If you’ve followed the development of our catalog, you’ll see many chains of discoveries, where one project led to another. For example, 013 Eccentric Soul: Twinight’s Lunar Rotation led to a Renaldo Domino 45, The Final Solution: Brotherman OST, and Syl Johnson: Complete Mythology (not to mention, less directly, the 24 Carat Black and our forthcoming Little Boy Blues release.) The lesson, of course, is that where one stockpile of music is, there likely will be connections to many others. Currently, we’re digging deep into Medusa’s Pete Basaraba’s personal archives of recordings. Some of these include Medusa live shows (anyone interested in a tape tree?) which we’re thrilled to find, but it also includes this mind-altering document from the late 1960s:
A 1969 unreleased full-length acetate containing heavy downer vibes and moody songs that some listeners have so far compared to Perry Leopold. Apparently, somewhere out there is another, different handmade cover (as only two copies of the acetate exist.) But it doesn’t stop there, as it goes even deeper into the pre-history of Medusa, with Pete’s first band, The Young Breed.
Whether a release results from all this, there’s no way to know now… but it’s impossible not to get a buzz from tearing into this stellar personal archives and hearing the unheard, seeing the previously unseen. And this is just the 1960s… in Part 2 we’ll display some of the 1970s projects that Pete got into before joining the band Medusa and taking the first step beyond.
Filed under: Medusa
In a bitter twist of irony, one of the proposed original covers for the Medusa LP has just been uncovered. Before the title First Step Beyond was settled on by the band, drummer Lee Teuber created this while attending the School of the Art Institute with an early title variation. After receiving his Medusa LP, he pulled out his old turntable and a few records from the time (note the obvious influences on the Medusa sound!) Tucked among the collection was this rare Medusa artifact… perhaps it’ll appear on a forthcoming CD version? No promises yet.
“First Step Beyond’s decontextualised Neanderthal heaviness confuses itself and everyone who comes into contact with it, like a caveman in a Disney film who gets transported to 60s suburbia, takes a dump in Mom’s Tupperware and wears her diaphragm as a hat.”
With lines like that, he could easily land a job as Numero Group’s in-house publicist. Unfortunately, he’s already employed as Britain’s leading expert on Derek Bailey (not to mention being officially the 41st Best Stand Up Ever).
When this LP arrived in our office last week, there was a moment of sheer panic as we cracked the first box open to get a peak at our most ambitious album jacket to date. One part Odessa another part centaur scrotum, the velvet cover is bathed in twin rivers of gold and blood. No Christian household should possess this thing.
Had it ever made the leap between tape and wax, First Step Beyond could have forever altered the perception of Chicago’s horn-rock history. Instead, this mish-mash of Sabbath, Hawkwind, and Amon Duul II remained petrified in the Corycian Caverns, or rather the drummer’s basement since 1975. Art directed from the band’s elaborate original stage props and artwork, we have positioned this unreleased opus to finally reach its intended destination: the turntables of pot smoking teenagers, young and old.
The number of hits on this video tells us you haven’t watched it. Do so now:
But don’t take our word for it, listen to the UK’s critical elite:
“Adolescents of all ages will know what to do: file this record alongside the two Death albums on the shelf marked “essential never previously released mid-’70s scuzz-rock classics from the Great Lakes region.”—Mojo
“No template is adhered to whatsoever, clearly anything goes, and the end result is strange and surreal, but make no mistake, this sucker rocks mighty hard with ferocity matching improvisation step for step”—Terrorizer
“Medusa is a genuine find, flipping with abandon between almost heavy riffing and post-psych spaciness.”—The Wire
Filed under: Dynamic, Eccentric Soul 45s, Medusa, Newsworthy, Subscription
(Seasons) Greetings Numerophiles!
Another year in the books and we are no wiser, wealthier, or healthier. Such is the life of running “the world’s greatest reissue label” (Spin Magazine said it, but who can disagree?)—a title we aim to hold onto in 2013 by upping the ante from custom 45 boxes and gold embossed velvet to four alternate LP covers and a playable board game. 2013 marks our tenth year in business, a headboard notch we’ll scratch in elaborate fashion over the coming year. We hope you can join us on this journey.
