Numero Group: By The Numbers

Commercial Breaks: Numero x Gap x Kia
November 12, 2014, 10:58 am
Filed under: Home Schooled, Twinight

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As we’ve mentioned before, we are pretty good friends with some pretty good music supervisors at some pretty good advertising agencies. Here are a few recent appearances by a few Numero Group No-Stars from the world of advertising. Don’t touch that dial!

“Partnership” – 2015 Kia K900 Luxury Car (Director: Not Sophia Sofia Coppola) featuring Stormy’s “The Devastator” from Eccentric Soul: Twinight’s Lunar Rotation.

“Mistletoe” Gap Dress Normal Campaign – Holiday 2014 (Director: Sophia Sofia Coppola) featuring “I’m Not Ready For Love” by Promise from the Numero Group compilation Home Schooled: the ABCs of Kid Soul. 

Dancing In The Midnight (Free download)
March 19, 2014, 1:34 pm
Filed under: Home Schooled, Methodology | Tags: ,

The Dance Floor past midnightWe’re neck deep in our next Local Customs project and have finally stumbled onto a song that we can’t stop listening to. While the world knows the Chamber Bros. for their 1968 hit “Time Has Come Today,” a few years later an unrelated George Chambers would bring another Chamber Bros. (likely his kids or grandkids) into the studio to cut this supremely amateurish slice of kid soul. Enjoy?

Chamber Bros._Dancing In the Midnight (Take 2)


From the Desk of Jon Kirby : Brotherman and Dimona

When Ken Shipley called me last Spring and asked, “What are you doing right now?”, I told him the truth. I was in my hometown of Winston-Salem, NC, and I was on my way to purchase Krispy Kreme donuts, alone. It was 1 pm on what is popularly considered “a work day.” Little did I know he was about to offer me a job at the Numero Group, the only drawback to which has been the relative scarcity of Krispy Kreme donuts. I’ve managed to adapt.

Having written about so many Numero releases during my time at Wax Poetics, I was surprised to learn upon my arrival in Chicago that these same titles, those that I had spilt so much honest ink over, were just okay sellers. And while Kid Soul seems a consistent draw, Soul Messages from Dimona and Brotherman seem to have plateaued somewhere in the fiftieth percentile. Soul Messages chronicles the origins of my absolute favorite international vegan soul food franchise, and Brotherman is a thoughtful collection of sophisticated scratch tracks for a Blaxploitation flick unrealized. What else needs to be said? So while I look forward to researching, developing, and catapulting many new Numero titles into the marketplace, I felt compelled to post a few of these articles—to reintroduce myself to all of the label’s fantastic supporters, and reintroduce these fantastic records to folks who may have passed them over in the past. They’re very good records. But don’t take my word for it [cue Reading Rainbow sound bite]!

Numero’s Youtube Hall of Fame and Shame, Part 1
October 1, 2010, 3:06 pm
Filed under: Home Schooled, Lists, Newsworthy | Tags: , ,

or… How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love Bombs.

Youtube is culture’s funhouse mirror, and there’s no way to play in today’s cultural playground (even in the far distant hidden corner of the sandbox that Numero plays in) without casting some sort of reflection. An avid Numero follower can find all sorts of Numero related nonsense on the Youtube, but it’s generally of a post-a-song-with-a-still-image-of-the-45-label variety. Those, we usually just take down, as they fail to bring anything new or useful to the table. However, what we much prefer to find while trolling the web are efforts made to pay real tribute to a track on a Numero compilation, with a deeply personal statement. Usually, these types of tributes are paid to the major chart hits of today, or major chart hits of the past that we are all collectively embarrassed about. Some of these achieve some sort of viral success. But, like the original Numero artists before them, these webstars toil in obscurity. We hope to shed a little light on them today!

Vintage youtube; a stripped down, solo version of a classic song, certainly Numero’s most lauded and classic single release.

Flaw: if you had a second dude playing the back of a guitar like a conga, it goes a surprisingly long way. Observe.

Featured comment: mmdr bien joué la ptite fin crapule [whatever that means]

Another youtube cliche, find the cutest kids in the world and get them to sing a heartwrenching song. No trip to the dentist office necessary.

Flaw: none, really, except this could’ve been huge with the involvement of a cute kitty.

Featured comment: OMG. [Also, the only comment.]

Would youtube even exist if not for videos of girls dancing? Would the internet? Was video invented for any other purpose? You can ponder these age-old questions on your own, but no visit to youtube is complete without stumbling across one of these ubiquitous dancing video.

Flaw: Nothing about this isn’t flawed, but if we have to pick just a few: It’s pretty mundane, the dancer is clearly not dancing to the music featured with the video, and the footage appears to loop several times.

Featured comment: none. It’s just a sad, pathetic little video.

