Numero Group: By The Numbers

Ebirac Returns
July 29, 2011, 4:12 pm
Filed under: Ebirac

The recorded legacy of Carlos “Caribe” Ruiz was captured in great detail on the compilation Cult Cargo: Salsa Boricua de Chicago. What is impossible to capture is the live show. It can only be experienced live, in person. For the last few decades, since his tragic and premature passing in 1987, the orquestas Caribe sponsored, managed, and led, have remained dormant. Their members spread to the four winds (meaning, in this case, the suburbs of Chicago, for the most part) and joined or formed other orquestas and small ensembles.

This is far from the first time that former members of Ebirac orquestas gave played salsa together, but this may be the first time they are assembling to revisit some of their old repertoire. Tonight, as part of the 7th Annual Printer’s Ball at Columbia College, the Ebirac magic returns to Chicago. Featuring Tony Morales (ex-Tipica Leal) on trombone, Arturo Vasquez (ex-Union) on second trombone, Jimmy Hernandez (ex-Justicia) on keys, Willie Gomez (ex-Tipica Leal) on vocals, and David Arroyo (ex-Tipica Leal) on congas.

Check ’em out between 9:50pm and 11pm at The Ludington Building at 1104 S. Wabash Ave. tonight! And look for some future Ebirac projects.

Out now: Salsa Boricua De Chicago
March 31, 2011, 9:40 am
Filed under: Ebirac, Newsworthy | Tags:

In all the hub bub of Record Store Day, our pop-up shop, and Pressed At Boddie, we sorta spaced out that we released a record on Tuesday. At least the CD version of it anyway.

Salsa Boricua De Chicago is the first entry to our Cult Cargo series in over four years, standing the concept on its head entirely by pushing world music through an American keyhole. Culled from Carlos Ruiz’s miniscule Chicago-based Ebirac label, Salsa Boricua De Chicago features fifteen tracks from Orquestas La Solucion, La Justicia, Under The Sun, and Tipica Leal (along with the Ebirac All-Stars, Ramito, and La Calandria). Using the original master tapes, we’ve painstakingly created the alternative to New York’s Fania label.

No expense was spared in the packaging, which includes replicas of the four Ebirac LPs and a 60-page perfect bound book stuffed with photos, flyers, paintings, and an absurdly detailed essay by our own Rob Sevier.

If none of this is convincing, give this All Things Considered piece that ran yesterday a listen:

Last Call for 2011 Subscriptions. Bonus 45 revealed!
March 29, 2011, 12:48 pm
Filed under: Ebirac, Father's Children, Record Store Day, Subscription

Next Monday we’re closing 2011 subscriptions. Between our Record Store Day exclusive (included in the sub. and shipping imminently) and the subscriber-only bonus 45, we need to be able to plan how many are going to who and where.

To recap:

$100 CD subscription includes:

035.5 Local Customs: Burned At Boddie CD
037 Father’s Children: Who’s Gonna Save The World CD
035 Boddie Recording Co.: Cleveland, Ohio 3CD
039 Eccentric Soul: Nickel & Penny Labels CD

$100 LP subscription includes:

038 Willie Wright: Telling The Truth LP+45
011 Eccentric Soul: Mighty Mike Lenaburg 2LP
036 Cult Cargo: Salsa Boricua De Chicago 2LP
035.5 Local Customs: Pressed At Boddie 2LP
037 Father’s Children: Who’s Gonna Save The World LP+45

(LP subscription available in the US only)

Plus you get any bonus discs we make, a die-cast Numero pin, and the 45 playing in the above clip.
Subscribe now, or regret it later.

February 15, 2011, 2:04 pm
Filed under: Ebirac, Newsworthy, Subscription

¡¡¡ To our 2010 CD subscribers !!!

Many of you are wondering “Where In The Heck Is My Willie Wright CD Already?!”
We apologize for the delay.
We know that most of you are getting anxious because:

1] it has been a while since your last installment
2] you might be seeing Willie Wright’s “Telling The Truth” offered at your local
brick-and-mortar &
3] you generally receive your subscription installments far before the official release date.

The truth is that we were waiting for the last installment, the Ebirac salsa comp,
to be shipped to us and then we had planned to ship the two [Willie Wright/Ebirac] together.

Production was halted a couple of times due to mishaps [ALL of the jackets/sleeves were ruined during the blizzard, etc…] and so we apologize for the anxiety we may have caused.

They’ve just landed on our doorstep yesterday and this is one for the gipper.
Here is a preview of what the packaging looks like:

We guarantee, it will have been well worth the wait.

