Numero Group: By The Numbers

Nashvillains Unite!
June 8, 2010, 2:53 pm
Filed under: Caroline Peyton | Tags: , ,

Following the release of Caroline Peyton’s two brilliant Bar-B-Q albums last year, Ms. Peyton returned to the stage for the first time since the early ’80s for a performance in the Basement of Grimey’s in Nashville. It went well enough that she agreed to perform at a Bloomington, Indiana reunion concert of sorts (think a real life Mighty Wind), but has been quiet since.

When her Bloomington alum Mary Flower decided to come through Nashville, it was only appropriate that they co-bill. This Thursday, Caroline returns to the stage for another two rounds, of which we encourage you to attend at least one if you’re in the greater Nashville area.

The details:

June 10

East Nashville Performing Artists Co-Op

107 N. 11th St.
8:30 p.m.

June 12

The Basement

1604 8th Ave. South
7 p.m.

Got Live If You Want It
April 8, 2009, 2:29 pm
Filed under: Caroline Peyton, Uncategorized | Tags: ,

Just four days since our Eccentric Soul Revue wrapped and we’ve got more Numero Live to inform on. While neither of these shows are presented by us, they’ve both got our stamp of approval. If you’re in a 100 mile radius of either, attendance is mandatory. 


After a triumphant return to the small stage at Grimey’s in Nashville last month, Caroline Peyton is taking it all back to where she started: Bloomington, Indiana. Lighthouse keeper Marc Haggerty convinced the old Needmore Commune faithful to get back together for one more go, including BRBQ-founder Mark Bingham, Bob Lucas, Dillon Buston, Ruthie Allen, and our Caroline. The flyer boasts “many more,” but whether or not Kathy Canada will make an appearance is anyone’s guess. Details:

Saturday, May 9th, 7PM, Buskirk Chumley Theater, $10. 

Numero is considering making the four hour trek, but only if the entire staff of Secretly Canadian is in attendance. 


For the international set, Catherine Howe will be at The Macbeth in Hoxton on Monday, May 11th, 730PM. Opening the show are China Soul and Little Emperor, two bands we’ve never heard of nor vouch for. Catherine on the hand… we’ll vouch for her in a second. She’s got a new album in the can and is looking for a label, interested parties know how to find us. Her voice is lovely as ever, and you owe it to yourself to hear it live. Mainlanders who can’t jet off to Hoxton for the weekend: Have no fear. We’ve heard rumor of her doing SXSW next year. Fingers crossed. 

Unlike Saturday night at the Park West, Numero will not be hocking our wares at either show, though both ladies will likely have copies of their respective records for sale.

Live Peyton
February 24, 2009, 10:03 am
Filed under: Caroline Peyton



When Caroline Peyton strolled into Grimey’s on the day we reissued her two albums, their generally well-informed staff had no idea she lived right there in Nashville. Somewhere between that day (1/26) and last week, an idea was hatched to have her play live in the store’s basement club. Having played none of these songs in nearly three decades, Caroline approached it with an unusual amount of zeal, reworking the complex arrangements for presentation on a single guitar. 

Tomorrow, February 25th, Caroline Peyton will perform a handful of tracks from Mock Up and Intuition in Grimey’s basement club as part of the AIMS/CIMS convention. She’ll be appearing alongside Clem Snide and the Dexateens, and we’re completely jealous to be stuck in the snow up here. If you’ve got a Flip, a phone, or any other means of recording, we’ll be happy to host and post here. At the very least check her out, she doesn’t do too many dates these days.

Out earlier today
January 27, 2009, 9:58 pm
Filed under: Asterisk, Caroline Peyton


In the midst of closing Smart’s Palace, we nearly forgot that Asterisk gave birth to two more titles: Caroline Peyton’s Mock Up and Intuition. While we were busy shipping them out to your favorite record emporiums last week, Tim Perlich at Now Toronto chimed in first with the following:

While most labels are just starting to get back up to speed after the holidays, Chicago’s Numero Group has been busily readying the next two releases in their Asterisk album reissue series – the remarkably great Intuition and Mock Up albums independently recorded in the early 70s by singer/songwriter Caroline Peyton, Bloomington, Indiana’s answer to Joni Mitchell. 

Jazzy folk fiends will know that Intuition has previously been reissued on disc (and the song Just As We appeared on the Gilles Peterson Digs America set), but the Asterisk version adds seven bonus demos of otherwise unavailable tracks, and none are throwaways. The ante on Mock Up gets upped with a two-song live video clip recorded at Bloomington’s Hummingbird Café. The performances and production quality will leave you wondering why Peyton isn’t a household name today.

