Filed under: Forte
In honor of Black History Month, the Kansas City Crossroads gallery, Kultured Chameleon Street Art Gallery, is presenting “Art & Soul, It’s My Thing”. This exhibition features contemporary artworks by Kansas City artists that have been commissioned to celebrate and interpret the history, development, and essence of Kansas City’s Soul music. “Art and Soul, It’s My Thing” features artwork by Alexander Austin, Luke and Pat Rocha Sr., Aaron Sutton, J.T. Daniels, SIKE, Danny Staton, ERRA, Duncan Burnett, Ociel Ramos, and Will Willmott. The artists’ works are displayed in the exhibit alongside local music collectors’ Kansas City Soul ephemera. Kansas City Soul ephemera includes promotional black and white photographs, posters, and album covers featuring Kansas City’s hottest musicians and groups from back in the day, and an audio listening station featuring the sounds of the legendary Kansas City record label, FORTE.
Throughout the month of February, the “Art & Soul, It’s My Thing” exhibit will serve as a platform to celebrate, educate, and discuss the musical heritage of Kansas City’s Soul music with a variety of programs throughout the metro. Programming includes a “Your History” children’s art workshop, a FORTE Records soul music listening party, a panel discussion with local music historians and musicians, and a Spoken Word/Poetry night. Program sponsors include the Kultured Chameleon Street Art Gallery, KC Hip Hop Academy, Kansas City Kansas Public Library, Zebedee’s RMP, and UMKC’s LaBudde Special Collections/Allan Bell Collection.
Art & Soul programs: FRI Feb 7th 6-11pm 1st Friday opening w/ DJ Joc Max (8-10pm) SAT Feb 8th 2pm panel w/ Chuck Haddix, Allan Bell, Sherrie Whitney, Eugene Smiley. sponsored by UMKC & Zebedees RPM SAT Feb 15th 1-4pm KCK Library main branch KC Soul/Funk listening party w/ DJs Fat Sal, Brian Danker, Ryan McBee and others sponsored by KCK Public Library & Zebedees RPM SAT Feb 22nd 12-3pm children’s workshop- “Create Your Thang!” Mingering Mike inspired record label art. sponsored by KC Hip Hop Academy and Zebedees RPM FRI Feb 28th 7pm “My Thing” SPOKEN WORD hosted by TBlaze sponsored by KC Hip Hop Academy
Signs of summer’s wane are cropping up here in Chicago. Local MLB teams eye the historic winning streaks they’ll need in order to reach .500 for the season. Those horrendously sweet orange candy-corn pumpkins fly off of shelves at Target in 22-ounce sacks. And Numero’s 2013 Part II Vinyl Subscription cruises into its final weeks. September 30 is the big shut-down date, the last day you can pay one fee and receive:
• 047 Eccentric Soul: The Forte Label, 28 tracks charting Kansas City yeoman’s work, the Carpets and the Derbys, dapper clothiers mysteriously murdered, and marriages made and broken. There’s a trove of promo headshots and label scans of every hue detailing all iterations of Forte’s logo in print. This is an Eccentric Soul sojourn past vivid floor shakers and lost dance craze records alike—though what moves “The Hen” required remains anyone’s guess.
• 050 Purple Snow: Forecasting the Minneapolis Sound, a 4LP package + hardcover book, in which are contained the sprawling, nonfiction prequel to Purple Rain’s cultural takeover. In image-rich splendor, funk-informed hordes of unsung Twin Cities talent bask for a spotlit moment, out of that persistent violet shadow, to shine.
• 050 1/2 Mind & Matter: 1514 Oliver Avenue (Basement), the never-before-heard demo reel that is James “Jimmy Jam” Harris’ first foray into songcraft and an organic Minneapolis-vintage alternative to a late ’70s Prince songbook gone increasingly synthetic.
But what about that eye-catching purple-vinyl LP up top? Let’s end the suspense: It’s our way of reminding you, the potential subscriber, that no one else gets purple vinyl LPs inside their copy of 050 Purple Snow: Forecasting the Minneapolis Sound besides actual Numero’s 2013 Part II Vinyl Subscription subscribers. It’s the only way known to Herman Jones of going full violet. And you should. You really should.
