When I went to San Antonio a few weeks back I made it a purpose to come back with some new, Texas-inspired vinyl to add to the collection (you’ve already seen the “non-Texas” Cornball album I grabbed on impulse). I’m only really getting to sit down and enjoy them now however, beginning with this beautifully-packaged compilation album from the Numero Label, ‘Eccentric Soul: The Dynamic Label’.
A select few, such as Abe Epstein of San Antonio, Texas, used his income to feed a less common obsession: starting record labels. From the early ’60s through the early ’70s, Epstein founded a deluge of them. Not one of the bunch even came close to rivaling Stax or Motown, but his Dynamic imprint – supported by licensing to Columbia a Jox label single, Rene y Rene’s 1964 single ‘Angelito’, which narrowly missed Billboard’s Top 40 – was productive enough to be anthologized by Numero. Active from 1965 through 1968, Dynamic was home to a Latino, black, and white mix of R&B artists who churned out a considerable sum of decent-to-stellar material.
The top highlight is the Commands’ winsome 1966 A-side ‘No Time for You’ (whose with performance chops were honed jet-sharp by the demanding Air Force Base circuit), laced with undeniable background harmonies and exceptional instrumental support from Latino youngsters the Dell-Tones. It didn’t become a big hit, but it went national; the O’Jays released a cover the same year on Imperial. Just beneath that, there’s ‘I Gotta Know’, a peppy cult favorite of England’s Northern soul community, from a group of young women dubbed the Tonettes. Dust collectors from flame throwers Bobby Blackmon & the Soul Express, Naval buddies Doc & Sal (whose ‘Can’t Get You Offa My Mind’ answered James & Bobby Purify’s ‘I’m Your Puppet’), the charmingly ragged Little Jr. Jesse & the Tear Drops, the promising-sounding Don & the Doves, and Galveston’s storming Webs are also featured. In March 2013, when this typically generous and in-depth package was released, Numero planned other Epstein-related anthologies. Perhaps one of them will include ‘Angelito’, which was covered by Herb Alpert and quickly forgotten by the pop world.
In short, I’m very pleased with this perfect as it beautifully captures a unique sentiment of Texas and San Antonio in particular, that I have not heard before, nor have present in my own collection. It think it’s also important to note that after purchasing this album, I was treated to a few pints of Broken Sandal porter and the best Mushroom-Swiss burger I’ve ever had at Luther’s Cafe, among a few of San Antonio’s finest members of the transgender community.
How’s that for diversity?