The secret love child of Laura Nyro and Patty Waters is waiting to be adopted. Housebroken and groomed for your record collection by the Numero Group.

Why Peyton?
January 14, 2009, 12:04 pm
Filed under: Caroline Peyton, Methodology | Tags: , , ,

An interesting question was posed to me yesterday by a friend: Why release the Caroline Peyton records when A. they’d been issued in Japan a decade ago, and B. Intuition was recently bootlegged by Fallout? From a consumer perspective, these are absolutely valid points. The trend of putting things out on CD three and four times is nauseating, as the music “biz” leaves nail marks on the edge of the cliff  in an attempt cash in on a dying format. Live At Leeds is on three different CD configurations, the Elvis Costello catalog has been issued by Ryko, Rhino, and Universal—in the last decade!—and Bowie has seen Aladdin Sane, Ziggy Stardust, and Diamond Dogs on Ryko, Virgin, and as deluxe 2 disc sets. The reality is that any album worth its salt has been issued on CD at least twice. Even we snuck a new version of Capsoul into the marketplace, updating it with better sounds and new liner notes.

So why does anyone need the Peyton albums on CD again? For openers, I doubt anyone owns them on CD in the first place. And if they do…they own the shittiest possible versions. The Fallout boot of Intuition is a joke. Liners? If you like a paragraph and half with a Rolling Stone quote tossed in, they’ve got you covered. Mastering? If not even bothering to bootleg off of the Japanese issue with bonus tracks and instead opting for a needle drop is your thing, then yeah. It’s hard to even call this a reissue. The Japanese editions of Mock Up and Intuition aren’t terrible, but they were issued in 1995 and contain only lyric transcription and notes in Japanese. The graphics are minimal, but there are two bonus cuts on each. Best of all they were sourced from the tapes. The worst part? You’d have to spend $40 each on them, and that was when they were in print. 

This whole mess came about after we had finished Ladies From The Canyon and impressed Caroline with our savvy ability to get media attention and make a nice product. She sent me a box of tapes and photographs to peruse for a possible re-reissue. At the time it just wasn’t a good fit; these records are admittedly a little too obtuse for the main Numero line. But after Asterisk was launched, the project started to make more sense. Michael transfered the tapes and scanned the photos, I made a playlist of my favorite stuff from both albums and her unreleased demos. For awhile I really wanted to do a Best Of, 17 of her best tracks on CD and LP. But Numero doesn’t really do Best Ofs. And for a day we bandied about doing a box of the BarBQ trilogy of records that includes Mock Up, the Screaming Gypsy Bandits’ In The Eye, and Intuition but abandoned that idea as too ambitious. These albums, flaws and all, needed to be presented as albums. 

Mock Up is easily my favorite. It’s got a stoney Joni feel to it, even if it gets a bit out there in the back half. We augmented with a live track, Caroline’s three cuts off In The Eye, and an enhanced video from 1972 filmed at the Hummingbird Cafe in Bloomington, IN. There’s scores of unpublished photos, including this one taken at the Hilton in New York before her big audition with Clive Davis:


Left to Right are Mark Gray, Caroline, and Mark Bingham, gorging themselves on the company card. It’s this kind of depth that makes doing these records worthwhile.

Fans of Intuition are in for a real treat. In addition to the original 10 song LP, we’ve included two out takes and five demos Caroline recorded upon arrival in LA in 1978. These demos strip all the coked-out boogie table dancing moments of the album and feature just Caroline and a guitar. They’ve got a real open water yacht sun tanning and Boone’s Farm feel to them and are some of my favorite moments of Peyton’s career. 

Over the next few weeks we’ll add a few other songs that didn’t make the cut, like a torch song version of Tom Waits’ “Please Call Me Baby” that is fab, but out of place on either record. 

Both drop on January 27th but can be ordered on our site now.

Biding our time
December 9, 2008, 5:29 pm
Filed under: Caroline Peyton, The Young Disciples, Uncategorized

As happens at the end of every year, we find ourselves in a holding pattern between records. The hustle and the bustle of trying to shove project after project out the door has been replaced by organizing, paperwork, and stuffing records. Michael and I had a 25 minute conversation about how best to handle our impending tape library overflow. Judd and I discussed the number of Trivial Pursuit decks to bring on our trip to Wichita at the end of the month. We considered canceling the Ice Mountain delivery because of our seven bottle surplus. The overstock has been analyzed and boxes have been targeted for our new storage pace. I even found time to sweep up the little tufts of rug-raff collecting in my office. 

