Filed under: A Light On The Southside, Playlists | Tags: A Light On The Southside, Tax Day
At least we’ve got a free mix for you to hear, courtesy of the Sitting in the Park radio show. Celebrating (or lamenting) another Tax Day in these United States, we’ve got a special guest mix from Bob Abrahamian [producer/archivist/researcher/host of the legendary radio show Sitting in the Park]. Check out his interviews and other mixes for the deepest archives of group harmony recordings yet known. Fans of the Light on the South Side compilation (which Bob contributed to) should take note..
Amidst the craziness of Titan, Boddie, and Yellow Pills booklet burning videos, we lapsed ever so slightly on our newest little record: Little Ed & the Soundmasters. You may remember the Soundmasters from their “It’s A Dream” track on Light: On The South Side, wherein a group of west side players enlist their eight-year-old brother to play drums and sing over a harmonica-drenched and smoke-blown slice of way-past-curfew blues-funk. It sounds like this:
When Charles Fisher, the group’s guitarist and archivist, brought over his scrap book of Soundmasters related ephemera, we knew at the very least we had to do something with the photos. That they made three killer 45s on their own Fised and Fished labels in the early ’70s made it that much easier to build a project.
Collected here for the first time is the complete Soundmasters recorded output, including their session backing noted Chicago cop and bluesman Johnny Dollar. The booklet is chock full of family photographs and shots of Little Ed Fisher on stage at Chicago’s seediest nightclubs. We’ve replicated the original labels, and clothed the records in sharp black sleeves. The whole shebang is packaged in tip-on style box, complete with printed interiors and a height buffer. Gorgeous doesn’t really begin to describe it.
We began shipping subscription copies last week, and a few stores have them as well, but if neither of those are options, you can always buy it from our 24-7 Numero store.
Filed under: A Light On The Southside, Obituaries | Tags: Light On The South Side, MIchael Abramson
Early Monday morning, our friend and collaborator Michael L. Abramson peacefully succumbed to his long battle with kidney cancer.
Based in Chicago, Illinois, Abramson had contributed photography to numerous national and foreign magazines and his work has been exhibited at museums and galleries including The Art Institute of Chicago, The Milwaukee Art Museum, and The Philadelphia Art Museum. In 1978, he received a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts in response to documentary work on the South Side of Chicago.
Michael’s important historical photographs of Chicago nightlife in the mid-1970s were the centerpiece of Numero’s double album/book hybrid Light: On The South Side, which has received accolades globally—including a Grammy nomination—for this remarkable portrait of a rarely documented and lively Chicago scene.
Of Michael’s work, the writer Nick Hornby says:
“There is something extremely poignant about these pictures: there comes a point where the transience of the laughter and the music, the booze and the cigarettes and the drugs, pushes us into a contemplation of the mortality of the participants, and then on to our own. And life has always been shorter for the inhabitants of the South Side, too—at the time these pictures were taken, the average black male would just about see his sixtieth birthday, but not much beyond that. Carpe diem means that little bit more when the dies are in shorter supply. This is a special book, about one tiny corner of the world over a handful of evenings a long time ago; but that tiny corner of the world has, for decades now, meant a great deal to an awful lot of people scattered all over the world.”
Mike was a real mencsh, a true gentleman, and an important artist. We will miss him tremendously. If you’re out tonight, lift a snifter of Hennessy for him. He preferred Scotch, but it seems appropriate.
Filed under: A Light On The Southside, Methodology, Uncategorized, Wallpapers | Tags: Odd Photos
Lots of folks with desk jobs have the week off… not us! We’re still handcuffed to our desks doing fun activities like entering numbers into spreadsheets and preparing for the next batch of new releases. Since we doubt we’ll be able to pull you away from returning argyle socks to departments stores to read anything deep and poetic, we’re offering something that can be quickly enjoyed: photos from our deep vaults (some of which may just turn up in future releases… we promise nothing.)
Filed under: A Light On The Southside, Newsworthy | Tags: Grammys, Light On The South Side
And so it came to pass that in our 7th year “in business,” the National Academy of Recorded Arts and Sciences has seen fit to shine a light in our direction. In our 2nd year, we submitted both Eccentric Soul: The Bandit Label and Fern Jones: The Glory Road, making it all the way to round two before receiving the customary “Thanks for playing!” letter. Seemingly a waste of 28 promos. So we stopped submitting altogether.
Last Thanksgiving, our friend Henry Owings at Chunklet (and NARAS member) gave us the “Must be present to win” speech, giving us cause to change our stance and submit 14 copies of last year’s Light: On The South Side.
