Numero Group: By The Numbers

Numero Night 002 at Columbus, Ohio’s Spoonful Records
October 2, 2015, 3:26 pm
Filed under: Capsoul, Wee

Screen Shot 2015-10-02 at 4.19.23 PMThe fine folks at Spoonful Records in Columbus, Ohio have a habit of representing Numero to the fullest, taking very seriously their hometown’s role in our label’s origin story. After all, it was our very first release that brought us to the capital city to excavate the pure soul perfection found on Eccentric Soul: The Capsoul Label.

Tomorrow, Spoonful ups the ante by hosting the second Numero Night (even giving it the catalog number “002,” classy move). For their inaugural Numero Night, it was Daniel Moss, son of Capsoul founder Bill Moss. Saturday, the guest of honor will be Tom Smith of Columbus’s legendary Owl label and studio. We can’t be certain, but we’re guessing we’ll hear tales regarding the prolific Norman Whiteside and the sessions that preempted Wee’s masterful “You Can Fly My Aeroplane.”

If you can swing it, get down to Spoonful Records at 116 E Long St in Columbus, Ohio. Tell ’em Numero sent you!

Facebook Event Page For Numero Night 002 Featuring Tom Smith (Owl)

Numero Night at Spoonful Records w/ Special Guest Daniel Moss
December 22, 2014, 2:50 pm
Filed under: Capitol City Soul, Capsoul

Spoonful Records in Columbus, Ohio is a great shop that takes very seriously the musical legacy of its hometown. Considering that the Numero Group’s very first release was 2003’s Eccentric Soul: The Capsoul Label, Numero and Spoonful remain close friends and steadfast allies. Spoonful recently hosted its first official Numero Night—we sent a few test pressings as door prizes and owner Brett Ruland played personal favorites from the catalog. Among those in attendance, Daniel Moss—son of Capsoul founder, Bill Moss—was on hand to discuss his father’s legacy and how Numero became a part of the equation. It’s always reassuring to know that our artists/licensees enjoy being a part of our dysfunctional family. Hopefully there will be more Numero Nights to come, but in the meantime, check out this sweet video short, outlining the origins of Capsoul with bonus flashes of Numero’s baby steps.

Spoonful Records is located at 116 E. Long Street between 3rd and 4th in Downtown Columbus, Ohio.

Do The Funky Disposition!
June 6, 2014, 7:47 am
Filed under: Capitol City Soul, Capsoul, Uncategorized | Tags:



When we started working on the Capitol City Soul collection back in 2006, Dean Francis shared with us a hand-drawn rendition of his popular dance tune, “Funky Disposition”. Our designer Leland Meiners has made it come to life as a .gif, look for it spreading like wildfire on Reddit or 4chan as a snarky response to a n00b.

Check the tune here! (and look for the Capitol City Soul release, available for presale now!)


Going Back To Columbus

You don’t name your label Numero without some interest in symmetry amongst your sprawling catalog numbers, and alert listeners will have probably already picked up on a few patterns. But nothing could be more symbolic than our release number 051, where we return to the scene of  release 001 to clean up. As any of our listeners already know, Eccentric Soul: The Capsoul Label is our best loved and most timeless release.

Capsoul Label-500x500


We’ve done quite a bit for the legacy of Capsoul since that humble beginning. Besides the surprising success of the release, the most heard songs have appeared in a myriad of other media. The songs from the Capsoul label have appeared in many movies (In The Mix, Who Killed The Electric Car, and Diggers), television programs (How I Met Your Mother, Weeds, Queer As Folk, Low Winter Sun, Psych), and advertisements (most notable the Blackberry commercial from 2013). That amounts to millions of people hearing (if only in passing) what had been a largely forgotten catalog of great soul music. These ongoing successes also managed to shine a bright light on some of that collections oversights.


Capitol City Soul paints a more detailed picture of what was really going on in Columbus, Ohio from the late 1960s to the mid-1970s. It starts before Capsoul, with groups like The Soul Partners and The Chandlers, and continues on past Capsoul’s untimely demise, following artists like The Kool Blues, The Four Mints, Dean Francis, and Jeff Smith through the later dimensions of their unsung careers. All of this material was unearthed in the ten years since our Capsoul project launched the label, and almost all of it was previously unreleased (or at least barely known.) While it may not have the fanfare of the original release, it was a truly unique document that only Numero (and co-producer Dante Carfagna) could ever be in a position to unearth. Pre-order now for early shipping!

