I’m told that Northern Soul DJs never ran out of R&B 45s from the ’60s. The sheer quantity of music made in an era when music was pretty damn hard to make ensured that there would always be new discoveries, rare “race records” or regional cuts that no one outside of Georgia or Detroit or Ohio or Buffalo had heard before.
And you’d think the same about the rare disco, funk and R&B jams that form the core of the acclaimed Under The Influence series on Joey Negro‘s Z Records, and here too you’d be wrong. Volume 7 of the series delivers more choice cuts from soul music’s root cellar, many if not all of them new to those who don’t live and breathe this era and the rare records that drive collectors to frenzy and fury. Winston is at the controls this time – he is “pretty much unknown” outside of the established record collector’s clique, according to the liner notes, but “despite his low profile he has one of the best record collections around.” If this is a representative sampling, it must be like fucking Wonderland in there.
Happily, Donnell Pitman makes a return to the series. The first track on the first disc of Under The Influence Vol 1 featured Pitman’s “Love Explosion” which was a holy grail for a hell of a lot of collectors then and even more since. This time he appears as part of the Synergy 7″ “More People Than Me,” his voice bronzed by dreamy riffs and a complex arrangement turned inside-out by Pitman’s incomparable vocal pyrotechnics.
The ultra-rare track here is the 1981 Goldfox 12″ version of Mary Gold’s “Dancing” – a 10 minute soul/funk freak out that isn’t so much listened to as experienced, the way all good songs and sermons should be. The jam at the end goes on about 4 minutes longer than you’d imagine and if there’s a more perfect song to be playing at the end of the night when the house lights go up I’d like to hear it. The original sells for frankly ridiculous prices. I can see why.
I’ve likely said something along these lines before, but so often reissues and especially reissue comps come off as some kind of raid through our grandparents’ legacy. Not Z Records. Under The Influence, with their other comp series, feels like it’s done with the heart of an artist but the love of the disciple.
Various/Compiled by Winston: Under The Influence Vol 7 / Z Records
1. Mary Gold – Dancing
2. Doug Payne & Polygon – Holiday
3. Bollyn Thompson – Build Your Foundation
4. Betty Padgett – Sugar Daddy (Part One & Two)
5. Bilalian Creation – Save The Children
6. Expose – I Just Wanna Dance With You
7. Lord Of Storm – I’m Human
8. Jungle Band – Jungleland (Part Two)
9. RG’s All Nite Funk Band – Go For It Sucker
10. T.T. Sotto – Chorus Line
11. Bramsam – Get Up And Dance Now
Jonnie Vibes Lambert – Can’t Stop Dancin’
Synergy feat. Donnell Pitman – More People Than Me
Al ”Man” Muntzie and The Embraceables – We Are Steady Rockin’
Are & Be – If There Is No Struggle (Long Version)
Juice – Mercy On Me
The G.T.’s – Let’s Do It Together
Eklips – My Love
Ms. Victoria Barnes – Never Too Late (Disco Version)
The Olympics – Do You Like It
Suave – Salsa Gon Gitcha
The Rappers – Funky Juice (Part One)
A1. Synergy feat. Donnell Pitman – More People Than Me
A2. Betty Padgett – Sugar Daddy (Part One & Two)
A3. Bollyn Thompson – Build Your Foundation
B1. Are & Be – If There Is No Struggle (Long Version)
B2. Bramsam – Get Up And Dance Now
B3. Lord Of Storm – I’m Human
C1. Jonnie Vibes Lambert – Can’t Stop Dancin’
C2. The Olympics – Do You Like It
C3. The G.T.’s – Let’s Do It Together
D1. Mary Gold – Dancing
D2. Al ”Man” Muntzie and The Embraceables – We Are Steady Rockin’