Yesterday, at around 2PM, in the middle of an insane bout of 90 degree heat, The Numero Group did what it does best: Unload pallets of records into our cramped office. Not that it wasn’t worth it. Eccentric Soul: The Forte Label arrived on LP, and it’s DAMN majestic. A 24-page 11″x11″ book accompanies the two LPs, all housed in a tight tip-on jacket. You can buy them now, and we’ll ship them to you immediately.
That bit of hype out of the way, let’s move onto some other hype:
“Forte is one of those labels that’s been kind of known to us for a long time — it’s been floating around,” says Rob Sevier, a Numero Group founder who heads up Eccentric Soul, the funk-soul arm of the label. “Ten years ago, shortly before Ellis Taylor died, he basically dumped all his record stock to a junker — a guy who cleans out houses, basically. So there was this junker selling all these old Forte 45s on eBay, and I bought a bunch and so did a lot of other people. For a moment in time, they were very attainable records.”
Filed under: Eccentric Soul, Forte | Tags: James Brown, Marva Whitney, WGBH
People are wondering, we have to assume, about that high-beauty, low-information black-and-white image we used as the cover for 047 Eccentric Soul: The Forte Label.
Well, our 047 liner notes begin to explain it, somewhat obliquely, like this:
On April 5, 1968, the James Brown Revue was scheduled to perform before a sold-out crowd at Boston Gardens. The previous day had been wracked by the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr., and American cities were on high alert following riots in Washington, D.C., and Chicago. Boston mayor Kevin White considered cancelling the show, but opted instead to introduce Brown to the 14,000 audience members, flanked by the Boston PD….After Brown turned out live staples “It’s A Man’s Man’s Man’s World,” “Please, Please, Please,” and “Kansas City,” Marva Whitney took the stage to perform scorching renditions of “Tell Mama,” “Check Yourself,” “Chain Of Fools,” and “I Heard It Through The Grapevine,” her slender arms issuing Supremes-style waves to the tense audience.
The key name there, of course, being Marva Whitney, the Forte label standout and owner/operator of those svelte and graceful appendages. But that doesn’t explain where our image came from, exactly. To do that, follow us over to YouTube and watch this extraordinary bit of Marva Whitney footage, from the very night in question:
When we got to around 0:18 and that three-quarters shot from behind Marva’s right shoulder, mid-dance and mid-wave, we knew we had our perfect encapsulation of Forte’s power, grace, and moment. Had to have that image. We tracked down the archival footage from Boston broadcast institution WGBH, chose our frame, tracked in a bit, tidied it all up, nestled a pine-and-white version of the Numero logo in the crook of Marva’s delicate wrist, and sat back, to simply admire.
And now, your chance to admire the works of Marva Whitney and Kansas City’s own Forte label.
In 1969, after three years as Soul Sister #1 to James Brown’s touring entourage, Marva Whitney came home to Kansas City, putting Ellis Taylor’s Forte label back at full fighting strength. She’d calmed aching crowds the day after MLK’s death, and she’d lived the life, despite its rigors—to pour out her pain and exuberance on Forte sides including “I’ve Lived The Life” and “Daddy Don’t Know About Sugar Bear,” which made national rounds in 1972. By then, Forte had already done more than deliver Marvelous Marva to market. Taylor worked overtime at KPRS to bring the world The Rayons, who’d stroll their girl group harmonies past Chicago’s RCA studios on “Baby Be Good.” In ’68, The Four Darlings sauntered in with smoky-voiced soul operatics on the demanding “Give Me Love.” Progressing in the middle ’70s, Everyday People got “Super Black” on Forte’s pine-green label. Still powering forward some 13 years on, Forte redawned with the 1980s, essaying disco-funk with Sharon Revoal’s “Reaching for Our Star.”
Numero 047 Eccentric Soul: The Forte Label charts Kansas City yeoman’s work, the Carpets and the Derbys, dapper clothiers mysteriously murdered, and marriages made and broken. In 28 tracks, plus a trove of promo headshots and every-hued label scans detailing all iterations of Forte’s logo in print, this 16th Eccentric Soul sojourn hands over vivid floor shakers and lost dance craze records alike—though what moves “The Hen” required remains anyone’s guess.
