One of America’s
finest archival labels branches out even further.
By Blurt Staff
In addition to their critically acclaimed Eccentric Soul, Cult Cargo and Wayfaring Strangers series, the Numero Group
is set to launch Local Customs – a series of releases highlighting the
lost sounds of mid-America from the ‘60s and ‘70s. Under the Numero Group, the Numerophon vinyl-only imprint
joins the family (in good company with sister imprint, Asterisk) with its debut
release this spring.
LOCAL CUSTOMS SERIES:
If Harry Smith’s Anthology Of American Folk Music is the outcome of years spent
sifting through 78s and acetates, Numero’s new Local Customs series
focuses on the woodsheds, basements, and living rooms where these records were
made. Entrepreneurs in nowhere towns like Ecorse,
MI, Rockford, IL, and Beaumont,
TX, documented the recordings of
their fellow citizens, and issued their songs on tiny labels and in even tinier
pressings; until now thanks to the people at Numero.
Local Customs’ first release, Downriver Revival, chronicles the
life of producer/music historian Felton Williams. Set up in an Ecorse, MI
basement, between 1967 and 1981 Williams captured the musical output of
Ecorse’s citizens and issued them on the Solid Rock, Compose, and Revival
labels. Here are 24 of Williams’ most fascinating recordings, covering
gospel, group soul, garage-punk, northern, jazz, and funk. The package
also includes a DVD of over 200 sound recordings from Williams’ archives and a
30 minute featurette on the making of Downriver Revival.
NUMEROPHON VINYL ONLY IMPRINT:
And for Vinyl fiends, Numerophon is an LP-only imprint focused on the
rediscovery of primitive American and ethnic recordings. Impeccably designed,
housed in thick jackets, and pressed on durable 150 gram vinyl, you’ll know a
Numerophon album when you see it, the same way you knew Folkways after that
first thrift store find.
Culled from a warped acetate cut at Variety Recording Service in 1962, Numerophon’s vinyl only, Songs Of Leaving is the complete songbook
of New York
folkie Niela Miller. A Bleecker & MacDougal scenester, Miller picked up the
guitar after an encounter with Eric Weissberg, lent her Martin to Pete Seeger,
and even had Dave Van Ronk cover “Mean World Blues.” Her real claim
to fame, however, is writing “Baby Don’t Go To Town,” a song that
boyfriend Billy Roberts would steal and “rewrite” as “Hey
Joe.” You’ve heard Hendrix, Love, the Byrds, the Creation, Wilson Pickett
and hundreds others do it, now hear the original for the first time.
Meanwhile, mark your calendars for April 4: that’s when Numero Group hosts an amazing Eccentric Soul Revue.
Held at Chicago’s
Park West Theater, it’ll feature the legendary Syl Johnson plus Nate Evans, The
Notations, The Final Solution, Renaldo Domino, and Kaldirons w/backing by The
Uptown Sound. Smokin! Tickets, a bargain
at $22, are available through Ticketbastard, natch…