Of all the many folks that we’ve lost along the way, few could ever be remembered as dearly as Dean Francis. The Numero Group has been knowing Dean since it’s first release, 001 Eccentric Soul: The Capsoul Label, which features his songwriting and instrumental talents. His efforts are still being felt in Numero releases with the still mysterious catalog number 045 that we’re putting the finishing touches on now. He was a true pioneer of soul music in Columbus (as Jerry McMahan from the Suspicious Can Openers lamented to me today.) He was the definition of true believer. Stricken with a condition that caused his skin and internal organs to harden, Dean had numerous fingers amputated over the years, making it impossible to play the drums. He continued to write and compose with his one or two usable fingers until the end. Seven years ago, he even took the Greyhound bus to Chicago to crash on Numero co-owner Rob Sevier’s couch to hang out at our new office and bring some master tapes for the reissue of the Four Mints LP (the alternate versions of “In A Rut” and “Too Far Gone”.) Even over the last few weeks when he was dying and knew it, he wouldn’t cop to it. Only our last conversation did he start to show signs of strain… he was weak and having some trouble talking. Truly one of the most beautiful people we’ve ever encountered in the many years of doing this, and connected to more releases than any one other artist.
Dean passed on at 3:30 this afternoon and it’s been a truly sad time, calling his many friends who may not know otherwise. I think it’s impossible to overstate our love for this man and his talents. We wanted to get this note up today, but tomorrow we’ll share some more stories and photos from Dean’s long and accomplished career.[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4QtyFU-fEOw]
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