Well, it doesn't get a lot more essential than this. Two stellar, quality party records, one for setting things off and the other for pushing it over the top. Keni Burke, a child star in the 5 Stairsteps, came into his own with this extremely scarce RCA single (recently seen at one NYC store selling for $100+). Thanks to the availability of this well-known (boot) repress, "Risin To The Top" has become an anthem that is instantly recognizable and crucial to any modern soul collection. Without getting too detailed, there are probably hundreds of songs that have blatantly appropriated this, from Doug E. Fresh to Maxwell to Mary J. (Not to mention Rick James' bassline ripoff for the Mary Jane Girls' "All Night Long.") The other side features Hamilton Bohannon's "Let's Start A Dance" remix, originally issued on the Phase II label and probably just as sampled, though this time in the club/house realm. A 10 minute heavy percussive monster, this is an essential element for any DJ who's interested in moving a crowd. It's never gone out of style, as its proto-house/funk stomp defies categorization and goes directly to the feet. Handy as a bathroom break record, let Bohannon and the band take over while you relieve yourself!
- music label: Rock Mo / 1981