Numero Group: By The Numbers


Numerophon’s Newest Signee Rob Galbraith in Nashville 11/14
November 13, 2014, 10:20 am
Filed under: Numerophon

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The blood is dry on Numerophon’s contract with folk-jive songwriter Rob Galbraith, allowing a ten-song set of 1970s demos to meet daylight this summer. Can’t wait to learn more about Galbraith? You have three options.

Choice #1: Text Kenny Rogers, Ronnie Milsap, Patti LaBelle, and the Bacon Brothers (He’s produced them all).

Choice #2: Listen to this clip from Galbraith’s 1970 debut, Nashville Dirt, on Columbia Records.

Choice #3: Galbraith is playing a rare Nashville gig this Friday, November 14th at Douglas Corner (2106 8th Ave S), a venue whose house speakers were once the property of Galbraith’s ’70s supergroup, Jubal (Elektra Records). His drummer for this gig is Chester Thompson from Frank Zappa, Weather Report, and Genesis, so expect the country-funk to be the talk of the town at The Nashville Biscuit House the next morning.



David Blair Stiffler Does Good Work
September 29, 2014, 11:03 am
Filed under: Music From The Mountain Provinces, Numerophon

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When you were coming of age, did you think you were so special that one day you would do something exceptional with your life? Perhaps write The Great American Novel Greeting Card Blog or conjure up some composite occupation, blending the itinerary of Indiana Jones with the intentions of Mother Teresa? Even if we all had followed our dreams to the end of the Earth, chances are we’d be a bore compared to David Blair Stiffler. For here is a man who dedicated his life to documenting humanity. In essence, the sounds we make and how we make them. The geographical coordinates tend toward the under-documented and remote; places where mosquitoes take prisoners and AAA denies TripTiks. Stiffler’s website, www.ETHNIX.com, goes deep into his released and unreleased discography, and doubles as an online store that sells many of the featured instruments. The Baule (a trumpet from the Ivory Coast) is already sold, but don’t let that stop you from purchasing a flute from Burkino Faso. Our Numerophon imprint just released his recordings from the Philippines, Music From The Mountain Provinces. Below are some other albums Stiffler sent home, auditory postcards, and we pun, “Wish you would hear!”

“Music of the Haut Oyapok River: Brazil & French Guyana”
Documentary of the Oyampi & Ermillion Indian Tribes.
Folkways Records FE 4235 , New York 1981
(Folklife Collection, Smithsonian Institution, Washington)

“The Palicour Indians of the Arucua River Brazil”
Documentary Recording. Folkways Records FE 4238, New York 1982
(Folklife Collection, Smithsonian Institution, Washington)

“Music of the Miskito Indians Of Honduras and Nicaragua”
Documentary Recording. Folkways FE 4237, New York 1981.
(Folklife Collection, Smithsonian Institution, Washington)

“Traditional African Ritual Music Of Guyana”
Documentary Recording of Queh Queh songs.
Folkways Records FE 4238, New York 1982
(Folklife Collection, Smithsonian Institution, Washington)

“Coastal Amerindians: The Arawak, Carib and Warrau”
Folkways Records FE 4239, New York 1982
(Folklife Collection, Smithsonian Institution, Washington)

“The Vanishing Indians: Maya & Kekchi Of Belize and Guatemala”
Lyrichord LLST 7371, New York 1983.

“Music of the Pipil Indians of El Salvador ”
Folkways FE 4244, New York 1983
(Folklife Collection, Smithsonian Institution, Washington)

“Folk Music Of Honduras and Nicaragua, Songs Of Patria”
Lyrichord LLST 7364, New York 1984

“The Vanishing Indians: Costa Rica and Panama Tribes of the Talamanca Division”
Lyrichord LLST, New York 1984

“Music of the Indians of Panama; The Cuna (Tule) and Choco (Embera) Tribes”
Ethnic Folkways Records FE 4326, New York 1983
(Folklife Collection, Smithsonian Institution, Washington)

“Lowland Tribes of Ecuador”
Ethnic Folkways Records FE 4375, New York 1986
(Folklife Collection, Smithsonian Institution, Washington)

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(Pictured: the Ethnix brick-and-mortar location, in the wilds of New York City at 636 Broadway)



Fall Semester Mixtape (Free download)
September 12, 2014, 8:28 am
Filed under: Bedhead, Cavern, Jordan De La Sierra, Music From The Mountain Provinces, Unwound

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In the spirit of heading back to school, the world’s finest purveyors of aural academia have created this walkman (or iPod if you’re digitally inclined) ready tape of selections from our forthcoming fall releases. All tracks are free for you to download, distribute, dub, and digest.



