First Look: Numero's Boddie Recording Co.

 

Available in stores December 6 from
Numero Group, the 5LP or 3CD box set chronicles the eclectic, obscure Cleveland record label’s
output.

 

By
Carl Hanni

The
Numero Group have always been both admirably ambitious and obsessively
completist with their archival compilations, resulting in a remarkable series
of genre-hopping collections of obscure rarities. They have really outdone
themselves with Boddie Recording Company: Cleveland, Ohio, producing a
collection that’s at the very least on par with last year’s massive Syl Johnson
box.

 

 Between
1958 and 1993, Thomas and Louise Boddie released over 300 limited edition
records they recorded in their home studio in a converted dairy barn in Cleveland on their Soul
Kitchen, Bounty and Luau labels. The Numero Group has picked 59 tracks out of
the total haul and is releasing them as 5 LP or 3 CD box sets, with extensive
photos, liner notes, a huge discography, etc. It’s a mother lode of music
largely unheard outside of shouting distance of Cleveland and its immediate
surroundings. 

 

 

Boddie reveals a sensational
mixture of Ohio
home-grown soul, funk and gospel. Diversity abounds, from the doo-pop soul of
“Oh Baby” by A.C. Jones and the Atomic Aces (there’s a mouthful) and deep
psychedelic funk (Creations Unlimited’s “Chrystal Illusion”) to high energy
soul (“World of Soul” by Chantells) and smooth, King Curtis styled instrumental
soul from Harvey & The Phenomenals (“Darlene”). There’s a great anti-dope
number “Why (It’s a Shame”) by Corinthian Singers, the deeply atmospheric
instrumental “Inner Circle” by The Players, the sassy dance number “Don’t Make
me Kill You” by Angela Alexander & J.D. Sandler and the high energy
R&B/funk dance track “Monkey Hips and Yice” by Little Anthony Mitchell
& The Modern Detergents (I’m not making this up).

 

Boddie
clearly specialized in gospel soul, and several of the best tracks here like
“Make a Joyful Noise” by Juanita Ellis, “Jesus Is All Over Me” by Gospel
Hebrews, “What You Need” by Gospel Ensembles and “Child of the King” by Rev.
R.L. Hubbard are priceless rocking gospel. And ambient gospel soul oddity “He’s
Forever” by King James Version takes the listener along on an undulating wave
of spiritual strangeness.

 

The
only problem with all of this outpouring of archival largesse from The Numero
Group is that they keep setting the bar higher and higher. And that, friends,
is exactly the kind of problem we should all be lucky enough to have. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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