Filed under: Twinight
If you’ve seen Renaldo Domino in the last few years, you know he barely looks a day older than he did in the cover photo for Eccentric Soul: Twinight’s Lunar Rotation. Renaldo takes care of himself; He doesn’t really party, he doesn’t consume bleached flour, and steers clear of refined sugar (ironic, considering his stage is derived from the Domino brand sweetener). Yes, time has been kind to Renaldo Domino, which is why those in the Chicago area would be advised to check out The Renaldo Domino Experience this Thursday at Reggie’s (2109 S. State Street). The show starts at 8pm and a mere $10 will grant you entry.
The Renaldo Domino Experience, 2/4/2016 at 8pm (Facebook Event Page).
Filed under: Syl Johnson
After premiering in 2015 at the Chicago International Film Festival, screening to a sellout crowd at DOC NYC and winning the Audience Award for Best Documentary Feature at Indie Memphis, Syl Johnson: Any Way The Wind Blows is kicking off 2016 with a trio of West Coast screenings!
On Saturday, February 20th at 7:00pm the film will screen at San Francisco, CA‘s Roxie Theater as part of the Noise Pop Film Series and the San Francisco Independent Film Festival which will include a Q&A with Syl Johnson, director Rob Hatch-Miller and producers Puloma Basu and Michael Slaboch. Tickets for this screening are also available now!
And we are proud to announce that the film will screen in Missoula, MT in February at the Big Sky Documentary Film Festival! The screening date and time have not been announced yet but tickets and passes will soon be available at http://bigskyfilmfest.org/.
Finally, please enjoy this video of the Q&A with Syl Johnson and the filmmakers that followed the film’s New York premiere at DOC NYC.
It was Dante Carfagna who first suggested that we compile all the records from Miami’s first black-owned record company: Deep City. At the time, the 40-year chain of title was a bit unclear, but we kept seeing the same three names on every record: Johnny Pearsall, Willie Clarke, and Clarence Reid. With Pearsall dead and Clarke in the wind, Clarence would be our first point of contact.
My first encounter with Clarence Reid came during the 2005 edition of SXSW, in the green room of Emo’s. I’d brought print outs of 45 labels baring the Deep City, Lloyd, and Reid imprints, and he thumbed through them slowly while I asked a series of extremely specific questions. Who owns the rights? When was the last time you talked to Willie? Who were the Delmiras? I prattled on for a few minutes before Clarence stopped me and told a story about his experience in the music business:
If you get fucked up the ass by a dinosaur once, you blame the dinosaur. But if you get fucked up the ass by a dinosaur again? Boy, that’s your own goddamn fault.
Reid had been burned many times in his career; Sold off his publishing at a low point in the ‘80s, his masters in the early ‘90s. About the only thing he had left was the mask and cape he donned to perform under his alter-ego Blowfly. That night he had little interest in my schpiel about how we could resuscitate his career. He had songs to sing about rappin’ dirty and shittin’ on the dock of the bay.
Numero did finally track down Willie Clarke, and the first Deep City came out in 2006 sans any Clarence Reid songs. Most of the masters, as it would turn out, were sold to Dial and Jamie-Guyden. But there were publishing royalties due. Not much, but some. Our first check to him was around $350. He called up a few days after receiving it to tell me something I’ve since heard dozens of times, but which still gnaws at me:
This is the first royalty check I’ve gotten in my entire life. I got advances, I got cars. But no one ever bothered to tell me where I was at. Thanks for that. Now I’m going to watch jai alai. Fuck you later.
Once a year, Numero Group ally Dante Carfagna walks into the belly of the album-oriented rock behemoth at 2 Prudential Plaza, WXRT 93.1-FM, to drop knowledge nuggets regarding Chicago’s dense music history aboard Richard Milne’s “Local Anesthetic.” In his tenth installment in as many years, Dante focusses on the refined arrangements of William “Sonny” Sanders, a studio fixture during the zenith of the Chicago Sound. A great, informative listen from an authority on Chicago soul music. Download by clicking HERE or stream below.
Filed under: Universal Togetherness Band
Kudos to our friend and filmmaker Simon Brubaker on this insightful little feature detailing how the Universal Togetherness Band went from musical guests aboard The Chicago Party to the stars of their own dreamality show within the Numero Group universe. This is essentially an instruction manual for how to make a Numero Group release—Yes, it’s just this easy! Watch, repeat, repost, and retweet. And if this is the first time you’re hearing about the Universal Togetherness Band, then get on down to our website, where you can sample much of their tremendous output.
