Classics: Inner City – Pennies From Heaven (Kevin’s Tunnel Mix) (Virgin)
Was ever Inner City a Techno act, as Virgin proudly stated when they put out their first single? I seriously doubt it, referring to what the Detroit scene used to deliver at the time. And even more when coming to have a listen to ‘Pennies From Heaven’.
A soulful gem that sounds closer to what one could hear back then in the NYC/NJ area. With backing vocals courtesy of Members Of The House. Not that far away from Ten City‘s repertoire, although in a more bumpin’ vein. Don’t you think?
Inner City saw the light back in 1988, from the reunion between Chicagoan female singer Paris Gray and Detroit producer Kevin Saunderson. Quite strange though remembering Virgin-UK introduced their debut-single – ‘Big Fun’ – as the first Techno record ever… Of course, Saunderson is highly renowned as one of the Belleville Three (along with Juan Atkins and Derrick May) who originated the Detroit Techno sound. Of course, he also made his reputation from Techno tracks he released under different guises such as Reese & Santonio or The Reese Project. But Inner City happened to be quite different from what one used to put out in the Motorcity back then.
As a matter of fact, and as Saunderson admitted in an interview we had back in the day, Inner City got highly influenced by the New York vibes. And this, most likely because of his countless trips to the Big Apple at the time. A reality which is even more obvious when comin’ to listen to a gem such as ‘Pennies From Heaven’ (in a Ten City vein). But also ‘Ain’t Nobody Better’, ‘Till We Meet Again’ and ‘Do You Love What You Feel’. Not to mention their cover version of Stephanie Mills‘s classic ‘Whatcha Gonna Do With My Lovin”.
Inner City released 3 albums – ‘Paradise’, ‘Fire’ and ‘Praise’ – between 1989 and 1992. Meanwhile Kevin Saunderson has heavily developped his KMS record label.