The Jackson Find
September 10, 2009, 5:39 pm
Filed under: Home Schooled, Methodology | Tags: , ,


Jake Austen re-wrote pop music history this week as he unearthered the 1/4″ master of The Jackson Five’s first recording session. The tremendous story is featured on the cover of this week’s Chicago Reader or you can read here online.

Hey Listen! It’s School Time Again!
September 9, 2009, 1:21 pm
Filed under: Home Schooled | Tags:

Between Obama’s address to the students of America and Chicago’s colossal waste of money plastering placards at every corner to remind us that school started yesterday, I couldn’t stop myself from singing 3 Simmons’s back-to-school hit, “You Are My Dream (School Time)“, that we featured on our comp, Home Schooled: The ABCs of Kid Soul.

Legendary Chicago bluesman Mack Simmons was just one year removed from a 36-month prison sentence when he invested the proceeds of his drug smuggling operation into the Simmons Recording Studio. From a street level view this doesn’t initially seem like a positive environment for children, but Simmons was something of a Robin Hood, well respected in his community and a devout family man. In between recording and releasing bluesy-soul records by Arelean Brown and himself on his PM and Simmons labels, he found time to pump out a record by his children Lionel, Denise, and Danny. “You Are My Dream (School Time)” never charted, but its intentions were probably a bit less ambitious to begin with. One look at the record’s label confirms that this was a purely amateur affair, and given Mack’s curricular activities, it may be safe to assume that this record was more tax shelter than hit maker.

Obligatory MJ is dead post
June 26, 2009, 11:28 am
Filed under: Home Schooled | Tags: ,

My cynical self has a problem eulogizing someone who spent nearly half of his life creating garbage. Beginning with Bad in 1987, the so-called “King Of Pop” has been staying true to the album title’s promise. Throw in Invincible, Neverland, and a kid named Prince Blanket and you’ve got the makings for perfect downward spiral. 

And yet, there was so much promise. From his boyhood days living in a shack in Gary, Indiana,  it was clear he was a star. Give a listen to “Big Boy” and tell me this kid couldn’t mop the floor with every other falsetto out there:

The word unfuckwithable comes to mind. The 5’s first two records on Gordon Keith’s Steeltown imprint are by no means his finest moment, but you don’t have to squint to hear how talented he was at 9. From there he would not only shoot for the stars, but reach them on the group’s third single. THIRD. Alright, The Corporation wrote “I Want You Back” (and then went ahead and built “ABC” on the back of the same melody in true Motown/HDH fashion), but the kid was a stone cold killer with serious chops. Tito, Marlon, Jackie, Jermaine? Sure, they did their parts in a serviceable manner. Fuck it, even Randy had his moments on 1978s regrettable Destiny. But Michael was your boy. You didn’t imitate Tito. 

There were other kid performers before them and after them, but the 5 set off a trend that we couldn’t help but capture on Home Schooled: The ABCs Of Kid Soul. When a group has lunch boxes and a cartoon, they’re bound to have a pack of wolves–I mean parents–on their heels. We picked out dozens of tracks for our compilation, but as is the case with many of our genre-creating albums, not everything could be licensed for inclusion. In tribute to Michael, here’s one that you missed out on:

Brotherly Five “Losing My Girl” 

What’s left to say? We’ll never have a chance to hear a Rick Rubin comeback album. The farewell tour of 50 shows is likely the biggest ticket refund in history. Little boys in Dubain prostitution rings rejoice, plastic surgeons weep. Michael, we’ll miss your strange ways. The Captain Eo alter-ego,  the crotch-grab dancing,  your knack for creating instant Weird Al parodies….

Mostly we’ll just miss that voice.

Merl Saunders 1934-2008

Merl Saunders who passed on today will be remembered by the masses for his blistering grooves behind Jerry Garcia throughout most of the 70’s – check out his smokin synth action on Keepers from Saunders & Garcia: Live At The Keystone on Fantasy – but here at Camp Numero he’ll be remembered as the producer of the ultra-rare Man Child Singers lone 45.

In 1967, Merl teamed up with Oscar Brown Jr. and mutual friend Ed Lewis to write tunes for a politically charged musical, Big Time Buck White. The show was packed full of psychedelic funk with progressive lyrics that are just as relevant today as we hear sound bites of ignorant racist yahoo’s from Wasilla, Alaska talking about a “white out on Nov. 4th.”

After its brief theatrical run, Merl took the kids into the studio along with some tripped out session musicians and cut two songs for a 45 on Suemertone Records, Mighty Wighty b/w Right On. Having the innocent children singing things like, “you better listen or you’ll be missing” gave the songs some raw emotional weight that we had to share with you on Numero 016, Home Schooled: The ABC’s of Kid Soul.

“Right On, Right On…”