Bonus Track: Jon Kirby and Andre Gibson on WBEZ’s The Morning Shift with Tony Sarabia, January 2015.
Do you have a favorite Numero Group record from 2015? The Numero Group’s staff numbskulls wrestled for a while, took a vote (making the wrestling sort of pointless), and came up with this Top Ten list, starting with from #10 (like David Lettermen would have done)…
Four years after reaching out to Justin, Vern, and Sara, we finally put our long running series of Unwound box sets to bed with the biggest of bangs: their swan song Leaves Turn Inside You coupled with the nervously broken Challenge For A Civilized Society. After beginning with rough brown kraft paper on Kid Is Gone, we moved into buff kraft for Rat Conspiracy, and stark white for No Energy, Empire pushed the ’90s paper trajectory to its logical conclusion: black on black with a high gloss finish. “Not everybody is so lucky to crystalize their legacy so nicely,” Justin Trosper said. “I can’t really think of a better way to put the capstone on the whole experience. It’s given us a lot to reflect on and allowed me to process things that were left open. That period of my life was very defining and it’s nice to be able to move on but also have a beautiful document for other people to experience and learn from.”—Ken Shipley
Not unlike the thirteen performers on this single disc slab of Sunday morning rock and roll, Numero has a knack for making it look easy. Well, it’s not easy, but loving what you do helps, and we do, and so did the Southern Faith Singers, and everyone else on Saved & Sanctified: Songs of the Jade Label. Gene Cash established Jade in Chicago in 1963, and kept at it for a dozen years, turning out countless recordings, most of which have never been heard by even the most fanatical gospel heads. As a project there’s not even that much to say about this one—the music speaks for itself and there’s not that much to add except to say we’re proud of this one.—By Committee
Its always such a thrill to cut right to the heart of a local music scene, and The Royal Jesters’ English Oldies compilation did just this. So rare is it that local fans come out to support in the way that San Anto fans brought their love for Royal Jesters that we were totally unprepared for the initial demand. People were coming from all around South Texas just to get a chance to see their beloved Jesters in the (admittedly, wrinkled) flesh. The CD was so desireable in town we had every little Tejano shop that wouldn’t normally give us the time of day calling us up for copies. It felt like the old world record business where a record takes off unexpectedly and we were scrambling to get the product in all the local stores. Our release party was truly Jester-mania, with a line of ravenous fans around the block waiting for a glimpse of their beloved stars.—Rob Sevier
An exciting by-product of our “leave no stone unturned” approach to reissues is stumbling upon completely unissued material. While researching what would eventually become Local Customs: Cavern Sound, a lone business card for Missouri booking agency New Sound Projections and a sparse 1-sheet for a band called White Eyes would lead us to a sublime album of late-’60s psychedelia. Fans of Jefferson Airplane, Pisces, The Guess Who and dare we say it, Head-era Monkees, will undoubtedly fall in love with this road-hardened band that just never caught their big break.—Dustin Drase
Eyes of Love really stands out to me as one of the most outstanding Numero artifact of this year—danceable grooves, positive messages, and an unlikely origin story. The overwhelming sense of optimism in the lyrics and music contrasts beautifully with the dark and grimy acoustics of the prison walls, and teaches us how to not be a prisoners of the past. I’m especially glad that all of these guys are free to enjoy this record’s rerelease and still looking sharp!—Stephen Arndt
The Laurel Canyon scene produced several of the all time greatest SSW albums (Sweet Baby James, Blue, Tapestry, just to name a few). One of the things I love about the scene, was how so many legendary artists lived just a few blocks away from each other, drank coffee, ate meals, wrote songs, did drugs, and had sex with one another. It’s no doubt that this collaborative community is responsible generating so many amazing records over the course of just a few years.
