Numero Group: By The Numbers


R.I.P. Stormy
December 30, 2009, 5:53 pm
Filed under: Obituaries, Twinight

Stormy passed on today.

John Colley, known to the world as Stormy, died today after a long battle with cancer. Around a year ago we learned about Stormy’s illness when we began planning for the Eccentric Soul Revue that was coming up in March. He initially agreed to come perform “The Devastator” to open the show, but when we came closer to the point when rehearsals were starting, he was already starting to get too weak to perform. A few months ago we took a trip down to visit Stormy for a final interview with Ben Poster and Kyle Obriot, the documentarians behind the Downriver Revival film. We were surprised to see that he was still strong and healthy looking, although his sense 0f humor was starting to slip away. We’ll post some clips from the interview when we can get them editted.

Stormy had a pretty long career in the local Chicago scene. After his first record as Stormy was issued, he produced a few sessions on other people, including “Psychedelic Soul” for Saxie Russell and a few tracks on El Anthony (formerly of The Passions). He formed the group The Lost Family and issued a single 45, “Pretty Face” backed with “Blow Your Mind”. It was issued a few times and must’ve sold somewhat well locally. He attempted to release an LP on the group but they broke up before it was released. Saborian and the Los is the name he chose to release the material they had recorded under. “The Los” was actually a typo, it was intended to read “The Lost”. Its distinctive name and cover (shot in front of Chicago’s Planetarium) made it a local curiosity but didn’t sell well anywhere else. He continued recording in the late 1980s and 1990s, issuing a few CDs and producing a few other local artists. Nothing managed to breakthrough for Stormy, but he never stopped trying. We always loved to get a call from Stormy. He will be missed.



Field Trip To Syl Johnson’s Home!

Last week Numero took a field trip to Syl Johnson’s Bronzeville home to interview him about his life growing up in Mississippi and his early musical memories and experiences.  It took awhile for us actually sit down with him and talk since we were totally blown away by the sheer amount of eye candy on the walls of his home.

Here’s the record room with platinum LPs from the likes of Public Enenmy, Wu-Tang, Kid Rock and a 10,000,000 sold cassette of Syl’s self released Twinight comp!

We were equally floored by Syl’s wall of fame in the hallway which includes headhsots of an early 80′s Oprah, WLS afternoon anchor woman Linda Yu (check this great video of her from 1994) and a photo collage of Syl with some random elderly people who we thnk came with the frame.

On our way out the door we were pretty excited to see a actual stock share of the Twinight Record label made out to Syl Sylvester (Johnson) Thompson back in 1968.  More to come on the name change in the liner notes to the box set coming atcha’ in 2010.



NPR’s Morning Edition Represents


The Chicago based music label Numero Group reissues forgotten gems from all different genres of music – rock and roll, gospel, funk, R&B and soul. Most recently some of the performers went on tour under the banner of the Eccentric Soul Revue. Guest host Jennifer Ludden speaks with one of the label’s co-founders Ken Shipley and one of the performers, Renaldo Domino.



Gene Cash is Money
October 29, 2009, 9:08 am
Filed under: Good God!, Twinight | Tags: , ,

CashMoneyHoes

Yesterday we had our first sit down with Chicago ghetto-custom label legend Gene Cash. We’ve been working with Gene for the last few years as a songwriter on Harrison & the Majestic Kind’s “Can You Find Me A Love” for Twinight, and we finally got the license done for the Victory Travelers’ “I Know I’ve Been Changed” which appears on Good God! Born Again Funk (releasing 1/26/2010).


Pictured above is Gene with tha’ Group, captured for historical posterity by his friend Larry, whose last name none of us can seem to remember. More information about Gene Cash can be found by clicking Harrison’s link above.



Renaldo Domino @ The Five Spot
May 26, 2009, 9:09 am
Filed under: Twinight | Tags: , ,

Renaldo

It was pure coincidence that we happened to be in Brooklyn working on the Al Jarnow DVD, allowing us to have dinner with Renaldo Domino and catch his smoking show at the Five Spot last Saturday night.  Renaldo was living it up like a king in Brooklyn and having a blast being in the boroughs for the first time since his gig at the Apollo in 1969.  He had a brief rehearsal with the band but was feeling good and looking forward to hitting the stage as we delved into some delicious soul food at the Five Spot.

Renaldo Stage

The Dig Deeper crew had Renaldo learn a few of his cuts he recorded for Mercury Records back in the early 60′s which really upped the ante for the gig.  The Divine Soul Rhythm Band and the Sweet Divines sounded great after a crash course in Renaldo’s repertoire that afternoon.  You can listen to some of the tracks on the Dig Deeper website and again, many thanks to Richard and Michael for putting together this amazing show.



