Numero Group: By The Numbers


After These Messages: Miller Lite Time With The Numero Group
May 29, 2015, 12:54 pm
Filed under: Boddie, Lowlands, Syl Johnson, Tragar | Tags: , ,

Screen Shot 2015-05-29 at 1.45.52 PMSo you’re telling me there’s a bodega, that plays nothing but Numero Group songs, and it’s staffed by Kenny Power’s Mexican baseball coach from Season 2 of Eastbound & Down? In the fictional world created by the Miller Brewing Company, this is precisely the case.

“Silver Man,” set to “Hole In Your Soul” by A.C. Jones & Soulettes (Boddie)

“Last-Minute Gift” set to “Love Of The Morning” by Circle (Lowlands)

“Twins” set to “Trying To Get To You” by Syl Johnson (Complete Mythology)

“Silver Man 2” set to “Hole In Your Sole” by A.C. Jones & Soulettes (Boddie)

“One-Tripper” set to “Messing Around” by Bobby Owens & The Diplomats (Tragar)

P.S. As a North Carolina native, I must say that the Cheerwine cameo seems to blatant to be a coincidence. Anybody?

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Marsh Men: Numero’s Entire Run Of Mad Men Placements
May 20, 2015, 9:51 am
Filed under: Boddie, Deep City, Lowlands, Twinight | Tags:

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The Numero Group considers themselves very lucky to have contributed several songs to the sonic landscape of Mad Men. And for the sake of historical accuracy, the songs were often upstaged by grand-slam singles from the Beatles, The Jimi Hendrix Experience, The Turtles, et al—just like in the good old days. Even at TuneFind, a website dedicated to identifying songs in television and cinema, users gathered in the comments field to determine what unidentified track is being played, quietly, in a peripheral scene—a diner, a brothel. Time and time again, those song originated here on Marshall Boulevard. But we’re quite content with our role in Mad Men, and are perpetually thankful that special people—music supervisors and viewers alike—continue to discover the great songs that populate our dense catalog. So if you’re planning a Man Men binge, look out for these Numero tunes, scattered about the show’s 7-season run.

S2, E2 “Flight 1” – George McGregor, “Temptation Is Hard To Fight” (Twinight)
Notes: Starts towards the scene where Peggy is making out in the hallway.
S2, E2 “Flight 1” –  Edd Henry, “Crooked Woman” (Big Mack)
S2, E9 – Helene Smith, “Pot Can’t Talk About The Kettle” (Outskirts Of Deep City)
S5, E5 – Harvey & The Phenomenals “Darlene” (Boddie)
Notes: Playing in the background when the guys are in the brothel
S6, E4 – Stormy, “The Devastator” (Twinight)
S6, E4 – The Grand Prixx, “I See Her Pretty Face” (Big Mack)
S6, E10 – Cave Dwellers, “You Know Why” (Run Around 2×7″)
S6, E10 – Pretty, “Electric Hand” (Mustache In Your Face 2×7″)
Notes: At the pool when Don had been rescued from drowning by Roger.
S6, E11 – Little Alice, “Why Oh Why” (4J, Unissued)
Notes: Pete, Peggy and that partner guy are sitting at a bar
S7, E14 – Bobby Welch, “Benshaw Glenn” (Lowlands)



Behind The Sign Boddie Sighting
November 7, 2014, 2:26 pm
Filed under: Boddie

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The documentary short Behind the Sign briefly details the career of Earl Phillips, owner of U-Need-A-Sign Company of Cleveland, Ohio. At 1 minute 49 seconds you’ll notice the cover image for Boddie Recording Company: Cleveland, Ohio—boasting one of the thousands of signs Phillips has painted since opening for business in 1960. If you are in Cleveland and you need a sign, why wouldn’t you go to 3838 East 131st Street and get you one of these nice hand-painted masterpieces? As they say at Earl’s, “A business with no sign is a sign of no business.”

Boddie Recording Company: Cleveland, Ohio is available on 5LP/3CD at our website. 

 



“For People Who Like To Have Fun” – Way Out Records
March 5, 2014, 12:12 pm
Filed under: Boddie, Lou Ragland, Way Out

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Way Out Records is just months from induction into the Eccentric Soul hall of fame. Over the last few weeks, we’ve been in especially close contact with our Forrest City allies, in search of 11th-hour odds and ends to complete this 3LP/2CD undertaking. Hunter/Gatherer, knowledgable collector, certified public accountant, and all-around good guy Cameron Kowall has been sending us mind-bending impressions from an endless stream of Cleveland Call and Post back issues that thread together numerous Cleveland titles from our back catalog. Below are a few highlights. The last clipping mention’s Lou Ragland’s debut, “Party at Lester’s,” a tribute to Way Out founder, Lester Johnson. With Eccentric Soul: The Way Out Label we pay tribute to all of the men and women of this prolific imprint. With this blog entry we pay tribute to Cameron Kowall! Keep up the good work, Cameron!

