"Under The Influence Volume Two by Paul Phillips" released on Dave Lee's Z Records label in 2012 on double pack vinyl and CD. The album features some of my favourite Disco, Boogie and Soul releases originally issued on either album, 12" or 7" singles that on the whole went under the radar at the time of release even though they could be regarded as great songs. In most cases this was often due to limited availability due to limited distribution, low pressing runs, lack of promotion or a track not getting beyond the promo stage. It was also quite common where only a small amount of the stock was either sold or distributed the remaining bulk of the stock would be destroyed to save on storage space and finances or due to faulty product during the manufacturing process or a whole number of other reasons. There is also the possibility that some of the records featured on this compilation exist in large quantity as unsold or undistributed stock sitting somewhere long forgotten for many years in a loft, attic, garage or barn waiting to be re discovered. Over the years some copies of these rarer records have surfaced in varying quantities but more often than not tend to find their way into the more dedicated record collectors collections.
With the exception of a few the vast majority of the tracks on this album were released on small independent local record labels from across the USA and Canada and in some cases were minor hits within those states or cities where those labels or artists were based as a result of local radio airplay or live band performances. Most of the artists featured here are widely unknown although there are some exceptions with the standout ones being Wardell Piper and Billy Frazier both know for their other more commercially successful or popular releases. Some tracks featured here for example Pike, Motherfox and Jesse Gomez did gain some exposure several years after their initial release on certain soul scenes such as the UK's under ground modern soul scene during the mid 1980s. DJ's such as Soul Sam, Arthur Fenn, Robin Salter, Simon Murray, Mark Gurney and others would champion these under the radar independent soul releases many of which would have been imported into the UK via record dealers such as John Anderson at Soul Bowl Records and Dave Raistrick at Soul-utions Records through their regular record buying trips to the USA.
Some of the worlds most talented and highly regarded song writers, arrangers, producers and musicians are credited on many of the tracks featured on "Under The Influence Volume Two". They can also be credited on music released by artists that include Prince, Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, Gladys Knight & The Pips, MFSB, Roy Ayes, Mtume and hundreds more. This goes some way to explain why although released on small independent labels many are more than a match in terms of production or as great songs to those on higher profile or major labels of the day.
If anyone has anymore back ground info about any of the tracks featured here please feel free to get in touch.
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Track List and info:
1. PHYLLISS BAILEY - FOCUS
Over to the West coast of the USA for some social commentary pure no nonsense funky get down disco where in 1978 Americom Records released an album by Phylliss Bailey, co produced by soul jazz guitarist Marlo Henderson who can be credited to releases by Norman Connors, Deniece Williams, Stevie Wonder, Minnie Riperton, Earth Wind & Fire, Michael Jackson, Patrice Rushen and hundreds more. String arrangements by the legendary song writer, producer and musician McKinley Jackson who is also credited to releases by Lamont Dozier, Freda Payne, Four Tops and hundreds more. Also performing on the album are Nathan Watts a member of Stevie Wonder's backing band, Larry (Fatback) Talbert from Raydio and Andre Lewis credited to releases by Maxayn, Johnny Guitar Watson, Tata Vega.
2. JESSE GOMEZ - BABY I'M COMING AT YOU
Promo 12" single disco mix featured here but also issued on 7" single this uplifting disco soul from 1981 could have been a big track with more exposure on the more main stream soul scene at the time. I can imagine it fitting in perfectly along side those well known and loved tracks such as Fantasy "You're Too Late" or Mystic Touch "Get Yourself Together" as an example of the typical soul disco sound around during that period in time.
3. STATE DEPARTMENT - SLOW LOVE
Major label RCA promo only 12" single and a Van McCoy produced, written and arranged wonderful Philly soul disco song from around the same period he would have been working on albums by some of the biggest soul artists of the day by Gladys Knight & The Pips, David Ruffin, Melba Moore and many more. "Slow Love" doesn't appear to have gone beyond the promo stage and never made available as a commercial release although State Department did release several other singles commercially on other record labels during the 1970s.