Pitchfork Traverses Music From The Mountain Provinces
August 15, 2014, 12:46 pm
Filed under: Music From The Mountain Provinces, Numerophon

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Although individual copies have already begun trickling out of our mail room, Music From the Mountain Provinces reaches the shores of Earth’s retail stores on September 2nd. Pitchfork recently cracked the shrink on their copy of our latest Numerophon release, comparing its backstory to Herzog’s Fitzcarraldo, calling the music “arresting right from the beginning, with tension and pace gathering quickly then loosening at the close.” Nice and accurate thoughts, for sure. But Music From The Mountain Provinces is more than simply script fodder for an action film, as the astute music critic concludes by noting, “this is a vivid snapshot of a particular place and time, with all its divergent moods bursting into life again after being lost for so long.” 

Read the Pitchfork review at Pitchfork.com.  



The Missing Link In Your Music of the Philippines Collection
August 1, 2014, 12:11 pm
Filed under: Music From The Mountain Provinces, Numerophon

 

 

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OUR LONG AWAITED FORAY INTO ETHNOGRAPHIC FIELD RECORDINGS ON SALE NOW!

Just when you thought our releases couldn’t get anymore obscure… If you’re not already a fan of ethnic/field recordings, let us warn you—it’s a slippery slope. The intimacy and simplicity of a high-quality field recording is unrivaled, and once you develop a taste for musical expression in the raw, it can become habit forming. In fact, our Numerophon imprint was established to pick up where the iconic Folkways Records left off, to satiate our own desires to consume sounds from all corners of the globe. Music From The Mountain Provinces was slated for release on Folkways, inhibited only by founder Moses Asch’s passing in 1986. So it is with great pride that we bring into being these unique and beautiful recordings, captured in the most remote regions of the Philippines in the mid-’80s. To answer several of your inquiries at once, there are plans to issue more recordings from the archives of David Blair Stiffler so stay tuned.

Music From the Mountain Provinces is shipping RIGHT NOW from our webstore, and should begin arriving in shops worldwide September 2nd.



Music From The Mountain Provinces
July 3, 2014, 1:03 pm
Filed under: Music From The Mountain Provinces, Numerophon

 

In 1988, David Blair Stiffler risked life and limb to document under-recorded cultural groups living lives of extreme isolation in the mountainous Philippine regions of Nueva Ecija, Aurora, and Luzon. These are the fruits of that expedition.

In the grand tradition of ethnographic recordings that made up the majority of Folkways’ vast and significant catalog comes Music from the Mountain Provinces. By the mid-1980s, David Blair Stiffler was already a most-decorated recordist, with eight Folkways LPs under his belt. These are among the most obscure documents in the entire Folkways catalog. Although the works of Jose Maceda and Nicole Revel heavily documented much of the Philippines’ countryside inhabitants with a thorough and sober effort protracted over the decades, Stiffler brought his own panache into the equation, capturing gorgeous and revelatory moments from some of the archipelago’s least visited regions. Even without the harrowing tale of himself and his crew being taken hostage, contained within is a rare aural experience. These masters, originally intended for release on Folkways, were shelved when Stiffler returned home to news of Folkways founder Moses Asch’s death.