Eccentric Soul: The Way Out Label touches down June 24th, 2014.

basement rock group(From Pressed at Boddie)

Diplomats(Later, Elements)

Hot Chocolates Band(Music by Lou Ragland and the “Hot Chocolates Band”)

Lou Ragland Call and Post(or “Patty at Lester’s” as it were)



Bill Spoon (1942-2013)
November 13, 2013, 1:54 pm
Filed under: Boddie, Way Out

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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.



Check My Machine: Diego Martinez (Los Nombres)
October 3, 2013, 10:04 am
Filed under: Los Nombres

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For every Numero release, there is a cast of characters that we stay in regular contact with, even years after an album has come and gone from the New Arrivals bin. While our newborn compilations are consistently coddled and pampered, we love all of our children equally. When Los Nombres were featured on Cleveland Public Radio a few weeks back for National Hispanic Heritage Month, the group’s founder and #1 fan Diego Martinez was unable to join us in the studio due to health issues. Ever enthusiastic, Diego called to congratulate us on a job well done, not an hour after we ended transmission.

When Grammy nominations fail to materialize into Grammy statuettes, or when your relatives stare blankly as you tell them, for the third Thanksgiving in a row, exactly what you do for a living, messages like this serve as their own tiny trophies, letting you know that your work is impacting the lives of good people.

Los Nombres is available on CD and LP, and contains 10 of the most dynamic Latin soul songs ever committed to tape: the deepest ballads, the highest instrumentals, poppy dancers, and sentimental romancers. In the words of Diego Martinez, “short and beautiful—to the point!”



Los Nombres on WCPN with Dee Perry (2pm EST)
September 16, 2013, 8:41 am
Filed under: Los Nombres

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A few years ago, the Numero Group released a powder keg of recordings by Lorain, Ohio’s Latino septet of note, Los Nombres. As part of their National Hispanic Heritage Month programming, Cleveland’s NPR affiliate WCPN (90.3-FM) will be hosting Los Nombres guitarist Pepe Rivera and our own Jon Kirby to discuss this energetic ensemble. The 10 songs compiled for Asterisk’s 9th and final release have always held a special place in our heart, and Numero is happy to revisit this remarkable, if not underrated, compilation (available here).

The Sound of Applause with Dee Perry will touch down on the FM dial today at 2pm (EST) and stream live at WCPN.org. The show will be archived later in the afternoon, which now that it is the future, we can tell you lives right here for download or listen.



PBS bronzes the Boddie Recording Company
February 22, 2013, 4:28 pm
Filed under: Boddie | Tags: , , ,

DSCF2743On Wednesday, Louise Boddie and our own Dante Carfagna were part of a spirited discussion at Cleveland’s Rock N’ Roll Hall of Fame. In anticipation of this Black History Month-focused calendar, Cleveland’s PBS affiliate WVIZ produced a short-form documentary on Thomas and Louise Boddie’s Boddie Recording Company, which can be watched in its entirety here.

 

This doc just scratches the surface of the Boddie’s incredible body of work, which we’ve documented in great detail on our Boddie Recording Company: Cleveland, Ohio 5LP/3CD box set.



Numero: The Year In Review

While the rest of the world polls minor celebrities and hipster-douchebag record label owners, we quietly sent out an email last week to our staff asking them to rank their top ten Numero releases for 2012. The surprising results are as follows:

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10. Circuit Rider: S/T

Close your eyes and Imagine The Doors backing The Prophet Omega. Now open them upon a picture of Thorn Oehrig, the mind and voice behind Circuit Rider. The first thing that may pop to mind is “student council president.” He’s white, well-groomed and lacks the requisite thousand yard stare of a paranoid outlaw on the lam. And yet the music contained here is so defiled that you can imagine that if he did hold the power seat in high school, it brought forth his inner cult leader, biker gang honcho, and 19th Century sharecropper. Power driven by powerlessness; John Brown. Oerig’s vision is like civil war re-enactment applied to the sixties underground, sounding more like a field recording from the remnants of an Appalachian slave clan moved to the cheap side of Laurel Canyon than a perilously corralled Paul Rothchild production of drunken film students holed up in Morrison Hotel. Thoughout it all, it’s obvious that the guy isn’t kidding. He has been transformed. Beware. It’s contagious.—Tom Lunt