This never lasts. If all goes as planned, Bruce from 24CB will come by on Friday to transfer more tapes. Caroline Peyton’s Intuition and Mock Up CDs will arrive next week. We’ve got at least 800 Young Disciples LPs to mount library pockets on. The storage space is about to get a two-pallet jump in unused LP jackets and unsold Johnny Lunchbreak and Propinquity stock. Another run to WEA will happen. Plans for Wichita (and Little Rock if we can swing it) must be confirmed, including hotels, car rental, and whether or not Ben and Kyle from Numero’s documentary team will be joining. Michael has threatened to accompany us as well. And then? Royalties. A long hard slog of nearly 200 checks and corresponding paperwork that requires 4/5ths of the staff and every square foot of my office floor (I’m sweeping in anticipation). 

Oh sure, I’ve got collection calls to make, a new Australian distributor to find (Creative Vibes is closing at the end of the year), deals to write for Light On The Southside, a liquor sponsor to find, a deal with P-Vine in Japan for Jackie Stoudemire and Arnie Love full lengths to sign, an Ugly Things ad to brainstorm, membership cards to order, and have to call Comcast for what will most likely be a fierce blow out with name calling and belittling. 

Can’t wait.

“When a pimple turns into a rash” or “Journalistic Juan Tamads…”
November 8, 2008, 12:22 am
Filed under: Caroline Peyton, Methodology, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , ,


This week’s blog post is dedicated to the many reviewers of our releases….

Growing up in a dreary southern suburb of Chicago [which shall remain nameless] and cultivating a record collecting habit which remains with me to this day, I found myself blowing into the Windy City as soon as I could drive [’87], as often as possible, 4-5 times a week to either fulfill my record collecting obsession at Wax Trax [RIP] & Reckless, to cut my teeth at the Lounge Ax [also RIP][thank you Mark Greenberg, Sue Miller, Sarah Staskauskas, et. al.] or visit friends at DePaul University.

Any avid record collector will recount the many albums that were ‘everywhere’ and ‘common’ but have now ‘dried up’ like grandfathers remembering how many blocks they had to walk to school. Caroline Peyton’s Intuition and Mock Up LPs fit into these ‘used to be common’ LPs I used to encounter on a weekly basis. Released on Bloomington IN’s BRBQ Records, these LPs were like the Missa Luba to a record collector in neighboring Chicago, they were ubiquitous [!] and I ignored these albums countless times possibly until some fellow beat digger told me I should check out the track “Party Line” or some such business. In fact, I think I’d probably bought Intuition more than once and ended up selling it back, not having musically matured enough to appreciate the complexity of the record [let’s not even mention Mock Up!]. To my ears, the albums were just too all over the place, what with it’s vocal histrionics, smooth jazziness and didn’t fit at ALL into the indie music world I was enthralled with at the time; too smooth, dated and something my pops would probably enjoy [hey! We had Steely Dan albums up the wazoo at the house OK?].

I was re-introduced to Caroline Peyton by tastemaker Gilles Peterson on his Brownswood USA compilation which features the beautiful “Just As We” track [nope, didn’t even make it that far bouncing around looking for ‘banded’ breaks…] and things start to make a bit more sense. But of course, by this time, the album is nowhere to be found and is selling for close to $50 on eBay [thanks Gilles!]

Well fast forward to the end of 2008 and here we are set to release those two releases by her at the same time as Asterisk titles. So, I am forced to listen to these two albums again [sigh]. Making myself familiar with material inside and out is something that is integral in my line of work; for fact checking purposes, the drafting of press releases, etc… I respect our line of releases and I’m sure if you’re reading this that you do too. So I had to give these releases some quality time and listen to them anew and with open mind and ears.

I’m sure that many of you will agree that while each Numero release contains fantastic music, that there is also a unique story that accompanies it. Having grown older, I rarely find time to get acquainted with an album like I used to [e.g. reading liner notes and lyrics while listening to the album], what with teensy weensy CD booklets or downloads with no nothin’. Upon first listen, I fell back into the same old patterns and feelings as encountered the during the first forays with her music. However, while reading these liner notes and becoming familiar with the Bloomington music scene at the time, Caroline and Mark Bingham’s time at the Needmore Commune and their musical backgrounds, I cultivated a much appreciated reverence for the music that was created at a unique time and in a unique place.

Yeah, the music IS all over the place but that only speaks to the creativity and willingness of the musicians to branch out and fully express themselves with no barriers that a major label would have no doubt confined them to. Upon closer listen, Mark Gray’s piano playing on Mock Up rivals Mike Garson’s work on Bowie’s Aladdin Sane, Caroline Peyton shows her vocal range and adaptability across both records and Mark Bingham’s arrangements are stark, lush and expansive.