Preorder here (and now!) for Music of the Mountain Provinces (Numerophon)

 

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Stay Awhile with Sandy Denny & the Strawbs
May 19, 2014, 11:13 am
Filed under: Sandy Denny

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Next Tuesday marks the release of the fifth album in our Numerophon line of LPs, All Our Own Work by Sandy Denny & the Strawbs. We’ve long been fans of the woman Robert Plant called his “favourite singer out of all the British girls that ever were,” and have lobbied hard over the last few years to reissue this collaborative work set down in Denmark in the summer of 1967. Click here for a sip of the juice:

Track list:

Original 1973 Hallmark album:

A

01. On My Way

02. Who Knows Where The Time Goes

03. Tell Me What You See In Me

04. Always On My Mind

05. Stay Awhile With Me

06. Wild Strawberries

B

01. All I Need Is You

02. How Everyone But Sam Was A Hypocrite

03. Sail Away To The Sea

04. Sweetling

05. Nothing Else Will Do Babe

06. And You Need Me

Bonus tracks:

C

01. Two Weeks Last Summer (Vanløse Bio alternate, previously unavailable on vinyl)

02. Who Knows Where The Time Goes (With strings, previously unavailable on vinyl)

03. Tell Me What You See In Me (Vanløse Bio alternate, first appeared on Hannibal 1361)

04. Stay Awhile With Me (With strings, previously unavailable on vinyl)

05. Nothing Else Will Do Babe (Vanløse Bio alternate with Denny vocal, first appeared on Hannibal 1361)

06. And You Need Me (With strings, previously unavailable on vinyl)

D

01. I’ve Been My Own Worst Friend (Vanløse Bio alternate, previously unavailable on vinyl)

02. Poor Jimmy Wilson (Vanløse Bio alternate, previously unavailable on vinyl)

03. Strawberry Picking (Vanløse Bio alternate, previously unavailable on vinyl)

04. Pieces Of 79 and 15 (Strawberry Hill Boys 1966 Cecil House session)

05. The Falling Leaves (Strawberry Hill Boys 1966 Cecil House session)

06. Indian Summer (Strawberry Hill Boys 1966 Cecil House session)



Numero follows proto-Satanist Medusa LP with three repentant gospel albums
February 11, 2013, 10:43 am
Filed under: Good God!, Numerophon

In May 2013, The Numero Group will add three unique titles to the gospel canon. The first is the third entry into the Good God! series, the second the fourth album in our Folkways-inspired Numerophon line, and the third a pixel for pixel replica of one of the most damaged, outsider gospel LPs ever recorded.

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Good God! Apocryphal Hymns CD / 2LP

The third installment in Numero’s series of otherworldly gospel, robed funk, and spiritual soul, Apocryphal Hymns is a slim new gospel songbook, penned powerfully by the genre’s lesser-known disciples. Here, heavenly harmonies, psychedelic guitars, damaged sacred steel, a bleeding french horn, off-kilter choirs, and consumer-side electronic percussion decorate the Word, with performance modes that stray far from the flock, but hew always to the message. In homage to the the stock jacket record industry of the 1970s, select one of these four alternate covers: Woodland Twilight, Seashore Morning, Mountain Waterfall, and Sunbeam Canyon.

01. Robert Vanderbilt & the Foundation Of Souls – A Message Especially From God
02. Spiritual Harmonizers – God’s Love
03. Sensational Saints – That’s All I Need
04. Otis G. Johnson – Walk With Jesus
05. Shelton Kilby – Poor Wayfaring Stranger
06. Jonah Thompson – Get Involved
07. Dwain Vinyard – Searching For The Truth
08. Supreme Jubilees – It’ll All Be Over
09. Religious Souls – Sinner Man
10. Gospel Clouds – Let Us Pray
11. Flying Eagles Gospel Singers – Can’t Run This Race Alone
12. Soul Superiors – Faith
13. God’s Band – Come Holy Spirit
14. Whole Truth – Can You Lose By Following God
15. Fantastic Goldenaires of Rocky Mount, NC – Thank You Lord
16. Wayne & Thelma and the McAllister Singers – Peace When He Comes
17. Francis Reneau & the Mission Singers – I Hear You Calling
18. Bernard Upshaw Singers – Have You Tried Jesus
19. Chester Lewis – Precious Lord
20. Kenneth Day – No Harm Done Calling On Jesus (LP only)

BOS-CoverKing Bullard Version: Songs of the BOS Label LP

On Cleveland’s late ’60s gospel scene, the BOS label was the refined, professional ying to Boddie’s lo-fi yang, galloping to the fore bearing a torch for Curtis Mayfield’s robe-wearing roots. Founded by gospel impresario James Bullard, BOS is the first chapter in story that includes stints producing major spiritual albums for the Birthright, Roadshow, and Word labels. BOS got its start inside Lester Johnson and Bill Branch’s Way Out concern, running the devotional wing of Cleveland’s largest black-owned record company, and picking up a ton of Way Out’s soulful flavor in the process. Compiled here are BOS’s less traditional moments—12 bridges between FM R&B and AM sermons from a time when those worlds were splitting apart.