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09. Shirley Ann Lee: Songs Of Light

Back in the spring of 2006, Ken Shipley, Rob Sevier and I holed up in a downtown Chicago studio and transferred a myriad of tapes from Ecorse, Michigan’s Revival Records label. At the time it was the biggest excavation that Numero had ever encountered. After listening to over 150 tapes and thousands of songs that year, we produced a remarkable compilation and created a new series with Local Customs: Downriver Revival.  By far the star of this release was Shirley Ann Lee, the gospel singer from Toledo, Ohio.  There were more tapes in the Revival cache of Shirley Ann Lee than any other artist that Felton Williams recorded at his home studio…and for good reason. Her voice is like none other that I have ever heard before. At times she sounds like a constant contradiction: raw and poetic, bitter and sweet, sinful and sacred.  After years of listening to hundreds of tracks by her, we were proud to present Shirley Ann Lee: Songs of Light in 2012 (the 3rd album in our Numerophon series).  It is comprised of 16 exceptional tracks that are both experimental, evocative, and forthright in their own special ways.—Michael Slaboch

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08. Buttons: From Champaign To Chicago

Part A: On Facebook, re: Julian Leal’s “Get Away,” my brother Neal wrote: “Our mission is to make everybody like this song, if it’s the last thing we do.”

Part B: “Get Away” isn’t even my go-to track on this. It’s still Tom Orsi’s “Where Are You Now,” as power pop as that may not be.

Part C: Pro Packaging Personalization: Take your 2LP gatefold and put it in a plastic LP sleeve. Then select your favorite of the Buttons 7×7 artist promo slicks and put it in the front within the smaller plastic sleeve they all came in (I’m currently using The Names, for example). Next, position your slicks sleeve at bottom left, inside your Buttons LP sleeve, so that it decorates a corner of the Buttons front cover, partially obscuring Ken’s shirt-and-vest getup (but not the yellow Illinois lapel button) and allowing you, the obsessed owner, to tell the world which Buttons track is currently owning every synapse of your power pop neural network. —Judson Picco

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07. Codeine: When I See The Sun

When the idea of taking a run at the ’90s first came up, the Numero office found itself at something of an ideological crossroads. Discussions about “catalog purity” gave way to arguments about our label’s scope, mission, and vision. Terms like “post-songwriting” were thrown out and thoughts of yet another label were pondered. Eventually we realized Numero was more like software, something that could be applied to anything with positive results. We’ve made DVDs, covered salsa, and soon will make our first foray into hard rock. If we couldn’t handle a sleepy early-’90s group from Manhattan, how could we expect to ever really chase our personal muses?

I’ll be the first to admit that Codeine was a passion project for me. I’d loved the band since high school, sneaking out to see them in Petaluma, California, on their last tour. Their three record arc remains a shining example of what happens when a band quits while they’re ahead. The idea of reissuing their smallish catalog came to me upon discovering that our one-time sales maven JR Robinson had made a record with former Codeine drummer Chris Brokaw. A few months later, Chris was sitting in my office. A few weeks later I was on the phone with Jon and Stephen. Then Sub Pop. A personal journey was completed in a matter of weeks, as I went from fan to piece of a complex puzzle. I was no longer just a proud owner of a Loser t-shirt, I was in the process of turning the Sub Pop logo on its head.

The unique packaging concept began with a question from Rob Sevier: Why can’t bonus CDs slide out of a little pocket in the same fashion an LP does? Henry Owings took that question, and, with the help of Jeff Kleinsmith’s original art, reinvented Codeine’s classic trilogy of records for a new generation. Judson Picco and myself spent weeks drafting and redrafting the liner notes, pulling on every thread until we were satisfied we’d told all the story there was to tell. Jeff Lipton grabbed victory from the jaws of DAT failure, rescuing a great many crunchy tracks over the process of remastering the 6LP/3CD set. The result feels like a Numero record, but has a distinct out of house flavor. Not quite a “Group” effort, but a Herculean one nonetheless.—Ken Shipley