4. BRENDA CUFFARI - MY MUSIC SAYS IT ALL
Dunn Pearson Jr. is a keyboardist, composer, arranger and producer known by many for his 1978 disco single "Groove On Down". In 1979 he co wrote, arranged and produced "My Music Says It All" performed by Brenda Cuffari and released on the Charisma label out of Cleveland, Ohio. Dunn Pearson Jr can be credited to hundreds of songs going back many decades including the O'Jays, Stephanie Mills, Teddy Pendergrass, Stevie Wonder, Mtume, Roy Ayers, D'Angelo, Keith Sweat, Gerald Levert,James "J.T." Taylor. He has also written theme scores for TV shows, commercials and movies.
5. PIKE - GOOD FEELINGS
Pike is a group formed by guitar player and vocalist Wesley Hall Jr from BT Express, he also wrote their big 1980 club classic "Does It Feel Good". Other members included Emmett Walker a writer and arranger for BT Express and others. "Good Feelings" is a brilliant guitar led, Chic influenced power house boogie tune with an intro that will blow your mind, released on Penke Records out of Washington around 1982. The full group line up were Wesley "Pike" Hall (guitar, vocals), Emmett Walker (keyboards), Tyrone Govan (drums), Tony Stevenson (bass), Barry Gun (vocals), Susan (vocals).
6. MIDNIGHT ENERGY - SAVING ALL MY LOVE
Released on Wal-Brooks Records, Vauxhall New Jersey in 1984 this is an uptempo smooth boogie song with a male / female lead vocal interplay and produced by the the NYC Kid.
7. HEARTS OF FIRE - LETS PARTY ALL NIGHT
We head down to Studio South, Augusta, Georgia where Hearts Of Fire recorded this obscure release around 1984 and arranged by Ron Norwood.
8. FREEWAY - GET THE FEELIN
Out of Portland, Oregon with a song that often makes me wonder could they have been influenced by the group Pleasure who coincidentally also came from Portland, Oregon. Big and bright production sound with lots of plucking bass and a great funky breakdown. Released on the local Portland, Oregon record label Nebula Circle Records a label also responsible for releasing the first Shock album prior to their Fantasy Records signing and UK chart toppers NuShooz first album.
9. MYTH MICHAELS - PUSH IT
Released on New York's We-Four Records as a 12" and 7" single with Horns and Strings arranged by Louis Small also known to have worked on releases by Kleeer, Inner Life, Sylvester. Produced by Mitch Brathwaite also worked on releases by Satin, Silk & Lace, Conversion. Although slightly under produced it's a great song with lots going on musically and a soulful vocal.
10. 24 KARAT GOLD - NEW LOVE
Produced by Nathan McKinney a US West Coast performer, songwriter, producer and owner of Desert Bone Records.
11. TONY GREGORY - I'M GONNA BREAK YOU DOWN
Mesmerising mid tempo soul sung by Tony Gregory from 1980. Tony is a well known Jamaican singer with a huge back catalogue of soul and reggae recordings including releases on Coxsone Records and Studio One. "I'm Gonna Break You Down" is a sultry atmospheric song that steadily builds gathering pace.
12. THE NEW YORK DISCO ORCHESTRA - IT'S TRUE
Fantastic Philly style disco with a killer break down. The NYDO album first surfaced as a promo only via the Artemis record label in the USA and then on Polydor in Japan and Belgian on Supreme Records.
1. SPECIAL TOUCH - THIS PARTY IS JUST FOR YOU
Boogie / Rap party tune with a raw, heavy and funky bassline and a male / female rap interplay. Special Touch released at least four songs on their Brackett Records out of Chicago this being the earliest. Here we have the extended 12" mix of "This Party Is Just For You" (Disco Version) also released on 7" as an edited shorter duration mix.
2. FREEWAY - HELP YOURSELF
This track is featured on the same single as "Get The Feelin" but is another side to their sound being more jazzy with a Brit Funk feel.
3. RON RICHARDSON - OOH WEE BABE
On the Canadian T.C.I. Productions record label is the extremely rare original 12" full length 7:40 mix of this D-Train influenced boogie power house of a song Co-produced by Goldie Alexander and written by Cat Dyson (Kat Dyson) guitarist, vocalist and session player and a member of several bands inc Kat Mandu, The New Power Generation, she has also appeared with Mick Jagger, David A. Stewart (Eurythmics), Natalie Cole, Seal, George Clinton, Cyndi Lauper and many more. The song was released twice on T.C.I. Productions records with the same catalogue number but with a shorter duration edit mix and is more common than the original full length mix but still very rare. Ron was also a member of the last line up of The Tymes and Billy Jackson's disco project Soirée.