Renaldo Domino In Brooklyn!
May 15, 2009, 2:41 pm
Filed under: Twinight | Tags: ,

renaldo_flyer

For all you East Coasters who couldn’t make it out to Chicago for our Eccentric Soul Revue last month, we’re happy to let you know that Renaldo Domino will be hittin’ the stage in Brooklyn next Saturday night, May 23rd at the Dig Deeper Soul Party in Fort Greene, Brooklyn.

They’ve got quite a show planned for you as Renaldo will be backed by the Sweet Divines who have added three strings for the evening to flesh out some of his tunes.  The venue is nice an intimate so don’t sleep on getting your tickets here before they sell out.

Here’s a link to a video of Renaldo’s first appearance on stage in over 35 years to hold you over until Saturday.



Syl Johnson rehearses Different Strokes
February 4, 2009, 4:38 pm
Filed under: Eccentric Soul Revue, Twinight

For Numero’s Eccentric Soul Revue – tickets going fast!



Dictionary definition of “Feelin’ It”
December 19, 2008, 9:57 am
Filed under: Twinight, Uncategorized

If we had a Fan Of The Week feature, this dude would certainly win the prize. This level of enthusiasm should be attained every time you buy a record:

42



Toothbrush-powered record player
December 18, 2008, 11:39 am
Filed under: Methodology, Twinight

I do a lot of my best thinking with a toothbrush in my mouth. Since the Sonicare system came into my life some five years ago I’ve found myself with exactly two minutes at the end of every day to reflect. Sitting on the edge of the bathtub I imagine projects, be it records or home repair, my mind naturally wanders deep into little dreams, unbothered by the mid-pitch buzz going on a few inches below.

Last night I was stuck on a conversation I had with Jerry from Used Kids in Columbus, Ohio. In a town dominated by college kids, LP sales are through the roof with some titles doing 30+ copies based on one thing, and one thing alone: Price. For years, companies like Scorpio have been bootlegging rare LPs and selling them for a few dollars above cost and turning a healthy profit. The sound is terrible and the covers are just scans of the original. There are no notes, no bonus tracks, and no added value. And yet, they sell tremendously well. If Johnny College has twenty bucks for LPs and has the choice between one for $19 or two for $17, who can blame him for choosing the latter? He’s used to listening to music on an iPod and his turntable is likely a Crosley from Urban Outfitters. He digs the music and could give a shit about the fidelity. 

I can’t help but wish we had a product for this kid, but we don’t. Our LPs are in the $20 range, and they sometimes cost (with royalties and manufacturing) more than a Scorpio LP costs in stores.  I stood up for the last minute and stared at the mouthwash bottle. I thought of Terry Currier at Music Millennium telling me over the summer that he had “too many new LPs in stock and not enough buyers,” and that “labels are over-saturating the market with bullshit product.” I couldn’t help but sympathize. I mean, who the fuck wants to buy a 180 gram edition of the Doobie Brothers Minute By Minute LP for $23 when they could buy it at any yard sale in America for a quarter? 

In my mind I budgeted out the cheapest LP we could make (and be happy with our logo on) and it still cost $4.80. Even if we sold it at $7 it would still be in stores for $12. The mechanics of this business all point to bootlegging and filesharing as the only viable options for the future. Numero issues a gorgeous 4LP set of Twinight’s Lunar Rotation with 14 bonus tracks and it languishes in bins at $45. Another five copies of Syl Johnson’s Is It Because I’m Black Scorpio boot will move in the time it takes to sell Twinight once.

The buzzing stopped. I spit and rinsed.



From Lunar Rotation to standing ovation, or, how The Numero Group took Twinight from twilight and put it back on the stage.

Our 2007 compilation Eccentric Soul: Twinight’s Lunar Rotation was the product of over two years of cold calls and random door knocks on the south side of Chicago. In the process we turned up dozens of DJs, promoters, backing musicians, managers, and performers that had circled the Twinight label’s bowl on their way out to the sea of forgotten 45s. We found them, we interviewed them, and we paid them, but it seemed that these dusty relics required something more than a check and a commemorative 2CD set. They wanted their due.

The idea of a live soul revue had been kicked around at many an office meeting, but the logistical nightmare of flights, hotels, and rehearsals always kept it on the whiteboard. In the end location made everything possible.  Twinight was in our backyard, and its artists were in the garage.

On April 4th 2009, The Numero Group’s Eccentric Soul Revue will make its debut at Chicago’s Park West Theater. And while Syl Johnson, the Notations, and Nate Evans perform regularly around the world, Renaldo Domino, the Kaldirons, and the Final Solution haven’t been on stage in over 30 years. 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 Chicago soul memorabilia and a DJ set from The Numero Group, followed by an autograph and photo line.

You can buy tickets for a mere $22 on our website with no service charges now, or wait until Ticketbastard puts them on sale on January 2nd and tacks on an additional 8-10 dollars in “convenience” fees. Either way, this is the must see Chicago soul event of the year, possibly the decade. Tickets purchased from our site will be held at will call and can be picked up at the show.

See you there.




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