The Capitol of Soul
May 29, 2014, 9:55 am
Filed under: Capitol City Soul, Capsoul, Wee | Tags:


There it is. Doesn’t look like much, what with its statue of President William McKinley (best known for being assassinated by an anarchist) and generic Doric columns. Columbus might be the most unassuming hotbed of soul music in the United States, and it certainly never matched the volume of Memphis, Chicago, Jackson, or of course Detroit, but the sheer quality is what is really remarkable. If you thought we would have thoroughly tapped these natural resources with the Prix label, the Capsoul label, the Four Mints LP, the Wee LP, and the Penny & the Quarters 45 (and myriad others, like the Suspicious Can Openers and Now 45s in our Eccentric Soul: Omnibus) you are mistaken. We are far from done with Columbus, the material we are mining is just too strong. We’re diving back in with this summer’s Capitol City Soul presentation: Twenty underground soul masterworks from the Capsoul family (extended and immediate). We’ve mined the archives of Bill Moss, Jeff Smith, Dean Francis, and others to create a collection of virtually unheard material. Only a few tracks were ever even released on even a local level. Keep your eyes here for more on this project, ten years in the making, over the next few weeks.

Introducing 051 and 053
March 7, 2014, 3:23 pm
Filed under: Capitol City Soul, Capsoul, Way Out

Summer is the weekend of all seasons, and this summer we’ve got two ice cold compilations buried in our styrofoam cooler that will sound especially good in the sun, yet just as refreshing in the shade.


Taking a long look back at the Numero Group’s first release, Eccentric Soul: The Capsoul Label, we revisit Columbus, Ohio to offer listeners a generous portion of Eccentric Soul: Capital City Soul. Above is label owner Bill Moss whose apropos “Number One” made his little enterprise a great place for Numero to begin their journey a decade ago. What to expect: More good stuff.


We then head north to Cleveland, the setting of Eccentric Soul: The Way Out Label. From 1962 to 1973, Way Out evolved from doo-wop foundry to lawless clubhouse for number runners, slick-talking entrepreneurs, and Cleveland Browns. Above is Jesse Fisher, one of the last men standing at Way Out’s E. 55th St. headquarters. With a total of 40 songs spread over 3LPs or 2CDs, subscribers and preordering individuals will be awarded and entire bonus LP of bonus material. What to expect: More in-sounds from Way Out.

Both titles will hit shelves, on-line shopping carts, and party playlists on June 24th, 2014.

A Spoonful of Four Mints
October 21, 2013, 3:17 pm
Filed under: Four Mints


At the onset of the Numero label, we spent a ridiculous amount of time in Columbus, Ohio, combing through what would become our first release, Eccentric Soul: The Capsoul Label. One of the bands included on the compilation was The Four Mints.  A few years later, we decided that we loved their music enough to reissue their full length album Gently Down Your Stream on our Asterisk label…on CD only.  Since then, we’ve had numerous folks ask when and if we’d ever reissue this sweet soul gem on vinyl.  Undoubtedly, the one person most excited about a possible vinyl reissue was Brett Ruland, of Spoonful Records in Columbus.

Opened July 17, 2010,  at 116 E. Long Street, Spoonful was the first record store opened in the downtown area since 1968.  We’re constantly impressed by Brett’s love for his hometown Ohio soul music,  and we adore his lovingly curated store.  So, with Gently Down Your Stream finally available on vinyl, we thought we’d ask our friend Brett to say a few words about this long awaited release:

My countdown to a Four Mints Gently Down Your Stream reissue on vinyl is finally over. This is definitely one of the Holy Grail releases on Columbus, Ohio’s Capsoul label. Every song sounds like a hit…all killer no filler! The Capsoul house band is strong on this one and two of my favorite cuts are written by the late great Dean Francis: “Row My Boat” and “Too Far Gone.” Also “Keep On Loving You” by Norman Whiteside, John Primm, and Wm. Gilbert is simply incredible.

The minute “You’re My Desire” starts with a drum roll and then slows the pace with horns and tip-top vocal harmonies, you know you’re in for a treat. Then “Row My Boat” takes it up a notch and gets stuck in your head instantly with its piano roll intro, bells, and a vibe that is reminiscent of some of the best Delfonics songs. “Too Far Gone” will have you bopping your head and bouncing in your seat… and you will be too far gone, but as the next song begs… “You’ll Want to Come Back,” which makes me think of something that The Impressions very well could have recorded.  “Keep on Loving You”… is one of the catchiest songs on the album… reminds me a bit of Sam and Dave in their prime.

It’s about time this Columbus sweet soul classic LP gets the proper vinyl reissue treatment that only Numero Group can give it!
~ Brett Ruland, Spoonful Records

If you find yourself in the Columbus area, make sure to stop by Spoonful and snag a copy of the Four Mints or any of the always-in-stock deep Numero catalog items you see alongside it. And do tell Brett we said hello.


