Morris Mills is an artist who likes to keep his audience guessing. He won’t be predictable. When we last heard from him, he had dropped “Revival,” the very, very funky gospel song that found him singing about the transformational and saving power of Christ. However, Mills probably would not remain in the spiritual realm very long.
Then too, saying that Mills moved from the spiritual realm because his topic has moved to more earthly matters is perhaps making too hard of a boundary between the sacred and the secular. That line has always been blurred by a bunch of artists over the last century, and Prince – the artist that Mills counts as a mentor and influence – certainly paid it no mind. So, when Mills and his band The Assembly cover Prince’s hedonistic anthem “Uptown,” they are doing more than giving us a funky and faithful rendition of a very funky song. Mills is also paying homage to “Uptown’s” message of spiritual freedom from societal expectations and norms. It’s interesting to think that Prince brought that message in 1980, when many viewed “Uptown” (and the entire Dirty Mind album) as heretical. Mills reminds us just how far ahead of the times Prince Rogers Nelson was. Check out “Uptown” here.