Side A
Sensational Saints – The War Is Over
Trumplettes – My Life Will Be Sweeter
Mighty Imperials – Unity
Trumpelettes – I’ve Been To The Top Of The Mountain
Mighty Imperials – We Need Him Now
Sensational Saint – Walk Through The Valley

Side B
BOS Singers – Move Satan
Capitalaires – Glory, Glory
Southern Echoes – Why Am I Treated So Bad
Philip Brown The Friendly Seven – I Had A Talk
Trumpelettes – You Don’t Know My Trouble
Southern Echoes – Burden Down

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Otis G. Johnson Everything – God Is Love 78

For outsider gospel visionary and Detroit native Otis G. Johnson, the Holy Ghost was in the machine…in this case a rhythm-equipped Hammond organ. Everything – God Is Love 78, a singular 1978 mid-fi document, features android percussion against chords of Otis’s own invention, possessed by minor tonality and frequent bum notes. Lifting it further are extemporaneous vocal homilies to the rapture, love, and everything, plus occasional “other” voicings that scratch at the periphery of the mix. Homespun gospel rarely entered this dirge-like, intuitive space, nor did it commonly achieve such a spectral and captivating hymn to its darkest conventions.



Numero: The Year In Review

While the rest of the world polls minor celebrities and hipster-douchebag record label owners, we quietly sent out an email last week to our staff asking them to rank their top ten Numero releases for 2012. The surprising results are as follows:

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10. Circuit Rider: S/T

Close your eyes and Imagine The Doors backing The Prophet Omega. Now open them upon a picture of Thorn Oehrig, the mind and voice behind Circuit Rider. The first thing that may pop to mind is “student council president.” He’s white, well-groomed and lacks the requisite thousand yard stare of a paranoid outlaw on the lam. And yet the music contained here is so defiled that you can imagine that if he did hold the power seat in high school, it brought forth his inner cult leader, biker gang honcho, and 19th Century sharecropper. Power driven by powerlessness; John Brown. Oerig’s vision is like civil war re-enactment applied to the sixties underground, sounding more like a field recording from the remnants of an Appalachian slave clan moved to the cheap side of Laurel Canyon than a perilously corralled Paul Rothchild production of drunken film students holed up in Morrison Hotel. Thoughout it all, it’s obvious that the guy isn’t kidding. He has been transformed. Beware. It’s contagious.—Tom Lunt

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09. Shirley Ann Lee: Songs Of Light

Back in the spring of 2006, Ken Shipley, Rob Sevier and I holed up in a downtown Chicago studio and transferred a myriad of tapes from Ecorse, Michigan’s Revival Records label. At the time it was the biggest excavation that Numero had ever encountered. After listening to over 150 tapes and thousands of songs that year, we produced a remarkable compilation and created a new series with Local Customs: Downriver Revival.  By far the star of this release was Shirley Ann Lee, the gospel singer from Toledo, Ohio.  There were more tapes in the Revival cache of Shirley Ann Lee than any other artist that Felton Williams recorded at his home studio…and for good reason. Her voice is like none other that I have ever heard before. At times she sounds like a constant contradiction: raw and poetic, bitter and sweet, sinful and sacred.  After years of listening to hundreds of tracks by her, we were proud to present Shirley Ann Lee: Songs of Light in 2012 (the 3rd album in our Numerophon series).  It is comprised of 16 exceptional tracks that are both experimental, evocative, and forthright in their own special ways.—Michael Slaboch

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08. Buttons: From Champaign To Chicago

Part A: On Facebook, re: Julian Leal’s “Get Away,” my brother Neal wrote: “Our mission is to make everybody like this song, if it’s the last thing we do.”

