Numero Group: By The Numbers

Catherine Howe Speaks
August 5, 2011, 8:29 am
Filed under: Catherine Howe

Nearly five years ago, we began putting into motion our reissue of Catherine Howe’s debut album, What A Beautiful Place. It being only our 12th release, we were still fairly green, and ultimately we ended up doing a far superior vinyl issue last year. Since our reissue in 2007, Catherine has done only a handful of interviews, adding little pieces to the story in each one. Memory is like that. Yesterday she forwarded us a link to a recent interview that she had done for Jazzwax. The money quote:

“I have never fallen out of love with recording. I write songs to perform them. As long as people hear them, I’m content.”

The full transcript can be found here.

Even if you don’t want to read the interview, do yourself a favor and watch Catherine doing her best Linda Ronstadt impression from 1976:

The words are different when thought in red
June 29, 2010, 8:05 am
Filed under: Catherine Howe | Tags:

Way back in March we quietly issued a vinyl version of Catherine Howe’s debut album, What A Beautiful Place. Those in the know quickly snapped up the first pressing (replete with bonus 7″), while the late adopters will kick themselves for years at missing out on the gorgeous “Let’s Keep It Quiet Now.”

This morning we got a message with a link to one of the only Catherine Howe interviews we know to exist (though there’s a Record Collector feature on her coming next month), chock full of little nuggets that are missing from our liners.

Here’s a sip:

“The front photo to the album was taken at Kenwood House by Terry Ibbott. Kenwood is a beautiful place to the north of Hampstead Heath in London, with great history behind it. The photograph was taken two or three weeks after we had finished recording What a Beautiful Place and when Bobby Scott had already returned to the USA.”

Now take a drink.

New and Extremely Limited
February 15, 2010, 3:22 pm
Filed under: Catherine Howe, Good God!, Methodology | Tags: , ,

Back at the end of 2009 we started talking about putting Numero 012 Catherine Howe: What A Beautiful Place on vinyl. As you may have noticed, over the last 24 months we have been actively trying to get the entire catalog on wax, a feat we should get two steps closer to by the end of the year when we issue a deluxe version of Numero 002 Antena: Camino Del Sol. One of the major stumbling blocks for What A Beautiful Place was figuring out what to do with the CD bonus track “In The Hot Summer.” The not-quite-a-concept-album’s “Prologue,” “Interlude,” and “Epilogue” were perfectly spread out on Reflection Records’ original 1971 issue, and it made no sense to try and stuff the bonus track on there.

Having taken the bonus 45 route with Pisces: A Lovely Sight (sold out kids), we thought it might be fun to resurrect the old Reflection label. We dug back through our archives and relistened to the bonus tapes Catherine had sent over to us while working on the CD issue. A half dozen demos had been cut before she ended up recording Harry for RCA, including “Let’s Keep It Quiet Now,” a real Lite-FMish pop ballad. Now all we had to do was figure out who could manufacture those old-style UK breakaway spindles.

When I talked to Beth Proctor at United about the possibility of doing a breakaway spindle, she countered with, “Did you and Jack White just get off the phone?” It seems the White Stripe had been thinking about doing something similar for his Third Man imprint, but wasn’t ready to pull the trigger. Master in hand, we pushed hard. Two months later tests of the first UK style 45 to ever be pressed in America showed up at our door.

The Catherine Howe 45, (limited to 1000 copies) will be available only through our website when you buy the LP issue of What A Beautiful Place. You can pre-order it now and the LP will be shipped to your home or office before the 3/17/2010 release date.

You’ve heard the “new,” so what’s the “extremely limited”?

To commemorate their new product extension, United wanted to press up a handful of breakaways to give away to the big wigs at Warner, EMI, Universal, and Sony. They wanted it to look and sound good, so you know who they called. Jack White? No. Numero! More than likely because we could guarantee artwork and a WAV file in one day, United asked us if we’d like one side of an extremely limited 45. Thinking only, “How can we make the collector nerd sweat?” we said yes.

The real battle was figuring out what we would want in our personal collections on 45. There was talk of an unreleased Four Mints track we discovered in Dean Francis’ archives a few years back, and after a copy of the Andrew Brown 45 on Brave blew up we considered it too. But when the dust settled, Trevor Dandy’s “Is There Any Love” was the winner. Don’t Cry Little Tree easily commands $500+, and is, in our opinion, the classic one-tracker. Couple the Kid Cudi and Monsters of Folk samples from last year with the song’s three appearances in Friday Night Lights‘ 5th season and you’ve got a recipe for a hit 45. Except for one thing:

United only pressed 200 copies.

So while the people running the music into the ground are sitting on 100 freebies, likely even tossing them into the trash, the rest of you are left to fight it out for the remaining copies. And since we know this is going to end up on the Bay for triple the value by the time it sells out by week’s end, we’ve priced it accordingly. There will be no repress, there will be no mercy. There will be only one per customer.

More about the 45:

We initially contracted Jaffa from the-Unknown to build us a multi-use back plate. It would have looked something like this:

But due to time constraints (United literally mastered, plated, printed, and pressed these in six days), we had to scrap the back plate idea. Not wanting to go with a stock color background, we dialed up our label man Davd Hamlet to see what stock back plates he had lying around. Both Kenny Dope and Daptone had recently used the old Modo plate, so we couldn’t go that way. And Get Hip had a bunch of Capitol orange and yellow swirls laying around. But what we really wanted was something blue… something like the old London label, you know, the one Jaffa was biting in the first place! Norton’s Rolling Stones cover 45 series had us covered. We bought up a few hundred sheets and had David walk them over.

Why only one side? The other side is basically an advertisement for United’s new product line and features an etching of their logo and website address. The records themselves come in our stock Eccentric Soul 45 sleeve for easy pulling.

What, you’re still here?