Numero Group: By The Numbers

Felton Williams, Rest in Peace
March 13, 2012, 4:00 pm
Filed under: Downriver Revival, Obituaries | Tags:

On Sunday, March 11th, the Numero Group lost a close friend and partner. Felton Williams, founder of Double U Sound and the Revival label, passed suddenly while his beloved wife, Ida, was at church. After surviving several heart attacks, his time came. Until the end, he was a vibrant, loving man who never lost his love of the steel guitar or flair for electronics. His story inspired our Local Customs series of releases, and the documentary included with our Downriver Revival release focused on his beautiful character, and we just revisited his vaults and issued some of the gorgeous recordings he made with Shirley Ann Lee. He will be long remembered. Here’s a little outtake from the documentary that tells his story:

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.

Felton Williams & Calvin Cooke Inducted into Hall of Fame
May 24, 2011, 12:54 pm
Filed under: Downriver Revival | Tags: , ,

That is, the sacred steel hall of fame. It’s hard to imagine that a hall of fame could exist without these two luminaries. Those of you who scoured the liner notes to our Downriver Revival compilation and watched the accompanying documentary know Felton Williams and Calvin Cooke well, but the rest of the world does not.  We’re thrilled to see them getting recognition from fellow musicians.

See both Felton and Calvin play a little here:

Second Coming
May 27, 2009, 12:48 pm
Filed under: Revival | Tags: ,


There’s a great article by Hobey Echlin from Detroit’s Metro Times on Felton Williams and the Double-U Sound studio featured in last week’s paper.  You can read it here.

Local Customs: Downriver Revival
January 13, 2009, 9:57 pm
Filed under: Revival | Tags: ,


Numero 026, Local Customs: Downriver Revival, a CD/DVD combo is now available for purchase on our website – LP/DVD package coming your way in April.

Between 1967 and 1981 Detroit’s downriver neighbor Ecorse, MI had its very own Moe Asch. Set up in a basement on 18th Avenue, Felton Williams chronicled the musical lives of Ecorse’s citizens and issued them on the Solid Rock, Cass, Compose, and Revival labels. We’ve compiled 24 of Williams’ most fascinating recordings, covering gospel, group soul, garage-punk, northern, jazz, and funk.

Also included is a DVD with over 200 sound recordings pulled from his archives and compiled into a digital tape vault. This allows you to dig deep into the endless hours of jam sessions, demos, sermons, rehearsals, and studio outtakes. The DVD also has an engaging 30 minute documentary on the making of Downriver Revival and gives you further insight into Felton and the artsits he recorded at Double-U-Sound.

Last Minute Revival…
November 10, 2008, 5:36 pm
Filed under: Methodology, Revival | Tags: , , ,

As usual over here, things are constantly in flux as we finish up Downriver Revival. The album sequence has been altered again just two days before the release is to get mastered at Peerless. Rob became aware last Thursday night of the first Solid Rock release cut by The Combinations which, was somehow outside of our periphery for over three years!


One of the most exciting aspects of this discovery was that it cleared up the mysterious tape we transferred named, Geo Frazier Group, who would later become the Combinations. The tape had severe bleed from one side to another creating a cacophony of reverse swatches of sound similar to a Jon Brion soundtrack.

Here ‘s a little mash up I did between the the reverse madness of the “While You Were Gone” rehearsal and the final mix. Stream or download here.

Many thanks to our partner in crime Bob Abrahamian for loaning us the wax.

The end is near…

Meet Shirley Ann Lee…
October 20, 2008, 9:59 pm
Filed under: Revival | Tags: ,

I think it’s about we time we introduce you to the sacred sounds of Shirley Ann Lee. She hails from the back roads of Toldeo, Ohio where she started singing in the church at a young age. Due to her brother’s association with Ecorse, Michigan’s Church Of The Living God chapter, her path crossed with Revival Records owner/producer Felton Williams back in 1967.

Over the past couple of years we’ve had the luxury of listening to the tapes of her various Revival sessions as we curated the CD for Numero 026, Local Customs: Downriver Revival. But a home recording we came across the other day paints such an intimate sonic picture of her that it is too good not to share with you today.

There will be much more Shirley Ann Lee for your ears and eyes with the Downriver Revival CD/DVD combo coming atcha’ in the new year. For now though, it’s time to Get Back!