4. BILLY FRAZIER - THE MIND BLOWER (FINALLY GOT HIS MIND BLOWN)
Billy is best known for the song "Billy Who?" released under the name Billy Frazier And Friends a popular song in 1980 on various soul and club scenes and even received a UK release. The "Mind Blower" is a much different sound and style, on the quirky side and for the more musically open minded and after a few listens will have you hooked. Both tracks were released on Biljuma Records in the US.
5. WARDELL PIPER - THE POWER OF LOVE
In 1979 Wardell Piper had R&B chart hits with singles "Super Sweet" and "Captain Boogie" both of which also featured on her full length album. The following year Wardell released a 7" only single on Midsong Records with a song co written and produced by John Davis (John Davis & The Monster Orchestra, MFSB) and Vince Fay with a Chic vibe. Dave Lee later went on to remix "The Power Of Love" and issued on a "Remixed With Love" Z Records 12" EP in 2018. Wardell Piper was also once a member of Philly soul group First Choice and Wardell can still be found performing and releasing new music to this day.
6. SUNSTREET - LOVIN
One for the more musically open minded especially if you like Syndrums on your Disco and an upfront drummer."Lovin" is guaranteed to get the party jumpin as the song goes through various stages of ups and downs with a story to tell via the imaginative lyrics. Released on Bear Paw Records out of Geissler Park, Bear, Delaware Sunstreet comprised of former members of the group Haze, including the tight horns section and lead singer Sonny Knight.
7. MOTHERFOX - FALLEN INTO LOVE
A 1981 big production power house sound from a small label Shabang Records out of Chicago with driving horns from Elmer Brown also known for his performances on albums by Leroy Hutson, Eugene Record, The Dells and lots more. Ada (Adaritha) Dyer is also credited as being a member of the band and is best known as the lead vocalist on a number of Norman Connors songs, including 'Take It To The Limit' and 'Handle Me Gently'.
8. CB AND JUST US - WON'T YOU
Disco, boogie and a touch of Gogo influenced Mankind promo only release and at a guess I'd say although not credited it's CB Overton on vocals. CB Overton known for releases on Shock Records in the late 70s inc "If I Can't Stop You" and "Superstar Lady".
9. KRISP - SUNLIGHT
Great keys, bass, horns, lyrics and vocals on this New York boogie track from 1982 on Indigo Records influenced by the sound of and featuring musicians from Aurra, Mtume, Civil Attack. Sunlight could have been big if it had been released on one of the high profile NY labels such as Emergency, Sam, Prelude or Salsoul Records where KRISP's sound would have fitted in perfectly. Amongst the musicians we have Raymond Jackson from Mtume, Aurra and A.C Drummer from Aurra, Civil Attack. The vocalist is uncredited and I'm curious as to who it might be bearing in mind the Aurra, Mtume, Civil Attack connections.
10. THE THOMPSONS - MESSAGE
On the most part a Philly sweet soul group harmonies album from 1975 on BCW Records, Inc from King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, but the track "Message" has a driving funkier edge.
11. MICHELLE LAMB - NATURAL HIGH
Michelle is a trained and accomplished vocalist and keyboardist born in Ocala, Florida and here Michelle features on this Tommy Stewart semi scat jazz vocal production released on Dealers Choice Records Inc label from Miami, Florida. Tommy Stewart worked as arranger, producer, performer and writer for Clarence Carter, Candi Staton, Johnny Taylor, Major Lance, Eddie Kendricks, Luther Ingram, Millie Jackson,Tamiko Jones and many others. Also known for his classic song "Bump And Hustle Music".
12. THE UNDERGROUND BAND - TIME IS RUNNING OUT
Funky infectious percussive jam with lots going on and killer breaks taken from an obscure 12" EP on Spice Records with little known about the band.
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PAUL PHILLIPS UNDER THE INFLUENCE VOL2 ALBUM SAMPLER MIX
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