Part B: “Get Away” isn’t even my go-to track on this. It’s still Tom Orsi’s “Where Are You Now,” as power pop as that may not be.

Part C: Pro Packaging Personalization: Take your 2LP gatefold and put it in a plastic LP sleeve. Then select your favorite of the Buttons 7×7 artist promo slicks and put it in the front within the smaller plastic sleeve they all came in (I’m currently using The Names, for example). Next, position your slicks sleeve at bottom left, inside your Buttons LP sleeve, so that it decorates a corner of the Buttons front cover, partially obscuring Ken’s shirt-and-vest getup (but not the yellow Illinois lapel button) and allowing you, the obsessed owner, to tell the world which Buttons track is currently owning every synapse of your power pop neural network. —Judson Picco

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07. Codeine: When I See The Sun

When the idea of taking a run at the ’90s first came up, the Numero office found itself at something of an ideological crossroads. Discussions about “catalog purity” gave way to arguments about our label’s scope, mission, and vision. Terms like “post-songwriting” were thrown out and thoughts of yet another label were pondered. Eventually we realized Numero was more like software, something that could be applied to anything with positive results. We’ve made DVDs, covered salsa, and soon will make our first foray into hard rock. If we couldn’t handle a sleepy early-’90s group from Manhattan, how could we expect to ever really chase our personal muses?

I’ll be the first to admit that Codeine was a passion project for me. I’d loved the band since high school, sneaking out to see them in Petaluma, California, on their last tour. Their three record arc remains a shining example of what happens when a band quits while they’re ahead. The idea of reissuing their smallish catalog came to me upon discovering that our one-time sales maven JR Robinson had made a record with former Codeine drummer Chris Brokaw. A few months later, Chris was sitting in my office. A few weeks later I was on the phone with Jon and Stephen. Then Sub Pop. A personal journey was completed in a matter of weeks, as I went from fan to piece of a complex puzzle. I was no longer just a proud owner of a Loser t-shirt, I was in the process of turning the Sub Pop logo on its head.

The unique packaging concept began with a question from Rob Sevier: Why can’t bonus CDs slide out of a little pocket in the same fashion an LP does? Henry Owings took that question, and, with the help of Jeff Kleinsmith’s original art, reinvented Codeine’s classic trilogy of records for a new generation. Judson Picco and myself spent weeks drafting and redrafting the liner notes, pulling on every thread until we were satisfied we’d told all the story there was to tell. Jeff Lipton grabbed victory from the jaws of DAT failure, rescuing a great many crunchy tracks over the process of remastering the 6LP/3CD set. The result feels like a Numero record, but has a distinct out of house flavor. Not quite a “Group” effort, but a Herculean one nonetheless.—Ken Shipley

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06. Love Apple: S/T

Love Apple may be this year’s best kept secret. A single LP in Kraft paper jacket this dinghy is easily lost behind the armada of flagship releases this year.  Don’t let its modesty fool you, the Ragland produced, Boddie recorded sketches of three Cleveland sisters over a lone guitar and drums has seen heavy play in our headquarters this year.  With unique melodies that sway from elegant to eerie and sparse instrumentation this is the record MPC junkies dream of. Seriously, how has this not been sampled yet?—Nate Meiners

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05. Eccentric Soul: A Red Black Green Production

In 2011, the world caught just a glimpse of D.C.’s  Robert “Jose” Williams and his studio wizardry when we released Father’s Children: Who’s Gonna Save The World. That album represented but a few tapes amongst a treasure trove of D.C. soul, including released and unreleased works by the Summits,  Skip Mahoaney & The Casuals, Promise, Dyson’s Faces, and the Exceptions. Dithering down the 30-odd tapes was no easy task, as originally this was slated to be a a four, possibly five, CD set with full albums by Dyson’s Faces, the Exceptions, Skip Mahoaney, and Father’s Children, with another disc of extras (including this femme falsetto gem). This unprecedented access to the source material gives RBG (as it’s lovingly referred to around the office) a polish and sheen not found on many other Eccentric Soul compilations. If you’re a sucker for low rider ballads, we encourage you to put your rub-off tear drop tattoo on, roll down the windows, and cruise.—Zach Myers

