Yesterday, the Numero Group lost a friend in Bill Spoon. The Numero faithful will remember Bill Spoon from Pressed at Boddie. A native of Alabama, Bill Spoon’s musical career took him first to Cleveland, then Memphis, then several decades in California, before settling most recently in Atlanta. I’d spoke with Bill a few weeks ago in preparation for Eccentric Soul: The Way Out Label, where Bill had minted his first singles with the Soul Notes for the Cleveland indie in the late ’60s. We spoke of a shared fondness for the mountains of North Carolina, specifically Cherokee, where Bill and his wife trekked every few months. Bill had just been released from the hospital after a lengthy stay, but appeared to be on the mend. This news came as shock.
One experiences an assortment of feelings when one of their client/collaborators passes: gratitude for having been associated with the dearly departed, and a duty to press forward and share their music with all those willing to listen. Nestled among those feelings is a reminder that we’re all getting older, and that we must be diligent in our musical outreach, research, and reconnaissance. Our hearts go out to Bill’s friends and family.
Fortunately we have a vehicle in which to circulate some of Spoon’s early recordings. Way Out Records was a quirky little operation in East Cleveland, funded with the financial drippings of number runners, boosted by Hall-of-Fame running back Jim Brown, and frequented by some of the region’s most notorious soul men. “Lester Johnson decided he’d call it Way Out because it was such an extreme idea—an unlikely success story,” explained label president Bill Branch of his one-time business partner Lester Johnson. In 2014, we will see to it that all of the in-sounds from Way Out get the acknowledgment they deserve.
1 Comment so far
Leave a comment