Numero Group: By The Numbers

Eccentric Soul: Time Lapse #1
December 11, 2008, 6:04 am
Filed under: Methodology, The Young Disciples



In order to save the money our record presser wanted to charge us to stick on the library pockets and stuff the liner notes into our new LP, Eccentric Soul: The Young Disciples, we decided to setup an assembly line in the office and put them on ourselves. Here’s a time lapse video of us hard at work – paper cuts and all – for your viewing pleasure.

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 The hustle and the bustle of trying to shove project after project out the door has been replaced by organizing, paperwork, and stuffing records.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.

No grass was hurt in the making of this album
November 12, 2008, 3:35 am
Filed under: Methodology, The Young Disciples | Tags: ,

For some reason unbeknownst to us, the people at Stoughton Printing in California, and the Fed Ex Freight driver, we cannot get a straight truck sent to the Numero HQ. For those who don’t know what a straight truck looks like, here’s a photo ref: 

Notice its cozy dimensions? It’s the perfect size to get into tight alleys, the kind of alleys Chicago is famous for. The straight truck also comes with a lift gate, and if you’re lucky, a palate jack. This makes loading into the Numero garage that much easier. 

Instead we get this:

A semi can barely fit on our street, much less the alley. Couple that with the 100 ft lawn that separates our door from the street and you’ve got all the ingredients you’ll need for back breaking labor. Calls to Fed Ex have fallen on deaf ears, so we’ve learned to endure. We even bought a dolly after the third time. 

Today in the rain, we broke down two pallets of Young Disciples LP jackets and loaded them over the wet leaved lawn. There were 62 boxes, and while they weren’t terribly heavy, it wasn’t that much fun. I fucked up my back last night and was relegated to taking pictures from the sidelines: 


Now comes the toughest part, hand assembling 3000 LPs. We would have our pressing plant do it, but our designer came up with this brochure to include, and now we’re hand-gluing library pockets into each gatefold. It reminds me of the five years I spent running Tree Records, as my living room constantly doubled as an assembly line. But now I have an actual office to fill up. And believe me, after today it’s full. 

Out Today: Eccentric Soul: The Young Disciples
October 21, 2008, 3:02 pm
Filed under: Methodology, The Young Disciples

Fourteen months after the idea was brought up at an impromptu meeting in the warehouse, Eccentric Soul: The Young Disciples finally hits record stores worldwide today. Of course, this is only on the CD format, we’re not organized enough to do two formats at the same time, but rest assured vinyl will be arriving on January 13th 2009. No bonus tracks on this one, kids, so don’t be nervous about picking up the portable format.

The Young Disciples project is a great example of perseverance paying off. We had been kept at arms distance and shooed away several times by Allan Merry since inquiring last summer, but after stopping in on our way to the Numero summer outing at Six Flags St. Louis, all was right. We ended up meeting him across the street from Vintage Vinyl, and then walking him to show off the Numero section — a nice touch if you can swing it. Four years ago we were begging to even be carried in their shop, now we have a section. Amazing. 

Merry had lost the masters in a flood, but thankfully our friends Bob Abrahamian and Dante Carfagna were able to fill in the gaps with vinyl copies from their personal collections. The only trouble spot was the ultra-rare “Homeboy Part 1 & 2” by Allan “Dealth” Merry & Eddie Fisher, which after a little coaxing we got Allan to dig out. The thing is cracked and looks like it’s been dragged across a driveway, and yet it plays perfectly. Jeff Lipton did a seamless edit on the two parts, giving the sprawling psych-sax work out the room it required. 

The artwork was, by Numero standards, fairly easy to retrieve. Two members of the Young Disciples organization had kept photographs, brochures, and phone numbers for various members of the group, beating an easy path to building a very full booklet. Michael and Rob spent a weekend zig-zagging across the Mississippi collecting all the pieces, interviewing, and avoiding getting mugged in East St. Louis.

The final product is a robust 28 pages, 4000 words, and boasts a little section called “Alumnus Ameritus.” For the LP we turned the whole thing on its ear and made a little pocket in the gatefold sleeve for a reproduction of the YoDi brochure. Unfortunately for us, we’ll be hand-gluing the pockets in ourselves, which will probably take the better part of December. We need interns (as always), so don’t be shy about coming down and getting glue on your trousers.

It would have been nice to have this site working while we were working on this project as the recap hardly does it justice. I’m sure you would have been fascinated by the details of Judd and I’s marathon writing session one night before Tom left to tour England with Plush. Or Sam’s attempt at writing call outs and his disappointment when we didn’t use any of them.

To watch a project go from infancy to the record bin is sometimes like watching paint peel. Nothing happens, nothing happens, nothing happens, something happens, nothing happens, EVERYTHING happens, and the records come in, and you’ve moved on to the next number.

They like it, they really really like it!
October 14, 2008, 10:14 pm
Filed under: The Young Disciples, Uncategorized | Tags: , ,

Every now and then the media decides to shine a flashlight into our eyes, and say, “Is there anyone alive down there?” Today, in anticipation of next Tuesday’s release of Eccentric Soul: The Young Disciples, we got not one, but two of the evil liberal media’s finest to comment:

Gorilla Vs Bear:

The whole thing is essential, but it’s the three songs from Sharon Clark & the Product of Time that have been on repeat. In particular, this heartwrenching soul ballad [“That’s A Good Reason”] from 1970 makes the fact that we’ve never heard of Ms. Clark before feel like a huge injustice.


LaVel Moore’s “The World is Changing” sets the tone. Even in the era of Aquarian optimism, it’s one of the most astoundingly positive R&B cuts committed to wax (“I woke up this morning and said ‘Hey World!’ / You’re outta sight / I said thank you Lord for letting me see / Another day alive”), intriguingly offset by Moore’s awkward lead. Confidence isn’t something you have, it’s something you do, and the Young Disciples vocalists are all the more arresting for their lack of polish.

Arresting and heartwrenching, your Numero Group.

Welcome to flavor country
October 13, 2008, 9:16 pm
Filed under: The Young Disciples | Tags: , , ,

Who’s a fan of Madmen, AMC’s cancer-stick advertising drama? The Numero office is right there with you. We love it not just because they’ve featured both George McGregor’s “Temptation Is So Hard To Fight” and Edd Henry’s “Crooked Woman” (though that doesn’t hurt), but also for their shameless promotion of every vice the American public gloms onto. So how about we bum you some tobacco marketing music trivia? As Numero 023 Eccentric Soul: The Young Disciples reports, Bobby McNutt’s 1970 side “Country Loving Country Style” features a brief mariachi fanfare horn break that “pay[s] homage to the Salem cigarette jingle.” What the hell, you might ask, are we talking about? Cue up Track 11 on your copy, and listen real close to the brass line at about 2:02. Then check out this TV spot for Salem squares circa 1969.

You can’t take the country out of Salem, apparently, so Bobby McNutt brings the blues-funk to Salem. He’s likely among the last to do anything like this: Cigarette commercial jingles for radio and TV bit the dust in early 1971, thanks to a federal ban on such ads. Full-page magazine spots and interstate billboards just don’t get stuck in your head quite the same way. Incidentally, McNutt may not have lit up this particular menthol sales pitch entirely on his own. No less a music luminary than Johnny Otis copped the same Salem tune in 1969 on his own “Country Girl.”

Finally, the kind of smoke break we can all enjoy.