Sonny Thompson, is sandwiched between the best-known version of “The Ride” (clocking in north of 10 minutes) and a cover of the Rolling Stones' “Honky Tonk Women." As recounted on Prince.org's page about the session, Ultimate Undertaker, Bland told Guitar World, “Picture this. A DAT [digital audio tape] machine, a 32-channel board, two techs and three players. It was about three o’clock in the morning. We got our sounds together and just let the DAT roll. We took about an hour to make that record, from start to finish, playing straight through with no overdubs.”
The session continued with a blistering rendition of “Bambi” (from 1979’s Prince), a preview of “Zannalee” (from 1996’s Chaos and Disorder), “The Undertaker” (later recorded and officially released by Mavis Staples), and “Dolphin” (from 1995’s The Gold Experience).
The DAT source is notable because even though the project was never officially released as an album, and the movie never came out in the U.S., bootlegs still sound sonically crisper and richer than most official releases by Prince or any artist. Prince wanted to give the album away with an issue of Guitar World in conjunction with an interview, but Warner Bros. stopped him cold. “I’d like to put out 700.000 copies of some blues guitar music with a guitar magazine but Warners won’t let me,” he told New Musical Express in March 1995.
Sonically, “Poorgoo” is tight, funky and dark -- but the lyrics are comical and perplexing. “Poor Goo / He know he just don’t wanna go home with that nappy-haired dame / He know he’d rather go home with you.” Another Prince.org member revealed that the song is a tongue-in-cheek dig at a love triangle rivalry -- one where Prince loses the girl to James "McGoo" McGregor, a gopher who quickly rose through the ranks to become a production and stage manager at Paisley Park. In the next verse, Prince takes a dig at McGoo’s videotaping skills with, “All the film he shot / Ain’t too hot/ All distorted.” According to the feature, Prince often had McGregor shoot rehearsals even though it wasn’t a strong skill of his, Prince would joke, “Why should I pay someone else when I got you to do it?"
“Poorgoo” spotlights another hurdle in the Prince/McGoo bromance. Even though they had the same taste in women, the two loved radically different breakfast cereals: “No you don’t want Capt’n Crunch when you can have Trix.”
Prince briefly played "Poorgoo" on tour in Europe in 1995; one of the live recordings was even slated for an aborted Prince album called Playtime by Versace. The only official release of the film version came as an MP3 release NPG Music Club Edition #11.
Listen to "Poorgoo" From 'The Undertaker'
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