The Artist (Formerly Known As Prince) ‎– Crystal Ball

NPG Records ‎– none
3 × CD, Album
CD, Album
All Media, Limited Edition, Clear Packaging

Tracklist Hide Credits

Crystal Ball
1-01 Crystal Ball 10:28
1-02 Dream Factory 3:07
1-03 Acknowledge Me 5:27
1-04 Ripopgodazippa
Clarinet – Kathy J.*
1-05 Lovesign (Remix)
Remix – Shock GVocals – Nona Gaye
1-06 Hide The Bone 5:03
1-07 2morrow 4:13
1-08 So Dark 5:14
1-09 Movie Star 4:25
1-10 Tell Me How U Wanna B Done
Remix – Kirk JohnsonVocals – Carmen Electra
2-01 Interactive
Backing Vocals – Mayte
2-02 Da Bang 3:19
2-03 Calhoun Square 4:46
2-04 What's My Name 3:03
2-05 Crucial 5:06
2-06 An Honest Man 1:13
2-07 Sexual Suicide
Backing Vocals – Wendy MelvoinDrums – Sheila E.
2-08 Cloreen Bacon Skin
Drums, Vocals – Morris Day
2-09 Good Love 4:55
2-10 Strays Of The World 5:07
3-01 Days Of Wild 9:19
3-02 Last Heart 3:01
3-03 Poom Poom 4:32
3-04 She Gave Her Angels 3:52
3-05 18 & Over
Guitar – Mike Scott (7)
3-06 The Ride 5:13
3-07 Get Loose (Remix) 3:31
3-08 P. Control (Remix) 5:59
3-09 Make Your Mama Happy 4:00
3-10 Goodbye 4:34
The Truth
4-01 The Truth 3:34
4-02 Don't Play Me 2:48
4-03 Circle Of Amour 4:43
4-04 3rd Eye 4:53
4-05 Dionne 3:13
4-06 Man In A Uniform 3:07
4-07 Animal Kingdom 4:01
4-08 The Other Side Of The Pillow 3:21
4-09 Fascination
Guitar – Mike Scott (7)Vocals, Percussion – Kat Dyson*
4-10 One Of Your Tears 3:27
4-11 Comeback 1:59
4-12 Welcome 2 The Dawn (Acoustic Version) 3:17



Special "crystal ball" clear plastic packaging holds 4 CDs and booklet in slots in clear round case.

"Crystal Ball" [CD 1,2 & 3] : Compilation of tracks previously unreleased, recorded between 1982 - 1995.
"The Truth" [CD 4] : Recorded especially for this compilation, in 1997.

Barcode and Other Identifiers

  • Barcode (Scanned): 785337987124

Other Versions (5 of 5) View All

Cat# Artist Title (Format) Label Cat# Country Year
none The Artist (Formerly Known As Prince) Crystal Ball(Ltd + 3xCD, Album + CD, Album + CD, Album) NPG Records none US 1998 Sell This Version
BCD101, BCD102, BCD103, BCD104 The Artist (Formerly Known As Prince) Crystal Ball(4xCD, Album) Not On Label (Prince), Not On Label (Prince), Not On Label (Prince), Not On Label (Prince) BCD101, BCD102, BCD103, BCD104 US Unknown Sell This Version
none The Artist (Formerly Known As Prince) Crystal Ball(3xCD, Album + CD, Album) NPG Records none US 1998 Sell This Version
CRCL-80005~8 The Artist (Formerly Known As Prince) Crystal Ball(3xCD, Album + CD, Album) NPG Records CRCL-80005~8 Japan 1998 Sell This Version
none The Artist (Formerly Known As Prince) Crystal Ball(30xFile, MP3, Album) NPG Records none 2016


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October 13, 2009

I partially disagree with the other reviewer's statement that this is the album Crystal Ball finally being released (in a strange format). Rather, I think the title Crystal Ball was used primarily to appeal to Prince's audience who knew of the Crystal Ball; that, and that so much bootlegged material derives from CB sessions (some of which, but really very little, appears on this compilation).