We’re very aware that the last two titles of 2012 Vinyl Subscriptions have yet to ship. If we had it our way, both Medusa: First Step Beyond LP and Eccentric Soul: The Bandit Label 3LP would be in our warehouse and awaiting placement in a custom mailer. But alas, delays at the manufacturer have made these impossible to ship before the 10th of January. Oddly enough, however, the first three subscription items for 2013 are already in house and will be on your doorstep before the menorah is stowed for 2014. Part One is a mixed bag of soul, garage, hard rock, funk, and gospel, split across ten LPs and six 45s. As always we’ll be offering a bonus 45 and a 15% discount on our entire catalog. On deck:
NUM701 Pretty: Mustache In Your Face+3 2×7″
Recorded in an actual cave in western Missouri, the quartet formerly known as the Fabulous Four emerged from the depths in 1969 with an album’s worth of wasted psychedelia. Helmed by the Electric Prunes’ Michael Quint, the session produced one promo-only 45, bearing the truly un-pretty Squeakie label—a madman’s face in red-on-white, howling out of the spindle hole. The songs blend backwards guitar lines, Flamenco runs, triple tracked vocals, heavy distortion, handclaps, key vamps, a Stones rip, and extremely absurd lyrical content. “Mustache In Your Face” and its flip have been paired with two other magical numbers, their five business card story, and stuffed into a cherry gatefold sleeve.
NUM702 Wicked Lester: You Are Doomed+3 2×7″
No, not the first incarnation of Kiss, just three wasted kids from Cleveland, Ohio, infatuated with the new wave of british heavy metal. Kick-started in Cleveland in 1979, girls, drugs, sports, and jock rivalry fueled Wicked Lester’s aggressive “fuck the draft” sound. Minted at Boddie in 1981, Wicked Lester’s lone single paired “Here Comes My Girlfriend” with the lovesick, late-Pink Floyd moves of “Say Your Prayers,” recorded on the same ominous day that John Hinckley Jr. shot President Ronald Reagan. We’ve added two unreleased tracks, thrown all four sides into a beautiful gatefold 7” sleeve, and added a couple thousand words about their near-meaningless existence.
NUM703 Cave Dwellers: Run Around+3 2×7″
Recorded in 1967 at Chicago’s Universal Studios and laboriously laden with Buckinghams-style horns and strings, the Cave Dwellers thought they’d locked their first hit down. Given just a few minutes to produce a b-side, the quintet unleashed their primitive and theretofore-unheard power. “Run Around” ended up a punk precursor that took contemporary rock to its tough, angry, and logical conclusions, scorching past anything the radio ran in its day. Intending only to tear off something fast and easy, the Dwellers had achieved one of Chicago garage rock’s most ferocious moments. That original Jim-Ko single has been reproduced alongside two previously unissued rockers and housed in a glorious gatefold sleeve with copious notes and quotes from a confused newsman about the “longhair” invasion.
NUM043 Eccentric Soul: The Dynamic Label 2LP
Born out of the largesse created from Rene & Rene’s Hot 100 Tejano tornado “Angelito,” Dynamic Records was but one of half a dozen labels run by San Antonio music and real estate mogul Abe Epstein. His flag ship group, the Commands, took their AFB circuit-honed chops up to the middle of the charts in 1966 with “No Time For You,” paving the way for 20 other soulful singles over Dynamic’s impressive two and a half year run. Epstein’s open door policy led to a diverse cross section of the population converging inside his studio on General McMullan Drive, as whites, blacks, and Latinos were swapped in and out of groups as needed. That melting pot mentality is well represented by the Tonettes, Little Jr. Jesse & the Tear Drops, Don & the Doves, Willie Cooper & the Webs, Bobby Blackmon & his Soul Express, and Doc & Sal. Compiled here are 28 of Dynamic’s most intriguing sides, representing the first layer of a treasure trove of San Antonio soul we’ll be unleashing over the coming year.<p>
CT-102 Mickey & the Soul Generation: Complete Recordings 3LP
For the tenth anniversary of DJ Shadow’s Cali-Tex records’ reissue of Mickey & the Soul Generation’s complete works, Numero has gone back to the scene of the crime and re-canvased for new leads. Expanded liner notes, a previously unissued ballad, and the first ever vinyl issue of the second CD’s contents are included here, alongside half a dozen previously unpublished photographs of this multi-ethnic funk combo from San Antonio, Texas.
NUM040 Good God! Apocryphal Hymns 2LP
The third entry into our Good God! series abandons funk altogether, instead focusing on the esoteric moments found buried deep on private-issue LPs from the the Me Decade. Featuring four unique album covers pulled straight from the pages of the Century stock jacket catalog, Apocryphal Hymns examines a world buried deep on side 2, those lost moments of experimental praise and devotion recorded as an after thought for a listener who needed no turntable.