This morning we woke up to dozens of congratulatory emails. Turns out our little box set got nominated in category 88: Best Boxed or Special Limited Edition Package. While we harbor no illusions that we will actually win a mini gramophone (We’re guessing the White Stripes tie it up handily), it’s nice to know that someone out there is paying attention to our little corner of the world. That said, if you’re on the NARAS committee or know someone that is, encourage them to vote for our little record.
Filed under: A Light On The Southside | Tags: '70's, Black Chicago, Chicago blues, Chicago Emmys, Mack Simmons, Marcus Riley, MIchael Abramson, nightlife, Pepper's Hideout, Pimp oil, South side, southside
Congrats to Marcus and the NBC gang on the Midwest Emmy win for:
Outstanding Achievement for Alternate Media/New Media Interactivity
Click that link up there to see the project.
Filed under: A Light On The Southside, Newsworthy | Tags: Light On The South Side
Tomorrow, Sep. 17th, at 8pm in Austin, TX, Breakaway Records will be projecting Light: On The South Side in all of its hi-res glory on a big screen while playing the LP’s on a big ‘ole sound system. The Book/LP Box Set will be available for a discounted price, and will include exclusive autographed prints from photographer Michael L. Abramson. Some of our limited edition trading cards will also be available and Breakaway is offering a 15% discount on everything in their store for the event.
Thanks to Gabe at Breakaway for organizing this sweet multimedia experience.
Filed under: A Light On The Southside, Al Jarnow, Boddie, Eccentric Breaks & Beats, Good God!, Lonesome Heroes, Lowlands, Playlists, Syl Johnson | Tags: Sea Of Sound
So, I gotta little jealous last week that we didn’t have something as slick as Josh’s new online ghetto blaster and decided it was time to revive my old podcast, The Sea Of Sound. This episode below in it’s fancy Flash 1.0 player – give it a few seconds to load – is a healthy mix of past, present, and upcoming Numero tracks, side by side with some old favorites, and a few cuts from various new releases for your listening pleasure. Enjoy, Michael
“Don’t Trade Love For Money” – Jackie Russell
“Woodpiles On The Side Of The Road” – Jack Rose
“Hummingbirds” – Kieran White
“Jane, Jane” – Tia Blake
“Yellow Roses” – Heron
“Lonely Son” – Vernon Wray
“Nobody Wants A Lonely Heart” – Arthur Russell
“Tried So Hard” – The Flying Burrito Brothers
“Never Too Far” – Tim Hardin
“I Found My Music” – Sage
“Every Day We Grow Closer” – Alex Chilton
“The Ballad Of El Goodo” – Big Star
“The Summer Sun” – Chris Stamey
Beaumont, TX Dodge Commercial
“I’ve Got To Get Over” – Syl Johnson
“Bring It Down Front” – Hugh Hawkins
“Lean Lanky Daddy” – Little Ann
“You’ve Got To Steal It” – The Flairs
“I’m Drunk & I’m Real High (In The Spirit Of God) – Ada Richards
“Cosmic Clock” – Shoes
“Love Letter Full Of Promises” (Rehearsal) – Juanita Rodgers
Filed under: A Light On The Southside | Tags: Ed Ward, Fresh Air, Light On The South Side
Our good friend Ed Ward recorded a piece on Light: On The South Side way back in November of last year. After many delays, including his review being entirely re-recorded, Fresh Air is finally running their five minutes on Light.
The timing, actually, couldn’t be better. We’ve been out of the book+2LP set since early January, awaiting the repress as it makes its way via boat to our pressing plant in Nashville. The massive stuffing process is underway now at United, and we should have the books back in stock tomorrow. Order at will.
Photos from the massive unload to follow.
Filed under: A Light On The Southside | Tags: Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes, Helen Wooten, Teddy Pendergrass, Will Smith
Last month we posted a Light: On The South Side follow up with page 30′s Helen Wooten. Rob Sevier and Bob Abrahamian trekked down to Wooten’s south side home with Rocktober’s Jake Austen in tow, and six weeks later this fantastic Chicago Reader article appears as a result. Though Wooten’s recollections likely interpolate fact and fiction, it’s hard to argue about a scar from a close range gun shot that punctured a lung before exiting her back.
The above picture of Wooten and a young Will Smith is just one of the many celebrity brush-ins reprinted in the article. How they ended up in a casual squeeze at what looks like a birthday party is anyone’s guess.