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Under The Influence Vol. Three compiled by James Glass
by Various Artists
Following on from the likes of ‘Backstreet Brit Funk’, ‘Destination Boogie’ and the ever-popular ‘Soul of Disco’ series Z Records continue to release hi quality compilations filled with lesser known disco, funk and boogie. After the universally well-received Under The Influence Vol.1 compiled by Red Greg and Vol.2 compiled by Paul Phillips Z Records returns with Vol.3, this time compiled by James Glass.
The ‘Under The Influence’ series has each been pain-stakingly compiled by some of the biggest record enthusiasts in the world and James Glass certainly makes the grade as ‘the crate digger’s crate digger.’ These are record hunters extraordinaire, the finders and the keepers and curators of some of the most incredible record collections out there. And when it comes to finding the funk, the groove, a strange drum break or an unexpected synth solo on a dusty old B-side, James Glass is a master of the beat. Here on ‘Under The Influence’ Vol.3 you get a lifetime’s experience of blood, sweat and vinyl with some of the hardest to find funk, disco and dance grooves out there.
“For the newest edition of Under The Influence I’ve tried to do what all the DJs who have influenced me did; that is, pick a selection of genres and create a dialog between the disparate tracks. This is never an easy thing to do, but when I’m DJing my primary aim is to entertain, with styles, in style and without alienating anyone."
From Sweet Talks brand of afro funky disco in their 1979 stomper ‘Do The Beat’ (taken from their self titled LP) to dusty old B-side’s like the P-funkesque jam, crazy horns and multiple drum breaks on Magnum’s ‘Squivatch’ that bizarrely appeared on the Wackies label, James Glass brings together a range of influences of hard to find and obscure gems, predominantly sourced from the late 70s and early 80s pre-house era.
Tracks like the Electric Chairs ‘So Many Ways’ veer towards early ‘no wave’ (the band were the British backing band of the very American Wayne/Jayne County from 1977-1979 and right after they split with their front man they recorded one last 7") whilst Expansives ‘Life With You (Instrumental)’ is Rago and Farina of ‘Lectric Workers and Decadance fame with some text book italo disco.
Then we have some classic Northern Soul from the likes of Eleanore Mill’s 1974 ‘Same Routine’, tucked away on her first LP on Astroscope and all backed by the Rimshots, who were the All Platinum house band of the day or the soaring keyboard solo on a little known funk 45 b-side from L.A.’s Crisis Records by Energy Crisis called ‘Energy (Instrumental)’ and the ‘Azymuth’ style synthpop of early 80s UK album cut ‘Nervoso’ by Rexy which is as quirky as it is funky! Throughout ‘Under The Influence Vol.3’ James Glass manages to thread a whole host of genres into one heady stew of essential funk, disco and boogie for another superlative collection in the series.
James Glass grew up in London and was exposed to Top of the Pops and John Peel's venerable radio shows both of which turned him onto the fresh sounds of punk and new wave. His affinity for soul, jazz funk and disco, however came from listening to the rapidly growing pirate radio stations such as LWR and Horizon.
These influences were heightened further when he decided to move to New York in the late 80s, an area long associated with limitless possibilities for anyone with a passion for underground dance music. For the last 20 years though he’s called the San Francisco Bay Area home where the rock/dance hybrid has once again captivated his ears.
During his time in San Francisco James Glass has been instrumental in helping to define the uniquely eclectic sounds of the early 90s club scene. He provided a more soulful, grounded alternative to thump-thump rave beats and inadvertently exposed dancers to the origins of 90s club music. His intricately assembled DJs sets are mixed with rare seventies soul, disco and early house-the gritty, raw sounds that inspire his production style and obsessive dedication to genuine music that has no expiration date.
In addition to playing West Coast gigs, he also runs two record labels, Golden Goose and Grimy. Glass and partner DJ Garth of the legendary Wicked parties have been releasing their own left-field and cosmic rock edits on Golden Goose since 2005 under the name King & Hound. The Grimy label, which he runs with partner Zernell Gillie, a highly revered Chicago DJ, focuses on underground disco edits.
Now at the helm of the 3rd instalment of Z Records ‘Under The Influence’ series, Glass brings his unique perspective and take on those hidden gems from the dancefloor.