When we first got the tapes for what would become NUM025 24-Carat Black: Gone: The Promises of Yesterday LP/CD, we thought we had a lot more material from which to compile from. From the four tapes that we transferred, only six usable tracks managed to make it off the reel. The rest were in such bad shape that we got one pass at capturing what was left. And even then, there were only four songs that were audible. But what great songs they are! Listen:[audio https://numerogroup.files.wordpress.com/2013/04/24caratblogmp3.mp3]
Hear that crackle? That’s the tape falling apart as we ran it. Live degradation! Even though they’re just shade past inaudible, we’ve always carried a soft spot in our hearts for these orphaned songs. So much so that when it came time to put a piece together for our RSD pop up store, our thoughts immediately returned to these annihilated masterpieces. But how to package the barely listenable? In our travels over the last decade we’ve come across our fair share of scorched acetates. Flaking, cracking, bubbling… most get a play at most before needing to be tossed in the dumpster. And yet there is beauty in that decay. To give you a little sense of the hope served over a bed of disappointment we often feel, we’ve recreated that look as a 10″ picture disc. Yes, picture disc. The worst sounding vinyl format.
We’ve pressed 549 of these things, opting to package them in a kraft sleeve with the traditional “Broadcast Records Fragile” imprint found on so many acetates—as opposed to a tough clear plastic sleeve. The kicker? You can only buy them at our pop up store this Saturday, limit one per customer. If you want this, you need to find a way to get to Chicago or bribe a friend of yours to line up and get one for you.
For the third year in a row, the Numero Group will “pop up” on Record Store Day as a retail store. Much vitriol and hate has been spewed at us in the past for our circumvention of “the rules,” and since we’re gluttons for punishment (but really because we’re slaves to our fans) we’re loading up our cars and renting tables in hopes of breaking last year’s record of 1062 entrants.
While last year’s bonanza found us occupying the Empty Bottle’s 3000 square feet, we’ve opted for a smaller and more low key space this year. Meet the Comfort Station:
Located triangularly at the intersections of Kedzie/Milwaukee/Logan Blvd, this turn of the century park district way station has been hosting left field artists for the last half decade. We’ve been drawn to the building for years, marveling at its odd size and multiple points of entry on our way to $3 movies at the Logan Theater. Last year’s event was a massive success, but also a massive headache. We’re hoping this cozier space leads to a more enjoyable experience for both Numero and our customers. We’ll have every Numero record that is currently in print, plus the following “exclusive” Record Store Day items:
NUM704 Hüsker Dü: Amusement 2×7″
NUM202.1 Giant Henry: Big Baby LP
NUM201.5 Codeine: What About The Lonely? CD/LP
Additionally, we’ll be manufacturing several items you can only buy at Comfort Station that day:
NUM025.5 24-Carat Black: Acetate picture disc 10″
This “acetate” features four songs from our 24-Carat Black tape archive that were scorched beyond use on 2009’s Gone: The Promises of Yesterday LP/CD. But given the quality of the songs, we’ve always felt that the material should be available for the sake of posterity alone. Now, in an edition of 500 copies, you too can experience the sorrow we felt as the source tape disintegrated in front of our eyes. All the drop-outs, hiss, warble, and degradation can be yours by attending our pop-up store on April 20th 2013. It looks like this:
We’re also making a series of mix tapes by the working staff of the Numero Group. Ken, Tom, Rob, Zach, Jon, Nate, Dustin, Leland, Michael, and Haley have created 40-minute, themed mixes of their favorite released and unreleased Numero songs. Each tape is limited to 20 copies and will be sold for $5. All proceeds go to the Numero RSD lunch fund.
In addition to our own junk, we’ll have a handful of tables filled with rare, weird, and cheap LPs, 45s, tapes. For the third year in a row, we are not recommending that you only attend our store on Record Store Day. You should definitely visit Reckless (3 locations), Dusty Groove, Permanent, Laurie’s Planet of Sound, Dave’s, Jazz Record Mart, and Saki, which will have all of our non-pop up store RSD goods.
