The Tenth Dymentions barely exist in the vast world of the internet. I’ve been hooked ever since I first heard their midtempo soul masterpiece “My Love For You is Growing Wild.” Recently, I tried to find out more information about this band – one of many soul bands who deserved fame but never found it.
Searching through the scant pages that reference them, I haven’t learned much. There’s little to no information about their record label Sapphire. A search for the arranger/writer Vern Ryan at least brings up some details. Ryan is associated with another band called the Fabulous Dimensions as well as a bizarre mysterious 70’s funk band called Von Ryan’s Express. One soul collector places the Dymentions/Dimensions in a Chicago suburb (Robbins). This Chicago connection is confirmed by the inclusion of Joe Savage, an arranger/producer for a handful of Chicago’s independent soul bands in the late 60’s.
The song is featured on three compilations as far I can tell: The Get It! Vol. Raw Funk of ’67 to ’69, Gangster Soul Harmony Vol. 3, and Mayor Hawthorne Presents: Soul With a Hole Vol. 1 (the Stones Throw compilation where I first heard it). The image of the “Bush Man”/”My Love For You” seven-inch above places the song in 1972, confusing the exact date of the recording. There’s no band members listed. No bios or photos. There’s only really great soul music with an impossibly warm horn section and a vocal intensity practically sweating off sexuality.
The scarcity of information about the band speaks to a larger issue that’s been on my mind lately. If you don’t know already, there’s been an ongoing internet debate that streaming music capabilities will make having a music collection obsolete. The theory is that a majority of people will simply take whatever they can conveniently get. Critics argue that forgotten soul songs like this one, indie labels, and artists who choose not to opt into these services would be pushed further into the ranks of obscurity if they don’t make themselves available on Spotify, iCloud, etc.
I hope it seems obvious though that cloud lockers and streaming subscription companies will never be able to offer exposure for forgotten artists as effectively as people working at independent record labels and record stores (Aquarius Records and Numero Group I’m looking at you). They will never tap into the same passion as people writing on blogs, posting on message boards, and commenting on YouTube videos. The companies might offer me convenience, but that’s not quite the same as putting a personal investment into everything a label does and being rewarded by finding an obscure gem on a CD (that’s since been deleted from the label). I’m glad that I’ll never be able to find this song on Spotify and the only way to find information about the band requires heavy digging. There still needs to be room for musical discoveries that require effort. The Tenth Dymentions might not be a featured artist on iTunes any time soon, but they will live on in the peripheral glory of a few devoted internet pages — this one included. Is that such a bad thing?