Greasepaint Smile is a near perfect embodiment of the scene. It straddles the line between traditional and progressive folk, featuring a Carter family classic “Gospel Ship” butted against the politically driven “Collection Bureau.” And like most Laurel Canyon scene LPs, Greasepaint featured heavies like Neil Young and Nils Lofgren who made pro bono contributions of the face-melting variety. Yet the resultant long-player is simply more raw than any of it’s counterparts that were picked up by major labels. Seemingly Weinberg wasn’t interested in what L.A. had become. While David Crosby ingested a mountain of cocaine in the back of a limousine somewhere in the Hollywood Hills, she quietly packed up and left the City of Angels forever leaving Greasepaint unreleased.—Blake Rhein
Being a film major (at University of Iowa, but still), this was my first big visual project for Numero. The DVD that accompanies this set of high energy, post-disco tracks is only 80 minutes long, but it was culled from 12 hours of footage, most of which I watched 5 times over. So even though I am still undergoing therapy to get the Chicago Party theme out of my head, I will always cherish the time I spent with the ladies of MC2, the mostly naked contortionist, and the tutorial on the “electronics pinball machine” or Pac-Man as it’s more commonly called today.—Adam Luksetich
Despite the issues inherent in romanticizing any historic period, when asked the old “If you could live in any time” question, the only reasonable answer I have is: “New York, late seventies.” In my defense (and for evidence of what might be the last heroic moment in Art history), I submit, the Ork Records boxed set. Displaying all the attributes of a revolutionary movement, these kids are willfully isolated, self proclaimed, highly aware, in opposition. As a simulacrum, the images and music therein do a pretty good job of capturing that feeling. Get into it for the glamorous depravity of Richard Hell’s torn triangles, stay for the postmodern paranoia of the Feelies… or Susan Springfield’s no-prisoners bravado. Oh, and that’s Basquiat’s “SAMO” scrawled on the door behind those two laughing women, and then there are a bunch of intentionally bad Stones covers that are actually really good, and who can forget the unknown hero giving us the double bird from the back seat of Charles Ball’s car? The thousands of photos we had to pass on are a testament—the observers of this scene knew something special was happening. So yeah, helping make this document is as close as I will ever get to stepping into a time machine.—Tim Breen
This thing tossed up and around a year ago? I’m not from Michigan—a Hoosier boy myself—but I think if I would of been kicking about up North in 1974, I would of bumped into Cowell at every darkened corner, bottles up. Can’t imagine that the landscape and environment are much different than down in my neck of the woods. It’s all still grabbing on to the night with some brews packed in your bag, heading into the woods, waiting for school days to leave you behind. Finding women—drinking—bearing a HEAVY LOAD. I mean, the guy had a softened heart. Who would have even noticed that puppy the old boy is gripping in his arms right in the midst of his whole rainwear set? Was our boy a Gemini? Down in the gutter—I’ll see you there, all days before Cowell.—Drew Davis
I guess I’m not surprised to see the Universal Togetherness Band at the top of this list; I think we all work at the Numero Group, hoping to encounter at least one Universal Togetherness Band during our tenure. For those of you just joining us, this quintet was completely undocumented and the music was completely unreleased. Where did we find them? On a 3/4″ U-Matic video cassette lip-synching on the illuminated dance floor of the CopHerBox II nightclub at 117th and Halsted, 1982. Oh, and the music? Imaginative, inspiring, uplifting, extraterrestrial soul music, pulled straight from the magnetic tape, and mixed in ultra-high fidelity by the remarkable Sean Marquand. To me, it’s the prototypical Numero release… plus, it’s from Chicago? As bandleader Andre Gibson entered the office each day with a bag of tapes and a smile, everyone got to experience the excitement of making a Numero record in real time. If you enjoy truly unique dance music, that which is impossible to categorize or compartmentalize, you’re on the right track. And if you happen to be a curmudgeonly reissue skeptic who thinks that there’s nothing left out there to excavate from the catacombs of music history, I encourage you to check out the Universal Togetherness Band before you embarrass yourself any further.—Jon Kirby
Last week, we made an Instagram post, stylishly showcasing the complete cassette discography (tapeography?) of Dallas County, Missouri songwriter Jimmy Carter. But in handling the media, we discovered some really fascinating aspects that we felt deserved a closer look. Jimmy Carter’s lone slab of vinyl, Summer Brings The Sunshine, is available to one-thousand lucky individuals via our seasonal music club, Project Twelve. Slots within this elite fleet are filling fast, so we suggest you jump on it, post haste.
A live demo from Carter’s German era, featuring “Folsom Prison Blues,” “Duling Banjos [sic]” and the original, “Ballad To Ode.” Printed on a faux vellum paper stock, these are pretty rare.
Keep in mind, these recordings were not made with other musical servicemen stationed abroad; the majority of players were locals. How many guys do YOU know named Volker that can pull off a cowboy hat? (see above)
Ain’t What It Seems has an especially personalized artist list. Next to each contributor is a fleck of color commentary provided by the gracious bandleader. A few examples:
“Ingrid Fehres de Schmitt and Ute Gröner, the vocal duo “Sie & Sie” (Professional, dependeable, and a joy to work with.”
“Roland Kneller, bass, a man who walks alone a good man”
“Dave Sage, drums & vocals, he keeps his word”
So on and so forth.
…To say nothing of these outlaws!