Filed under: Edge Of Daybreak
There is no such thing as an ordinary Numero release party. We stay so busy prepping new records for release, we rarely take the time to honor the outgoing ones. That is not to say we don’t enjoy a good soiree. So a few times a year, when the circumstances are perfect, we will gather with some of the artists that make our catalog so special, and have an enchanting blow out. Were you at the Chopin Theatre when host Willie Woods and musical guest Andre Gibson delivered their impassioned testimonials on the importance of The Chicago Party? Or when the Royal Jesters defended their collective crown in San Antonio? More importantly, were you at Steady Sounds in Richmond, Virginia last Thursday, when the Edge Of Daybreak harmonized for the first time in over three decades?
This was shot from behind the counter at Steady Sounds, as (L to R) Cornelius Cade, James Carrington, and Harry “Cupcake” Coleman causally (perhaps unconsciously) slipped into song. Within a few minutes, it was clear that the group was not going to be able to evade the spotlight that easily.
With the LP playing low in the mix, the group went on to perform “Let Us,” “Our Love,” as well as the upbeat “I Wanna Dance With You.” Having not seen each other in decades, the fact that the vocalists were able to slip back into formation was amazing. The sound—captivating! These guys still have it, and if there are any aspiring Daptones in the Richmond area, or progressive promoters trying to showcase the real Virginia sounds, we’ve got the guys for you.
Thanks so much to Marty Key and the entire staff of Steady Sounds for hosting, and Troy Hurt for spinning the record (and the supplemental raers). Thanks to the attendees for showing the record such love, snatching up every single LP and CD on site. We even saw an original!
Most of all, thanks to the surviving Edge Of Daybreak members James Carrington, Cornelius Cade, Jamal Nubi, and Harry “Cupcake” Coleman for making the event so memorable. Hopefully next time we’re in Richmond, it will be for the Edge Of Daybreak reunion concert. Who’s in?
(Numero Grouper Jon Kirby, Edge Of Daybreak vocalist Jamal Nubi, Steady Sounds owner Marty Key)
Filed under: Edge Of Daybreak
The harrowing tale about how the Edge Of Daybreak got into music, got into trouble, got into Virginia’s prison system, and then got into one of the Commonwealth’s most fabled recording sessions is a story that has captivated collectors for decades. Finally, the mainstream is catching on to this remarkable prison soul odyssey, and media outlets nationwide are picking up the recently liberated Eyes Of Love LP.
If you happen to live within striking distance of Richmond, our own Jon Kirby will be in town Thursday to join Edge Of Daybreak personnel and a new generation of Eyes Of Love fans at Steady Sounds (322 W. Broad St) for a very special release party. Copies of the CD and LP will be on sale, which members of the group will gladly autograph until the metallic Sharpies run dry. We don’t do release parties very often (much less, abroad), so we hope you will join us.
Thursday, October 22nd 6pm-8pm
Steady Sounds: 322 W. Broad Street Richmond, Virginia
Filed under: Edge Of Daybreak
As a New York City transplant by way of North Carolina, I was conferring with my friend Harley as to what might be a advantageous stopping point between my hometown and my new town, where I could get out, stretch my legs, and possibly thumb through some records. This place should be near the highway, yet somewhat off the radar as to increase the likelihood of come ups. We settled on Carrington’s Music of Petersburg, VA about 30 minutes south of Richmond along Interstate 95. Elders from the record collecting universe had allegedly worked this place pretty hard through the ’90s and early aughts, but by my standards, it was still a decent place to find decent vinyl (at Petersburg prices, no less).
Of all of the records I bought from Carrington’s Music over the years (from Little Beaver’s Party Down to Three 6 Mafia’s When The Smoke Clears), there was one record who’s legacy seemed intrinsically linked with the shop: the Edge Of Daybreak’s Eyes Of Love.
A quarter century earlier, before his namesake record shops and his Virginia Mass Choir, owner and proprietor James Carrington was the manager of a different group: The Edge Of Daybreak, comprised of fellow inmates at the Powhatan Correctional Center. First to mention it was Virginia native and Academy Records employee, Marty Key. Others followed. When I mentioned this LP to Carrington, he simply shrugged it off. Eyes Of Love wasn’t very good, or it was a long time ago, or it was a period in his life he wasn’t eager to revisit, or a combination of all three. Once I had an opportunity to hear the entire record, especially in the context of its origin story, I knew it would be a while before I forgot it.
Then in the Fall of 2011, I got a job here at The Numero Group, where the topic of rare and obscure and wonderful records is a common topic of discussion around the water cooler. With Carrington my only contact within the group, I continued to plead and reason with him that the musical document he created back at Powhatan was simply too important to leave in the past. Eventually, he conceded. And as news of the reissue reached more and more scattered band members, excitement grew within the long-defunct prison combo.