I read that this compilation was actually released to 'end the need for bootlegs', yet of course this is less a godsend for die hard fans and more a let-down. When I first got this compilation, however, I had no idea of these expectations of it and I just loved it; still do, though with the knowledge I have now kind of does disappoint to a degree. Honestly though, I tend to enjoy Prince's outtakes more than some of his commercially released material, so this box set is still of great musical value to me.

CB has a few of my favorite Prince tracks (Crucial, Interactive, Dream Factory, Crystal Ball, Love Sign, and a few others), and even though some of them are allegedly different versions from popular bootlegged copies the ones presented here are still great, that I don't really see what the problem is (I have alternate versions of a few of the tracks I listed on bootlegs and I can safely say the ones presented here are better both in sound and musical quality).

One major disappointment for me (and this is I think the worst complaint fans have had) is the fact the the material on the 3 discs could easily be placed on 2 CD's for how short they are. With that said why the reason for some of the edited tracks? I own two 3-CD set boots of outtakes, remixes, demos, etc. that easily double the length of CB (and they cost me a lot less than a new copy of this compilation; there may be some hiss and other distortion on them, along with no liner notes, but the price is certainly much more agreeable).

Still, with what has been provided to long-awaiting fans via this release, at least in my mind, I really can't complain.

The Truth, however, never plays in my ears. I've never cared much for acoustic music (though Prince's occasional acoustic remixes of his music are pretty neat), but the music itself is totally dismissable to me. I'd never have bothered owning it if it were not part of this release. I do have to admit that the song 'Welcome 2 The Dawn' isn't bad; it has a more epic--more Prince-like--style to it, rather than college student friendly folk music like the rest of the album (you know what I mean? People sitting in a circle while some long-haired fellow sings about lost loves, dreams of the future, or how nobody understand him, that sort of thing is what I see when I try listening to The Truth).

But anyway!... that's it.


June 2, 2005
edited over 12 years ago

This release was a mixed blessing of sorts when (TAFKA)Prince finally OK'd it for public release... I say mixed blessing because next to "The Black Album," "Crystall Ball" was probably Prince's most bootleged album, with roughly a dozen different track listings as no one knew what the final version of "Ball" was to look like. The only consistent element I've ever seen on any of the bootlegs was the title track -- which is also sometimes referred to as "Expert Lover" -- and even that had a number of different variations with some being as short as under four minutes to the longest version being just over sixteen minutes long.

Problem with this final, 'approved' version of "Crystal Ball" is that part of the allure of the bootlegs was that "Ball" was supposed to be the last album Prince recorded with the Revolution and most of the songs that appear here come much, much later than the days of the Revolution. To boot, a number of the tracks are alternate - and unfortunately inferior - versions of tracks available on other Prince albums: "So Dark" (alternate version of "Dark" from "Come,") "Get Loose" (another alternate from "Come," this of that album's techno (yes, techno) masterpiece "Loose!," "Tell Me How U Wanna B Done" (a re-take of "The Continental" from the "O(+>" album with the N.P.G.,) "Good Love" (previously only available on the soundtrack to "Bright Lights, Big City but presented here in an edit) ... etc. etc. The original versions of these songs, particularly "Loose!" and "P Control" are so far above & beyond these 'demo'-quality versions that you wonder why Prince would let these 'lesser' versions out of the closet when he already improved upon them tenfold?

To boot, the songs that Prince fans were waiting to finally have a clear copy of are all presented in edits such as the aforementiioned "Good Love" (whereas the extended version is -or was, anyway - this was before .mp3's- extremely hard to find) or versions so different from the highly bootlegged versions ("Interactive," "Crucial," and "Days Of Wild") that the incredible 3 CD set becomes mostly a let down. Fortunately, some songs like "Acknowledge Me," "Strays Of The World," and - amazingly - "Cloreen Bacon Skin" saw the light of day unaltered from their underground versions.... and some new tracks such as "Poom Poom" and "She Gave Her Angels" and almost the entirety of the all acoustic bonus CD "The Truth" come very very close to compensating for all the disappointments. But not all the way.

Of course, knowing Prince, he's keeping those cleaned up studio masters of "Wild" and others to himself for now... aside from his still having control of some of those highly prized songs... Prince knows it makes the bootlegs all that more valuable to his die-hard fans - the ones that he really plays to anyway.