1. Gene Williams – Don’t Let Your Love Fade Away
2. Lee Harris – I’m Gonna Get Your Thing
3. Tear Drops – I’m Gonna Get You
4. Louis Chachere – The Hen Part 1
5. The Fantasticks – Cry Night And Day
6. Marva W Taylor – I’ve Lived The Life
7. Fabulous Rhythm Makers – Mini Mini Afro Twist
8. Tony Ashley & the Delicates – I’ll Never Be Satisfied
9. The Rayons – You Confuse Me Baby
10. The Four Darlings – Baby Your Love Is Amazing
11. Lee Harris – Lookin’ Good
12. Marva Whitney – Daddy Don’t Know About Sugar Bear
13. Gene Williams – Whatever You Do (Do It Good)
14. Everyday People – Is It Really That Bad
15. The Rayons – Baby Be Good
16. Tony Ashley & the Delicates – All Along I’ve Loved You
17. Lee Harris – I’ve Got To Have Somebody’s Love
18. Everyday People – Super Black
19. James Whitney – With Fun In My Life
20. Sharon Revoal – Reaching For Our Star
21. Marva W Taylor – Nothing I’d Rather Be (Than Your Weakness)
Long playing double album:
A1. Gene Williams – Don’t Let Your Love Fade Away
A2. Lee Harris – I’m Gonna Get Your Thing
A3. Tear Drops – I’m Gonna Get You
A4. Louis Chachere – The Hen Part 1
A5. The Fantasticks – Cry Night And Day
A6. Marva W Taylor – I’ve Lived The Life
A7. Fabulous Rhythm Makers – Mini Mini Afro Twist
B1.Tony Ashley & the Delicates – I’ll Never Be Satisfied
B2. The Rayons – You Confuse Me Baby
B3. The Four Darlings – Baby Your Love Is Amazing
B4. Lee Harris – Lookin’ Good
B5. Marva Whitney – Daddy Don’t Know About Sugar Bear
B6: Gene Williams – Whatever You Do (Do It Good)
B7. Everyday People – Is It Really That Bad
C1. The Rayons – Baby Be Good
C2. Tony Ashley & the Delicates – All Along I’ve Loved You
C3. Lee Harris – I’ve Got To Have Somebody’s Love
C4. Everyday People – Super Black
C5. James Whitney – With Fun In My Life
C6. Sharon Revoal – Reaching For Our Star
C7. Marva W Taylor – Nothing I’d Rather Be (Than Your Weakness)
D1. Four Darlings – Give Me Love
D2. Unknown Artist – Dearest Lover
D3. Fantasticks – Live And Let Live
D4. Fabulous Rhythm Makers – Ya Gotta Be Doing It
D5. Lee Harris – Skate Boogaloo and Karate Too
D6. Tear Drops – Don’t Fade Away
D7. Marva Whitney & Ellis “Gripey” Taylor – We Need More (But Somebody Gotta Sacrifice)
Chicagoans, Midwesterners, sweat/dust/dusty sweat enthusiasts: Heading to the Pitchfork Music Festival this weekend? Numero will once again cart our boxed-up wares headlong into the heat and noise, with that painted wooden Trevor Dandy placard marking our territory in lazy fashion. Walk the damp tennis court surface of the CHIRP Record Fair tent with us, where we’ll be handselling copies of our deluxe Bandit Label LP set, Eccentric KC Soul on the Forte CD, plus the ambient summer of Iasos and Express Rising. All the old favorites on LP, CD, 45, cassette, t-shirt, trading card, and Omnibus will attend as well. Box of hardly imperfect LP dingers marked down to insanely low prices? Yes. Reports are rolling in to indicate that 2013’s limited edition Numero bin cards work great as both bin cards and as hand fans. Reports from meteorologists also indicate that you’re gonna need a hand fan. Stop by, fix glaring holes in your Numero shrine, then go stare at Wire or whatever.
This Saturday, Renaldo Domino returns to Brooklyn for his third Dig Deeper-sanctioned appearance. For this occasion, the Brooklyn Rhythm Band will boast strings, which means tracks like “Not Too Cool To Cry” will get the orchestral flourishes and violin solos they are so often denied. This party is consistently a ton of fun, and the appearance of Renaldo Domino only serves to sweeten the deal. But that’s not all… the house band will also feature a tribute to the late great Soul Sister Number 1, Marva Whitney, who will be a crucial part of the forthcoming Eccentric Soul: The Forte Label. Details and tickets can be found on the Littlefield website. Have fun!