High Inergy: Turnin’ On (Big Break Records)


Motown’s Berry Gordy had great expectations for High Inergy, a girl group built around sisters Barbara and Vernessa Martin. Gordy felt that the group would match—and even exceed—the success of The Supremes. Sure, that’s some fine quality on his part—but considering his reputation, perhaps he was right.  In 1977, they released their debut album, Turnin’ On. It was an excellent effort, and that the album made the top forty charts is proof that maybe the man knew a good thing when he heard it.

Musically, Turnin’ On is mainly upbeat R&B, something of a throwback to Gordy’s success, but with a contemporary flare. The album’s two singles, “You Can’t Turn Me Off (In The Middle of Turning Me On)” and “Love Is All You Need” were chart successes, with the former taking the band into the top twenty.  The rest of the album is equally enjoyable fare;  “Could This Be Love” and “Save It For A Rainy Day” are mellow groovers, “High School” feels like a companion to The Sylvers’ hit from the previous year, “High School Dance,” while “Let Me Get Close To You” is a fine romantic ballad.

Unfortunately, changes would occur shortly after the album’s release, when Vernessa Martin decided to leave the group; though they would continue on and release seven more albums before they disbanded in 1983, none of said albums or the singles from them would match the success of their debut. Still, Turnin’ On is a fine record, and proof that High Inergy lived up to the hype.

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