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04. Lou Ragland: I Travel Alone

As Numero’s web specialist, I see lots of things float by our digital domain. I’m privileged (and sometimes horrified) to hear snippets of works-in-progress where I’m completely unaware of what the work actually is. That’s how I originally came across Lou Ragland. I was listening to a random swath of songs when I noticed several stand-out tracks which seemed to be related, but I wasn’t sure. These songs were tied together semi-stylistically, but what grabbed me was the warmth and depth that pervaded each and every track. When Lou Ragland: I Travel Alone landed on my desk at Numero’s New Jersey office, all was clear. I clearly need to get the fuck out of New Jersey.—Jonathan Land

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03. Alfonso Lovo: La Gigantona

Had La Gigantona surfaced during my college years, it would be fossilized into the bedrock of my musical identity today. Between gravity bong hits of Lee Perry and keg stands of Herbie Hancock, Alfonso Lovo would have provided the perfect crossfade between my intensifying interests in jazz and Caribbean psychedelia.Then I would be able to reminisce with random classmates over the holidays—modern lawyers, bankers, sales reps—and they’d say, “Dude, remember how we used to listen to Alfonso Lovo ALL THE TIME?! We were obsessed with that record! I play it for my wife now and she hates it!”—Jon Kirby

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02. WTNG 89.9: Solid Bronze

For those select fans still holding to the misguided notion that Numero Group is a “soul music” reissue label, 2012 must have been quite sobering.  Sure, there have been multitudes of non-soul or gospel titles on the label over the past ten years…Pisces, Lonestar Lowlands, and our two volumes of power pop via the Buttons series, but nothing could have prepared anyone for what we came up with for Record Store Day. Inspired by radio station compilations released throughout the ’70s and ’80s, the idea was to compile a sampler for our own (quasi fictitious) WTNG station; a literal “who’s that?” of a silky smooth style we lovingly refer to as “easy glide.”  After hundreds of hours of listening to potential inclusions, the eleven tracks that finally made the cut still found themselves on repeat play around the Numero office. This is the sort of record I never knew that I NEEDED in my life until it existed. I need more.—Dustin Drase

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01. Eccentric Soul Omnibus

One box to rule them all. We thought many things about last year’s #1 set, the Boddie Recording Company. We thought we’d never spend longer on a project (wrong, some of this research started even before there was a Numero to release it). We thought we’d never see such a shipping nightmare in person (extraordinarily wrong, note the multiple injuries in the shipping department). And furthermore, we thought that any such project that would top last year’s #1 would surely blow its release date (on that point we were correct.) We present the 045 Eccentric Soul: Omnibus… 45 singles, 90 songs, 45,000 words of liner notes, 96,000 tears, 3 bottles of Adderall,  one nervous breakdown, all packaged lavishly in a handy classic 45 case. Now we’re really wondering how to top ourselves.—Rob Sevier



Shirley Ann Lee – Songs of Light Available Now
March 1, 2012, 2:51 pm
Filed under: Shirley Ann Lee | Tags: ,

When Numero wrapped the track list of 2009’s Local Customs: Downriver Revival, we knew there was a smaller second record buried in the mountains of tape rescued from Felton Williams’ Ecorse, Michigan basement. As the Revival label’s lone “star,” Shirley Ann Lee was afforded dozens of opportunities to record, but only six sides managed to trickle out on 45 between 1967- 1969. Frustrated with a lack of even minor success, Shirley ceased recording altogether in the early 1970s. Using Revival’s aborted “Shirley Ann Lee Radio Hour” program as our guide, we’ve taken the best of her proper studio recordings, in the moment sketches, out of tune piano demos, and rehearsals with young kids talking in the background and created the Shirley Ann Lee album that never was.

The Numerophon label, as much of our audience has already ascertained, is our home for raw Americana and unvarnished vernacular music. In the future, expect to hear more gospel, ethnographic recordings, folk songs, and experimental compositions. Get caught up with our first two releases, Niela Miller’s Songs of Leaving and Linda Bruner’s Songs for a Friend.