The point of this long post is this: Reviewers should spend more time with our Asterisk titles. You are not going to ‘get’ these releases upon one or two listens. I know that each and every reviewer we deal with has a crap load of promos that they have to wade through and I respect this. However, if you DO decide to review one of these titles, remember this: Asterisk titles are quite different than the already established Numero titles. They require the listener to spend some time with them. Liken the liner notes to the information you procure while getting to know a brand new girlfriend or boyfriend. It’s all there and they will reward you later on if you have the guts and take the time to stick with them.

I know when I heard the WEE album, I was like ewww….. there is a bloody synth running through every bleedin’ track! How awful! But, after repeated listens, the album has grown to be one of my favorite releases thus far and this is one of our best selling and well received albums in our catalog. [Imagine our surprise!]

I’m sure some of the reviewers who listened to the WEE album once or twice and then reviewed it without giving it its proper due are now kicking themselves…. that is if they haven’t already sold it to some second-hand record shop….

Lastly, on a side note, the pimple on the ass of the record business has now grown into a RASH as the Intuition album is already being pimped and bootlegged by none other than James Plummer of Radioactive, Fallout [how clever], Sonicus and Blue Orchid infamy. We are currently in the process of working with eBay and their VeRO program to cleanse the market place of these bootleged issues of the album. I would discourage anyone from buying these copies as they are inferior, illegal and have nothing special to offer, not even any liner notes, just plain cheap. Our releases are properly licensed and the Mock Up album is expanded to include four bonus tracks culled from the Screaming Gyspy Bandits’ In The Eye album along with an enhanced live performance at the Hummingbird Café in 1972. The Intuition release includes seven bonus tracks, including two studio outtakes and five demos recorded for Arista.

Oh yeah, this is a “Juan Tamad.”


Mocking Up Mock Up
October 30, 2008, 3:49 am
Filed under: Caroline Peyton | Tags:

I spent most of the day editing Edd Hurt’s notes for our forthcoming reissue of Caroline Peyton’s Mock Up album. Hurt is a total pro newspaper writer, going way too deep and uncovering all kinds minutia that no one in the world could ever care about. In other words, a classic Numero associate. Notes always start out as long and rambling, over stuffed and lacking direction. I trim, Tom trims, Judd trims. We argue, in raised voices and under our breath. Eventually we end up with something worth reading. 

With Edd there’s been no arguing (not yet anyhow), and because of his being such a good sport, I feel compelled to share a larger patch that met my scissor-digits. Edd clearly spent way too much time on this, and it needs to be documented in some form or another.

“The Needmore Commune had been started by an Indianapolis native named Kathy Noyes Canada, who was receiving an inheritance from her father, Evan Noyes, an executive at pharmaceutial giant Eli Lilly and nephew of the company’s founder.  Moving to Bloomington in 1967, Kathy Noyes quickly met and married a local boy named Larry Canada.  With extra money to burn, they bought up about a thousand acres in rural Brown County.  Not a commune in the strictest sense of the word–residents lived in individual farmhouses and cabins built by the farmers who originally worked the land, and there seems to have been no organized effort to pool resources or distribute food and money–Needmore attracted not only musicians, artists and dropouts but also the attention of local law enforcement, the Ku Klux Klan and the FBI. 

The sheriff of nearby Nashville, Ind. was apparently a member of the Klan, which meant law enforcement had a certain partisan aspect not usually favoring the Needmore folk.  Wandering about in the woods one afternoon, Bingham found an effigy of an African-American man, dressed in overalls and with steel wool imitating hair, that had been used extensively and enthusiastically as a kill-dummy for local cops and rednecks.  As Bingham wrote the songs for Mock Up, he and Peyton often heard gunshots fired in the direction of their rehearsal space, while the resident radical lawyer found gasoline-soaked hay bales stacked around his house.  The FBI took interest in Needmore when they discovered that Larry Canada knew Rennie Davis, an anti-war protestor, original member of Students for a Democratic Society and defendant in 1969’s infamous Chicago 7 trial.  FBI agents arrested Canada as he sat in Bloomington’s People’s Park on land he and Kathy owned.  The Klan sent literature to her neighbors.  In the early ’70s, Kathy Canada divorced her husband and sold Needmore’s land to the Kneadmore Life Community Church.”

All on the cutting room floor. Why? Because it advances neither story nor character, two cardinal rules of good story telling. It’s also a disheveled mess, but hey, it’s in pre-edit form.