These are currently SHIPPING NOW so expect to see them landing in your mailbox within the next week or so.

For anyone else wanting this over-the-top production, it is NOW on PRE-SALE FOR SALE over at the

We expect the rest of the shipment to arrive within the next couple of weeks. Received this afternoon! Order away…

All The Best,

Meet “Caribe”.
December 28, 2010, 6:32 pm
Filed under: Ebirac

In 2005, the Numero label began what we hoped would be a series of releases to rival our Eccentric Soul series in regularity: Cult Cargo. A bit of a reference to the infamous “cargo cults” made up of indigenous peoples who adopted American or European iconography or materials as fetish objects, the implication was that American music was exported to the Caribbean and “changed” somewhat… not worshiped necessarily, but certainly reinterpreted. Don’t read too much into it: Cult Cargo was to be our look at how American culture can see its reflection, somewhat distorted, in its closest neighbors. But we haven’t revisited these coastal waters since 2007’s Grand Bahama Goombay. To bring us back to the Caribbean, we enlisted the help of Cabo Rojo, Puerto Rico-born Carlos Ruiz, better known by his stage name “Caribe”.

036 Cult Cargo: Salsa Boricua de Chicago is a bit of a twist on the path worn by the first two releases in the Cult Cargo series. Caribe settled in Chicago after spending time in New York and his entire youth in the Puerto Rican countryside… and all of the music on his Ebirac label has these roots in its DNA. They are more connected to the jibaritos and campesinos, people of the countryside of Puerto Rico, than anything that came out on the Fania label, which was more culturally tied to the urban nightclub scene in Manhattan. This set of recordings is like some orchestra from the sticks of Puerto Rico interpreting the sound of salsa as honed in New York City… except the musicians are all Chicago born. Still disconnected from the core of the salsa movement, they used Caribe’s homespun approach to nationalist pride in Puerto Rican folk music as their pole star. More to follow about this excellent release over the next few months until its March release.

2011 Numero Subscription
December 21, 2010, 1:22 pm
Filed under: Boddie, Ebirac, Newsworthy, Subscription, Willie Wright | Tags:

After an 11th hour A&R meeting that lasted a whopping 163 minutes, your Numero Group has emerged more ready than ever to announce the contents of our 2011 CD and LP subscription. Though most of you are still living out the dregs of 2010, we’ve been facing up to and plotting for 2011 ever since we sent the Syl Johnson: Complete Mythology box set to press in mid-June. For those of you wondering where your final 2010 items are, we’ll explain it all in the coming paragraphs (Just know, for the moment, that you’ll have them shortly).

Numero’s 2010 was all about quality over quantity (adding only three records to our main line during the calendar year). For 2011, we’re shifting philosophies, to bring you a quantity of quality, delivering a multitude of small, focused projects, all of an extremely high grade. We’ve got so many LPs lining up for ’11 completion that we’ve had to break the vinyl subscription into two parts. And, with CD orders continuing to slack off on the front stoop and smoke cigarettes, we’re retooling most of our CD subscriber packages to include bonus content unavailable with the retail CD editions. Finally, we’re adding a few items that’ll be ownable via subscription only, upping the ante considerably from last year. Oh, and we’re gonna charge you less, too.

2011 Vinyl Subscription Part 1: $100

038 Willie Wright: Telling The Truth LP+45

011 Eccentric Soul: Mighty Mike Lenaburg 2LP

ESBOX002 Soundsmasters 3×45

036 Cult Cargo: Salsa De Boricua Chicago 2LP

037.5 Fathers Children LP

In addition to the 6 LPs and 4 singles listed above, you’ll get any bonus materials we make (discs, autographed ephemera, etc.), a die-cast pin, and an exclusive 7″ from the Numero vault. As this entire subscription will be filled by June, we’ll be offering a booster pack for a reduced price.

2011 CD Subscription: $100

037.5 Fathers Children CD

037 Eccentric Soul: RJW 2CD

039 Eccentric Soul: Nickel & Penny Labels CD

035 Boddie Recording Company: Cleveland, Ohio 3CD

In addition to 7 CDs listed above, you’ll also get any bonus materials we make (discs, autographed ephemera, etc), a die-cast pin, and an exclusive 7″ from our vault.

2010 CD subscribers, if you’re looking for your copies of Willie Wright and Salsa De Boricua Chicago, don’t fret! They’re being manufactured now and will ship right around the first of the year.