From there, things unfolded pretty quickly. Detective work turned up housing supervisors, graphic designers, recording engineers, former cellmates, television reporters, and all manners of folks who were peripherally related to this curious recording project. Everyone polled recalled the group, and all of them asked: “What ever happened to those guys?”
For anyone wanting to know what happened to those guys, they are encouraged to read the extensive liner notes that accompany the well-deserved reissue of this fabled rarity. If you happen to live a reasonable distance from Richmond, you could meet us at Steady Sounds (322 W. Broad Street) where myself and several members of the Edge Of Daybreak will gather Thursday, October 22nd to celebrate this record’s renaissance. I venture to guess that when Marty Key opened Steady Sounds some years back, it was not only his intention to connect the Capital City with decent records, but to host just such events—celebrating and preserving powerful relics of Virginia’s musical past. For me, it will be nice to be amongst friends, listening to such powerful music. Wether in person, mail-order, or mom-and-pop brick-and-mortar, we hope you will check out and subsequently enjoy The Edge Of Daybreak’s Eyes Of Love. So much goes into making these records, but when we do them right, as I believe we’ve done here, everyone gets so much out of them. —Jon Kirby
Filed under: Edge Of Daybreak
We are pleased to announce that the surviving/civilian members of the Edge of Daybreak will gather on October 22nd at Steady Sounds Records (322 W. Broad) for the long-awaited release party for their 1979 masterpiece, Eyes Of Love. Recorded on the outskirts of Richmond by a consortium of inmates at the Powhatan Correctional Center, the individual members were unable to play much of a role in the promotion of their group’s near-perfect LP at the time of its initial release. Richmond shop owner and all-around nice guy Marty Key was extremely helpful in laying the groundwork for this overdue reissue, ergot, we could think of no better place to celebrate the record’s renaissance. Album producer and Numero staffer Jon Kirby will be flying out to join in the festivities (plus trying to get all members of Avail to autograph his copy of Satiate for no reason in particular). CDs and LPs will be available, and abundant silver Sharpees will be on hand for all your autographing needs. Can’t make it to Richmond? Preorder Eyes Of Love here.
The Edge Of Day Break Eyes Of Love Release Party
Steady Sounds (322 W. Broad Street @ Monroe)
6pm – 8pm (FREE)
Pursuant of information related to The Edge Of Daybreak’s prison masterpiece, Eyes Of Love, we spent a lot of time on hold with the Virginia Department of Corrections. Surely a coincidence, the VDOC phone system has on tap what has surely become the most notorious piece of modern hold music, “Opus Number One” by Darrick Deel and Tim Carelton. Distributed by Cisco Systems, this simple song was featured prominently in the This American Life episode “Stuck In the Middle” wherein producer Sara Corbertt’s father-in-law becomes obsessed with the enchanting ditty utilized by his healthcare network. Many of us, if not all of us, can relate to the experience of hearing an unShazam’able melody and NEEDING to get to the bottom of it. And while it would be much more romantic to think every reissue project involves some kind of passionate decade-long quest to find Sixto Rodriguez living in Detroit, “Do You Hear What I Hear?” much more accurately portrays what we do here at Numero, every single day.
Preorder The Edge Of Daybreak’s Eyes Of Love here. Listen to “Do You Hear What I Hear?” (℅ This American Life) on their website or just Youtube it below.
As you may have read over at RollingStone.com, our next mainline release will honor a historical recording session that occurred at Virginia’s Powhatan Correctional Facility on September 14th, 1979. Only half of the incarcerated members of Edge Of Daybreak were even aware it was nearly showtime when faculty from Alpha Audio in Richmond arrived at the prison gates for the Eyes Of Love recording session. In just five hurried hours, the band set up and knocked down each of their eight original compositions in one, miraculous take. The resulting LP, Eyes Of Love, is a touching collection of earnest R&B, recorded under the most unfortunate of circumstances.
In its original incarnation (rare as hen’s teeth, FYI), very few concrete facts are conveyed regarding the group’s circumstances. “Our bodies are in prison,” the jacket reads, “but we want our hearts and minds to be with the free world. As you might expect,” Numero’s expansive liner notes touch on each of Edge Of Daybreak’s five principal contributors, detailing their journey from the hollows and metropolises of Virginia to the big house. Never-before-seen photographs (like the one above) accompany this fascinating story of the Virginia Correctional System’s most unlikely breakouts. You can preorder by clicking the album jacket below. Eyes Of Love will be available everywhere October 16th, 2015.