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06. Love Apple: S/T

Love Apple may be this year’s best kept secret. A single LP in Kraft paper jacket this dinghy is easily lost behind the armada of flagship releases this year.  Don’t let its modesty fool you, the Ragland produced, Boddie recorded sketches of three Cleveland sisters over a lone guitar and drums has seen heavy play in our headquarters this year.  With unique melodies that sway from elegant to eerie and sparse instrumentation this is the record MPC junkies dream of. Seriously, how has this not been sampled yet?—Nate Meiners

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05. Eccentric Soul: A Red Black Green Production

In 2011, the world caught just a glimpse of D.C.’s  Robert “Jose” Williams and his studio wizardry when we released Father’s Children: Who’s Gonna Save The World. That album represented but a few tapes amongst a treasure trove of D.C. soul, including released and unreleased works by the Summits,  Skip Mahoaney & The Casuals, Promise, Dyson’s Faces, and the Exceptions. Dithering down the 30-odd tapes was no easy task, as originally this was slated to be a a four, possibly five, CD set with full albums by Dyson’s Faces, the Exceptions, Skip Mahoaney, and Father’s Children, with another disc of extras (including this femme falsetto gem). This unprecedented access to the source material gives RBG (as it’s lovingly referred to around the office) a polish and sheen not found on many other Eccentric Soul compilations. If you’re a sucker for low rider ballads, we encourage you to put your rub-off tear drop tattoo on, roll down the windows, and cruise.—Zach Myers

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04. Lou Ragland: I Travel Alone

As Numero’s web specialist, I see lots of things float by our digital domain. I’m privileged (and sometimes horrified) to hear snippets of works-in-progress where I’m completely unaware of what the work actually is. That’s how I originally came across Lou Ragland. I was listening to a random swath of songs when I noticed several stand-out tracks which seemed to be related, but I wasn’t sure. These songs were tied together semi-stylistically, but what grabbed me was the warmth and depth that pervaded each and every track. When Lou Ragland: I Travel Alone landed on my desk at Numero’s New Jersey office, all was clear. I clearly need to get the fuck out of New Jersey.—Jonathan Land

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03. Alfonso Lovo: La Gigantona

Had La Gigantona surfaced during my college years, it would be fossilized into the bedrock of my musical identity today. Between gravity bong hits of Lee Perry and keg stands of Herbie Hancock, Alfonso Lovo would have provided the perfect crossfade between my intensifying interests in jazz and Caribbean psychedelia.Then I would be able to reminisce with random classmates over the holidays—modern lawyers, bankers, sales reps—and they’d say, “Dude, remember how we used to listen to Alfonso Lovo ALL THE TIME?! We were obsessed with that record! I play it for my wife now and she hates it!”—Jon Kirby

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02. WTNG 89.9: Solid Bronze

For those select fans still holding to the misguided notion that Numero Group is a “soul music” reissue label, 2012 must have been quite sobering.  Sure, there have been multitudes of non-soul or gospel titles on the label over the past ten years…Pisces, Lonestar Lowlands, and our two volumes of power pop via the Buttons series, but nothing could have prepared anyone for what we came up with for Record Store Day. Inspired by radio station compilations released throughout the ’70s and ’80s, the idea was to compile a sampler for our own (quasi fictitious) WTNG station; a literal “who’s that?” of a silky smooth style we lovingly refer to as “easy glide.”  After hundreds of hours of listening to potential inclusions, the eleven tracks that finally made the cut still found themselves on repeat play around the Numero office. This is the sort of record I never knew that I NEEDED in my life until it existed. I need more.—Dustin Drase

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01. Eccentric Soul Omnibus

One box to rule them all. We thought many things about last year’s #1 set, the Boddie Recording Company. We thought we’d never spend longer on a project (wrong, some of this research started even before there was a Numero to release it). We thought we’d never see such a shipping nightmare in person (extraordinarily wrong, note the multiple injuries in the shipping department). And furthermore, we thought that any such project that would top last year’s #1 would surely blow its release date (on that point we were correct.) We present the 045 Eccentric Soul: Omnibus… 45 singles, 90 songs, 45,000 words of liner notes, 96,000 tears, 3 bottles of Adderall,  one nervous breakdown, all packaged lavishly in a handy classic 45 case. Now we’re really wondering how to top ourselves.—Rob Sevier



The 700 Series
July 27, 2012, 2:06 pm
Filed under: Boddie, Titan

Earlier this year we teased three double 45 releases in the mysterious “700 series.” After being distracted by Buttons and Omnibus over the spring, we finally circled back around to these last week and knocked them out. Details:

701 Pretty: Mustache In Your Face

When tape rolled on these songs, guitarist Bob Theen and drummer Alex Love were a decade deep into their tenure as Kansas City rock n’ roll journeymen. After spending two years holed up in the real-life underground chambers of Cavern Recording Corporation, they emerged with eight songs and a temporary name—their fourth in a string that necessitated five business-card reprint orders. Their band—dubbed “Pretty” by engineer and producer Michael Weakley—managed to spelunk only two songs out of the cave, which were issued in 1969 as a promo-only 45 wearing the truly un-pretty Squeakie label, a madman’s face in red-on-white, howling out of the spindle hole. The rest of Pretty’s eight-song experiment was shelved, and ultimately given away to a record collector, along with a trove of Cavern tape archive spoils, when the studio closed in 1986. This subterranean body of work might so easily have been pitched into a dumpster, but instead the tapes got carefully packed away in a caring Kansas City attic.

Thirty years later, we’ve secured these tapes, and are reissuing the two song 45 alongside a twin single of previously unreleased material. Group members have been sourced, interviewed, and paid. Sessions photos have been secured. Replicas of the original labels are being printed now. Feast your eyes:

702 Wicked Lester: You Are Doomed

Gene Klein and Stanley Eisen had moved well past the calling themselves Wicked Lester by 1979. Known to the record-buying world as Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley, they’d ditched their original handle back in 1973, to take on the name and greasepaint combo that catapulted them to worldwide rock superstardom: Kiss. Repossessing Wicked Lester would take a certain level of gumption, but none too much for Bill Arth, Pat Singleton, and John McLaughlin, three West Side Clevelanders plotting their own rock ascent while riding the St. Edwards High School football team’s bench. Mark Cleary, the fourth Wicked Lester, went to Holy Name, but he and Pat had been neighbors since the age of five. They’d already burned through the Fyre and Decoy brands before coming of high school age. Wicked Lester, named after and in awe of Kiss, was to be a more serious endeavor.

Wicked Lester’s sole vinyl release, a 1981 7” that Thomas Boddie jotted down as W-8110, paired teener throwback and distorted guitar on “Here Comes My Girlfriend” with the shifting meter, lovesick late Pink Floyd moves, and creepy kid laughter in the coda of “Say Your Prayers,” recorded on the same ominous day that John Hinckley Jr. shot President Ronald Reagan. The single proudly wears Louise Boddie’s hand-scratched label design, with Wicked Lester’s brash “WL” logo, nicked whole-cloth from Van Halen’s early LPs and displayed brazenly during Lester stage shows. Much to the chagrin of VFW patrons who happened to be hanging about the Halls they sometimes played to, Wicked Lester hung an altered American flag, with that flashy logo replacing our 50 stars, as their backdrop. The band also put the Boddie cassette duplicators to work, though only briefly. With a five-song demo cassette run of no more than 100 tapes, Wicked Lester barely had enough to place in the hands of classmates and friends.

Four of those songs are now being unleashed from the Boddie tomb. Housed in an attractive gatefold sleeve, Rob Sevier’s essay attempts to capture the angst of suburban Cleveland hard rock in the early ’80s. Success abounds.

703 Cave Dwellers: Run Around

In Jack McPhal’s August 20, 1965, article on the Cave Dwellers for the Chicago Sun-Times Midwest Sunday magazine, the esteemed crime reporter considers himself “a square, unable to appraise judiciously the nuances of rock ‘n’ roll.” He spends the bulk of the five-page article discussing the group’s hair, quoting an aggressive and unidentified mother with “If a boy looking like that came calling on my daughter, I’d kick him out of the house.” Cave Dweller organist/guitarist Gary Goldberg offered this sheepish justification: “You gotta do it. Ever since the Beatles, the kids expect it. A new rock ‘n’ roll group with crew cuts couldn’t get off the ground.”

The Cave Dwellers’ “You Know Why” was recorded at Universal Studios and laboriously laden with horns and strings, Buckinghams-style, after the fact. Given just a few minutes to produce a b-side, the Dwellers unleashed their primitive and theretofore-unheard power. “Run Around” ended up a punk precursor that took contemporary rock to its tough, angry, and logical conclusions, scorching past anything the radio ran in its day. Intending only to tear off something fast and easy, the Dwellers had achieved one of Chicago garage rock’s most ferocious moments.

Trading in the mid hundreds, the Cave Dwellers loan single is finally rejoining society, paired with two previously unissued cuts from 1967. Requests for Gary to cut his hair for the reissue have gone unanswered. We’ll keep trying.

All three titles in our 700 line should be available in late September.