About that die-cast pin:

Welcome to the Winter Olympics of Numero tchotchkes. In addition to being Numero logo-shaped, the color of pin you get reflects your years as a subscriber. If you’ve been with us since the beginning, get ready to affix a gold pin to your lapel. For those who’ve only been with us for 2-4 years or 1 year look out for silver and bronze (respectively). Wear this pin to get a 15% discount at any Numero event or table where we sell our wares.

Here a sip of next year’s juice if you’re not already convinced:

Mind-Expanding Conversation

Join us tonight for a little informal lecture/conversation between Rob Sevier of the Numero Group and Steve Krakow AKA Plastic Crimewave of Galactic Zoo Disk and Secret History of Chicago Music at the Hungry Brain in Chicago’s Roscoe Village neighborhood (2319 W. Belmont). Check out the illustration Crimewave did for us last week. Coming soon to a bin card near you!

Check out the write-up in The Onion’s AV Club, and though they do have all intended topics down, we stand by no claims of “mind-expansion”.

Dictionary definition of “off the fucking chain”
August 2, 2010, 2:14 pm
Filed under: Ebirac | Tags:

Not last Friday but the Friday before, we launched an insane deal on Ebirac dead stock, including a limited to 150 copies 12 X 45 box set. The above is a picture of the mail from today, which is probably the third heaviest day so far. Chris, JR, and Zach have been putting in double duty to try and get all these records on their way to you, packing them in our sparkling, but very sticky Ebirac kraft tape. Yes, even the box these come in is a certifiable collector’s item.

The point of all this? We’ve got exactly fourteen Box of Boriqua sets left SOLD OUT!!!!, and we aren’t making any more. The likelihood of them being sold out by morning is extremely high, so if you want a file copy, now’s the time to get your card out. We’ll be winding this insane mailstrom (see what we did there?) down over the next few days, gearing up for what will be an equally ridiculous Syl Johnson box set mailing.

Any interest in an Is It Because I’m Black signature tape line out there?

July 23, 2010, 4:20 pm
Filed under: Ebirac | Tags:

When we were first ushered into the world of Carlos Ruiz’s Ebirac label, we’d hoped they’d have at the very least photographs of the Puerto Rican salsa scene they lived at the epicenter of. Hundreds were found. Then we prayed that the tapes would turn up. Someone was listening. With original copies of the Ebirac 45s and LPs being rarer then hen’s teeth, we put the idea square out of our brains that we would ever file any in our personal collections. And then the Ruiz family called us about a storage space their 90 year old mother remembered. Inside? Only a couple hundred original Ebirac LPs and 45s.

After purchasing and then securing them in our already cramped office, we started asking ourselves, “What are we gonna do with all this dead stock?” The secondary market (read: eBay) while extremely lucrative (these LPs trade for $100-$200 each), would have taken years to blow all this stock out. And wholesaling all this product would have been a nightmare (too many titles). So we found a nice compromise. We’ll sell 50 of the 75 copies we got of each LP on our website for well below the going rate. Those look like this:

We’re offering the four LPs individually for $25 each:

Orchestra La Justicia: Salsa Con Nostalgia

Orquestra La Solucion: Desde Mi Barrio en Chicago

Orquestra La Solucion: Mi Barrio es Fuego

Orquestra La Solucion: Mi Barrio se Quemo

Or you can buy all four LPs together and get a bonus dead stock 45 not available in the Box of Boricua.

What the hell is the Box of Boricua? With the 152 copies of each 45, we took 12 of them (the most we could fit in one box) and made this:

You can buy Box of Boricua here for $25.

And if you want all four LPs AND the 12 45s, we’ll throw in three more killer 45s not available in the box (including the electric salsa freak out “Under The Sun”). We’ve got less than 20 of these “everything” packages available, so don’t sleep!

This is an unparalleled chance to preview a Numero project in process, digging simultaneously with us through this massive treasure trove of Chicago-by-way-of-Puerto Rico Salsa, Latin funk, Guaguanco, Guajira, Merengue, Bolero, and Rumba. For those of us used to begging artists and producers to borrow often tattered original copies, this was an astonishing find that we couldn’t keep to ourselves.

Sorting through the detritus of another man’s life
July 1, 2010, 12:59 pm
Filed under: Ebirac

Meet Sean. Sean’s been tasked with sorting and collating all the 45s for our upcoming Ebirac 12 X 45 box set. He’s on day four of his internship, and although he’s done nothing but sticker LPs and navigate the complex catalog numbering system of Carlos Ruiz’s label, he’s made nary a complaint and taken no breaks.

We’ll be chronicling the process of building both the Boddie and Ebirac 45 sets over the next two weeks. Let’s see how much smiling Sean’s doing after he’s spent an entire day sealing boxes with kraft tape.