N44004 King Bullard Version LP
The fourth release in our trad LP-only Numerophon line gathers highlights from James Bullard’s BOS label. BOS got its start inside Lester Johnson and Bill Branch’s Way Out concern, running the gospel wing of Cleveland’s largest black-owned record company, and picking up a ton of Way Out’s soulful flavor in the process. This single LP features 14 songs, with liner notes by noted gospel historian John Glassburner.
NUM047 Eccentric Soul: The Forte Label 2LP
A king’s ransom of soul and funk from the City of Fountains (Kansas City for the uninformed), all produced under the watchful eye of TV producer Ellis Taylor. Though the label’s star was James Brown Revue castaway Marva Whitney, Taylor’s 15-year yield included singles by the likes of the Fantastiks, Gene Williams, Lee Harris, the Rayons, the Four Darlings, Everyday People, Sharon Revoal, Louis Chachere, Tony Ashley, the Fabulous Rhythm Makers, and Marva’s brother James Whitney.
The compact disc edition of our 2013 subscription surfs the above edges, but is a bit… well… more compact, and cheaper. Our plan is to issue only six titles in our main line next year, though to be fair, one of them is an elaborate double disc. We’re not quite sure what the final disc of 2013 is going to be, but it will be either an entry into our Buttons or Local Customs series. Of course all six will meet or exceed our standard for packaging, notes, research, and over all quality, plus you get the 15% discount and the bonus 45.
NUM043 Eccentric Soul: The Dynamic Label CD
NUM040 Good God! Apocryphal Hymns CD
NUM047 Eccentric Soul: The Forte Label CD
NUM048 Title TBA CD
Hair, Hobbits, and Hard Rock. Let these 15 hard rock blasterpieces from the private ’70s soundtrack to your next D&D or Magic the Gathering night. Dungeon map and 20 sided die included.<p>
NUM050 Title TBA 2CD+Book
In the late 1970s, a peculiar sound was bubbling up from the land of 10,000 lakes. Not known for its abundance of soul nor a sizable African American population, Minneapolis still harbored a tight-knit community of musicians who, between 1976 and 1984, manipulated the dance music of their coastal contemporaries into a brightly lit, multicolored, energetic fusion, taking R&B’s innate danceability and giving it a glam-rock sheen. The most shakeable moments have been compiled onto two discs, with a hardback book packed with photos and stories from this vibrant scene. Lesser royalty? Perhaps. But the blood here runs purple.
Finally, we’re officially launching our 45 subscription. The Eccentric Soul 45 subscription guarantees two 45s every other month, delivered directly to your door. Content will be a mix of previously unissued material and straight-up rare-as-all-get-out 45s from the soul diaspora. All singles are housed in a glorious duotone sleeve and slide perfectly into the Numero 45 box for easy storage. We’re even tossing in the subscriber-only bonus 45 from the CD and LP subscriptions. The first three singles are as follows:
ES-030 Signs Of The Time “Hurts So Bad” b/w “I Think Of You”
ES-031 Notations “That Girl” b/w “I’m For Real”
ES-032 James Dockery “My Faith In You Is All Gone” b/w “Giving You The Love You Need”
International subscriptions will ship in blocks of two to keep prices low.
Your patronage, as always, is appreciated. We couldn’t do this without you.
1. Lewis Connection – Midwest funk with a loose clutch, brothers and St. Paul natives Pierre and Andre Lewis captured the “Minneapolis Sound” in its infancy (1979) with this engaging LP. Rumor has it, their budget was so tight, they could only afford 2 of the 3 Ns needed to spell their name (see above). Pitchfork thought it was worth mentioning, and is streaming “Higher” as we speak.
2. Medusa – Screen printed on black velvet, it’s not impossible to imagine Beavis and Butthead head-banging to the infectious riff that accompanies this informative video.
3. Signs of the Time – “Hurts So Bad” b/w “I Think of You’
For fans of the Elements of Peace track off Omnibus, a pair of unreleased takes by producer Mel Turnage comprise the newest addition to our 45 series. Have a listen to Signs of the Time’s deep interpretation of “Hurts So Bad.”[audio https://numerogroup.files.wordpress.com/2012/11/hurts-so-bad.mp3]