Eccentric Soul: The Prix Label - V/A LP

(Numero Group, 2007)

“[Columbus, Ohio’s Prix label] was virtually unknown even in its day, serving more as a laboratory for musicians than a factory for hit 45s. In business for an eye-blink from 1969 to 1971, the studio and label nonetheless churned out a bonanza of killer funk and soul cuts, all of which went nowhere. And that's just what got released. Thirty years after the label closed its doors, a mostly unmarked box of demo recordings and a few finished masters showed up at an estate sale, waiting to be heard for the first time outside of Harmonic Sounds.

Enter Numero, whose compilation mixes the released 45s with the unreleased stuff to tell the story of a remarkable assemblage of talent that was, alas, destined to toil in obscurity. Prix Records was founded by an unlikely duo: Mississippi-born Clem Price, a veteran who worked much of his life for a defense contractor, and George Beter, a floundering West Virginian lawyer whose brother introduced him to Price. The first group signed to Prix, the Royal Esquires, was drafted in its entirety after recording just one single, as apt an omen for the fate of the label overall as any.

Prix had all the ingredients for success: talented lead performers, a stable of excellent backing musicians, solid financial backing and a studio of its own, and yet here we are three and a half decades, hearing some of this music for the first time, and most of the rest of it for what may as well be the first time. Like so many of its counterparts, the label simply petered out and dried up when success proved elusive, leaving behind a tiny but artistically memorable legacy that's thankfully been resuscitated years after it all went down. It's still worth hearing.” - Joe Tangari for Pitchfork