Forget Chaka Khan, Tom Jones or Sinead O’Connor – the first cover of a Prince song to make a showing in the US charts was by rough-voiced warhorse Mitch Ryder, erstwhile leader of 60s garage rabble The Detroit Wheels. His take on When You Were Mine was the lead single on this, Ryder’s 1983 comeback album, produced by John Mellencamp and typical of that singer’s strutting guitar-based rock.
It’s an accomplished ass-kicking reworking (though it might not please Prince purists), setting the tone for a record that’s light on pretension but heavy on goodtime party vibes and solid redneck anthems. Ryder’s in blistering form on the bar band grooves of Solomon Burke’s Cry To Me and the Tom Petty-like swagger of Stand, aware of the limits of his vocal range, but using what he’s got to great effect.
The less-is-more approach of the close-knit and well-drilled band serves the basic needs of the tunes, suggesting there was no more ambitious plan than to deliver a no-messin’ rock’n’roll record. The power ballad A Thrill’s A Thrill doesn’t quite work, with duet partner Marianne Faithfull a little unsure of what she’s supposed to be doing, but it’s a rare misstep amid a polished and dependable set of songs.