March 30, 2009

Monday Music Roundup, Numero Group edition


Barely having caught my breath from Texas, I prepare this week to board a jet plane to Chicago for a mostly-work-related (but fun) 5 days in the Windy City. I’m going to check out a semester study program that I help coordinate and timed my visit so that I could see the Numero Group‘s hotly anticipated Eccentric Soul Revue on Saturday night. I am thoroughly excited about it, since I adore most everything that this crate-digging reissue label has discovered, dusted off, and given new life to.

When I explain the Numero Group concept to friends, I liken it to musical archaeology of the raddest order. Founded in 2003 by Ken Shipley (an old high school pal of mine), Rob Sevier and Tom Lunt, the Numero Group relentlessly explores old vinyl singles and reels of tape from groups with potential who never made it to top 40 airplay, the unnoticed and unappreciated. Their goal is to create reissue libraries of varying niche genres and of the highest caliber, and to date this library feels like “a mix of thrift shop soul, skinny tie pop, Belizean funk, and hillbilly gospel.” In my mind they are one of the coolest labels currently in existence.

I’ll be visiting the Numero Group on Wednesday to see my student’s internship placement there that I hooked up. I look so forward to seeing what goes into making one of their excellent compilation albums. If you are looking to expand your musical horizons, to be schooled (humbly) through the exhaustive liner notes on genres you never even knew existed, and to hear some of the best music that was ever forgotten, check out the Numero Group’s catalog.

Today’s Monday Music Roundup is five songs from their brilliant library, with the goal to entice you to explore them further.

Gary Charlson

From the #24 Numero release It’s All Pop! (a compilation of songs from the Missouri Titan Records label) this song starts out pretty heartfelt for a power pop song, talking about their relationship and how well they know each other over a rich golden guitar riff. Then he segues in with the winner line, “Won’t you come over so we can make out in the dark?” SAY YES, mystery girl. Gary Charlson is a forgotten Missouri power-chord winner, along with all the other artists on this charmingly effervescent (and rockin’) compilation.

Shame, Shame, Shame

Oh man, this song is bursting with explosively hot Equatorial vibrancy. One of the Cult Cargo series, Belize City Boil Up was a breathless recommendation to me several years back by a friend out on tour with a band of an entirely different type. We found common ground on this blisteringly sexy hybrid of songs from the shores of Belize, calypso, funk, disco and soul all with a dash of the exotic. Restored from their original analog, as the Numero Group is so good at doing, this cut starts with an exhortation — “You know babe, I want you to feel that!” And I do, and you will too.

young-disciplesCountry Loving Country Style
Bobby McNutt

In 1967, Allen Merry formed a youth program in East St Louis through the South End Community Center. The Young Disciples aimed to channel kids towards making (soulful funk-drenched) music instead of bad decisions, and the good-beyond-their-years results are reissued on the Eccentric Soul series album of the same name. There’s nothing country about this song, other than that the singer comes from there and laments the women in the big city — but he does it with wails and certain gyrations.

Can’t Let You Break My Heart
home-schooledThe Quantrells

Another favorite of mine from the Eccentric Soul series, the Home Schooled: ABCs of Kid Soul collection recalls groups like the Jackson 5 in their dulcet, prepubescent hit-making talent. As the album notes ask, “You know Michael, Jermaine, Tito, Marlon and Jackie, but what about Altyrone Deno Brown, Michael Washington, or Little Murray & the Mantics?” No, I didn’t know about those Mantics, but now I do and I am a better (more funky) woman because of it.

recording-tapWe’ve Had Enough
Arnie Love & The Lovettes

The “heavy sugar boogie” of Recording Tap from the Don’t Stop Numero series includes the fluidly hot basslines and tribal drumbeats of this up-all-night burner, minus the white bellbottoms and spangles. With the eager chorus of women here on background vocals, and those strutting bass notes that reel out and glide back in, this is for those, as Chris says, who feel the new Hercules & Love Affair album just isn’t quite dramatic enough.

Tickets are still available for Saturday night’s show at the Park West. The performers are all from the defunct Chicago soul label Twinight, which was resuscitated on the 2006 Numero compilation Eccentric Soul: Twinight’s Lunar Rotation. Some of these groups are still actively performing, while others will take the stage for the first time in 30 years. According to the Numero breakdown of Saturday, “In true revue fashion, we’ve hired Chicago’s stalwart Uptown Sound to back the entire performance and expanded their tight rhythm section to include horns, backing vocalists, and strings. The show will be preceded by an interactive slideshow of photographs by Michael L. Abramson who document the Southside soul and blues scene in the mid to late 70′s and a DJ set from The Numero Group.”

Aw, come on! I’ll be there with my new camera lens (replacement for the casualty of SXSW) and eager ears. I would imagine there might also be some dancing.

Buy your ticket to the revue.

Also — subscribe to Numero Group for the entire 2009 year on vinyl or CD. You’ve spent $100 on less.


  • Did you hear the episode of Sound Opinions with Rob and Ken about two months ago?

    Dave Lifton — March 30, 2009 @ 8:56 am

  • Gah, I can’t believe that there’s an Eccentric Soul thing on Saturday! If I wasn’t already seeing Illinois at Subterranean, I’d so be there. Ah, c’est la vie.

    John — March 30, 2009 @ 12:29 pm

  • [...] “musical archaeology of the raddest order” – an eccentric soul revue. The five sample songs are just the thing for today, and make me want [...]

    weapons of massdistraction › An Infinite Regress — March 30, 2009 @ 1:01 pm

  • thanks do much for this! had no idea this label existed, but it’s right up my alley!

    scott — March 30, 2009 @ 1:23 pm

  • have so much fun! this sounds awesome!!

    wendi — March 30, 2009 @ 2:22 pm

  • Have you heard Numero 26, Local Customs: Downriver Revival, yet? It’s incredible. At least half a dozen face-melting gospel soul burners on there.

    I’m jealous you’re going to this show. Should be awesome!

    Adrian — March 30, 2009 @ 2:39 pm

  • POW! We’ve Had Enough by Arnie Love & The Lovettes is awesome! That bassline is riveted into my brain now.


    Joe | A New Band A — March 31, 2009 @ 6:05 am

  • Gary Charlson’s “Shark” was written by Dwight Twilley and was planned to be the follow up to “I’m on Fire,” However, the film Jaws had just become hugely popular and the label didn’t want to look like it was a novety tune and so….

    Todd — April 2, 2009 @ 6:27 am

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Bio Pic Name: Heather Browne
Location: Colorado, originally by way of California
Giving context to the torrent since 2005.

"I love the relationship that anyone has with music: because there's something in us that is beyond the reach of words, something that eludes and defies our best attempts to spit it out. It's the best part of us, probably, the richest and strangest part..."
—Nick Hornby, Songbook
"Music has always been a matter of energy to me, a question of Fuel. Sentimental people call it Inspiration, but what they really mean is Fuel."
—Hunter S. Thompson

Mp3s are for sampling purposes, kinda like when they give you the cheese cube at Costco, knowing that you'll often go home with having bought the whole 7 lb. spiced Brie log. They are left up for a limited time. If you LIKE the music, go and support these artists, buy their schwag, go to their concerts, purchase their CDs/records and tell all your friends. Rock on.

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