So, where are you going to start queuing up at 7AM on April 20th 2013?
The Numero Store
2579 N. Milwaukee Ave. Chicago, IL 60647
April 20th 2013
Filed under: 24-Carat Black
When 24 Carat Black’s first album debuted in 1973, the band had splintered into two separate groups. Originally formed wholesale from Cincinnati’s Ditalians, the majority of the young group had become disillusioned with their patriarchal leader Dale Warren and returned home, picking up their own fanbase but keeping the name to capitalize on the recent Stax release. The few folks that stuck around became the core of a new band, made out of Chicago musicians connected through a loose network. Although this band toured for at least a year together, their was never a formal publicity shot captured of this second incarnation of 24 Carat Black. Unearthed after almost 40 years is the only photo ever seen in modern times of the 24 Carat Black group responsible for Gone The Promises of Yesterday. We need to thank legendary disc jockey Al Luv AKA Al Jenkins for sharing it with us (note that it’s personalized to him).
After hounding Bruce Thompson and the rest of the members of 24 Carat Black that were included on our LP release Gone: The Promises of Yesterday for months and frustrating months, we finally printed jackets with some great archival images, but perhaps not as much as we would have loved to have had. Now a few bits and pieces have come to light, falling out of the trees long after we shook the branches.We’ll share a few here over time, but save the rest in the hopes that some new material comes to light and we can expand on our original release!
After nearly five months out of commission, our trusty tape machine lives again. The first tape? A stack of masters brought over by 24-Carat Black’s Bruce Thompson. Don’t get too excited, none of these are 24CB, no third album is forthcoming. Rather, his buddy Harold Harris found a stack of dusty tapes from his nights spent jazzing at the Playboy Club. When we saw “What’s Going On” scribbled in ballpoint on the box, we knew it had to be listened to. And because this was the inaugural tape, Tom Lunt set his iPhone to “record” and came up with this little joint:
Filed under: 24-Carat Black
One project has a habit of leading to another… Twinight led to Final Solution, Deep City led to Outskirts of Deep City, Ladies From The Canyon led to Caroline Peyton… and so on. Many of the Numero people are sitting on a bunch of weird and cool recordings, and any time we have the opportunity, we get into the exegesis of our artists. Today, Bruce from 24 Carat Black came by and brought some reggae recordings (among other things) from the early 1980s. We said “Bruce, how can you make reggae? Did you fake a patois” and he showed us. We couldn’t find a take-up reel to transfer the actual tapes, so here’s Bruce’s re-enactment of what we’re gonna find on these newly unearthed tapes:
Filed under: 24-Carat Black, Downriver Revival, Lonesome Heroes, Pisces | Tags: Pazz & Jop
The venerable Village Voice Pazz & Jop poll has deemed Numero’s Wayfaring Strangers: Lonesome Heroes to be the one-thousand-six-hundred and twentieth best record of 2009, above # 1641,Various Artists, Purplish Rain (Prince Tribute Record), Spin Magazine Download, # 1731, Shpongle, Ineffable Mysteries From Shpongleland and # 1864, DJ Plastician, Cashmere Agency Presents Mr. Grustle & Tha Russian’s Dubstep LA: Embrace the Renaissance Vol. 1 Mixed by Plastician. Awesome!
The one to beat, though, was # 1160, Warren Zevon, A Playlist I Made of Warren Zevon Songs. Damn. Maybe next year.
Critics of America, keep up the good work!
Addendum: Probably because I was reading the list on my phone last night, I forgot to note:
# 946 Various Artists, Downriver Revival
# 1029 Pisces, Pisces:A Lovely Sight
# 1113 24 Carat Black, Gone: The Promises of Yesterday
Looks like we kicked that Zevon playlist’s ass!
We have always depended on the kindness of strangers.
Let’s strive for the low 800’s next year!