Leon Kompowsky rides again
October 15, 2012, 7:23 pm
Filed under: Capsoul | Tags: , , ,

Our friend Brett at Spoonful Records in Columbus, Ohio, sent over this terrific video wherein local boy Nick Tolford does a heavenly cover of the Kool Blues’ “I Want To Be Ready.” Don’t let Tolford’s Leon Kompowsky-ish look fool you, he’s channeling his inner-Stevie by way of Norman Whiteside here.

The Dean
July 12, 2012, 12:06 pm
Filed under: Capsoul, Obituaries | Tags:

We’re still reeling from the news of our friend Dean Francis’ passing yesterday. Starting with his kid group, the Fantastic Parrals, he has been making music in Columbus since the mid-1960s. His group The Soul Rockers issued “Funky Disposition” and “Tippin'” on Hillside (recorded at Larry McKenzie’s studio) which firmly secured his position as a force in Columbus. What really put him on the map was his connection to Bill Moss’ Capsoul label. He put every ounce of creative energy in the early 1970s into Capsoul, working as a “staff” songwriter for the tiny imprint. “Row My Boat”, “Too Far Gone”, “In A Rut, and “They Were Wrong” all made it to the pressing plant. “No Longer”, “Endlessly”, “Hysteria”, and “It Really Hurts To Lose A Love” stayed in the can, the former two seeing release only as part of the Eccentric Soul series. Contemporaneously, he recorded with Associated Press Band (although they didn’t issue a record until later) and wrote a musical called Society Line, performed at Ohio State.  After Capsoul’s dissolution he continued working with the Kool Blues duo, making them a trio called Jupiter’s Release. They issued a single on the Owl label in 1976. In the meantime, he penned some tunes for another Columbus vocal group, Timeless Legend, including “Baby Don’t Do This To Me”. He reappears on Tom Murphy’s Owl label in 1977 with Dean Francis’ Funk-Harmonic.At the end of the decade he was touring with seminal Ohio stage band (and recording artist) Sun and producing work for younger artists Adria Shahid and Blain Emerson. Much of his material in the 1980s was socially conscious, including an anti-crack cocaine rap and pleas for non-violence. In the 1990s, Soulciety Records in Germany contacted Dean and brought him back to his roots. He toured Europe and issued three CDs (one of which also came out on LP.) All of this gives testament to how prolific he was, none of it gives any sense of who he was as a man. No matter how much talent he had, no matter how many brilliant songs he wrote, he was always humble and generous with anyone, experience or amateur, who was making music in Columbus. He was never beaten down by the terrible affliction that he dealt with the fifteen years of his life, that saw him lose the use of his hands and constantly enduring surgeries and treatments. He never ceased recording and songwriting, even as it became nearly impossible. We at the Numero Group are humbled to understand what he was able to achieve with unbearable obstacles. We’re just pleased to have known him well, and that we can help pay tribute to him.

Dean Francis 1951-2012
July 11, 2012, 8:07 pm
Filed under: Capsoul, Obituaries, Wee | Tags: ,

Of all the many folks that we’ve lost along the way, few could ever be remembered as dearly as Dean Francis. The Numero Group has been knowing Dean since it’s first release, 001 Eccentric Soul: The Capsoul Label, which features his songwriting and instrumental talents. His efforts are still being felt in Numero releases with the still mysterious catalog number 045 that we’re putting the finishing touches on now. He was a true pioneer of soul music in Columbus (as Jerry McMahan from the Suspicious Can Openers lamented to me today.) He was the definition of true believer. Stricken with a condition that caused his skin and internal organs to harden, Dean had numerous fingers amputated over the years, making it impossible to play the drums. He continued to write and compose with his one or two usable fingers until the end. Seven years ago, he even took the Greyhound bus to Chicago to crash on Numero co-owner Rob Sevier’s couch to hang out at our new office and bring some master tapes for the reissue of the Four Mints LP (the alternate versions of “In A Rut” and “Too Far Gone”.) Even over the last few weeks when he was dying and knew it, he wouldn’t cop to it. Only our last conversation did he start to show signs of strain… he was weak and having some trouble talking. Truly one of the most beautiful people we’ve ever encountered in the many years of doing this, and connected to more releases than any one other artist.

Dean passed on at 3:30 this afternoon and it’s been a truly sad time, calling his many friends who may not know otherwise. I think it’s impossible to overstate our love for this man and his talents. We wanted to get this note up today, but tomorrow we’ll share some more stories and photos from Dean’s long and accomplished career.