Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Numero Group Blitz!

First batch of Numero Group double LP's and box-sets just arrived.


Here's my thoughts on a few of em:

Numero 042
I Travel Alone, is a four LP Box with extensive liner notes honoring one of Cleveland Ohio's lost soul heroes, Lou Ragland. Yes, that's four LP's of material by a single musician that have barely seen the light of day. Talk about a guy who could not catch a break! The vast majority of the tunes are penned by Ragland himself, or members of his group Hot Chocolate. The style varies from stomping Northern Soul, to a kind of uptempo funk, usually stripped down to a simple Guitar, Bass, and Drums format. A must, especially if you dug that Syl Johnson box that Numero did a few years ago.


Numero 048
Living in lust as Satan must, or the gods shall turn you into dust!
There is just sooooo much to love about this comp. 16 American "hardrock" bands primarily from the early 70's. Think of it like the first wave of kids who heard Sabbath and Blue Cheer in their mom's basements accross America and immediately went out and bought Gibson SG's, turned the amps to ten, and eventually finegled some label into pressing a 45 that likely nobody bought... ever. Take equal parts Dungeons and Dragons style imagery, satanic worship and Tolkien style paganism, and you are nearly at the apex of what can only be described as Guitar Mountain! Serious must for anyone who digs proto- metal / proto-punk ala Crushed Butler, the Stooges, Death, etc, etc.

Numero 003
The Bandit Label may be the most baffling, outlandish, and downright disturbing record company to have ever spilled it's output on the unsuspecting masses of the Chicago area in the 1960's. Corruption in the music business (and Chicago for that matter) is truly old hat at this point, but Bandit label owner Arrow Brown may prove to be the perfect character study in true evil. Supporting himself and the record company using the welfare checks of his dozen or so "daughters" (i.e. concubines), Brown managed to live the highlife while almost never holding down an actual job. Hedging his bets on the thousands of aspiring singers and musicians in Chicago, Brown exploited and soon after repelled an astonishing number of talented acts. Not even his progeny were safe from his exploits; Brown's 7 year old son (pictured on the front cover) recorded a few tracks for his fathers label and soon after became a smash success on Broadway--Arrow Brown Sr of course collected the $$$ from that venture! But this isn't just Arrow Brown's story, the music produced is at times astonishingly good, featuring lush arrangements and undeniably powerful vocalists. The whole package itself is a sight to see: Two LP's worth of Bandit's entire singles catalog, and an additional LP of Bandit's sole full length issue by The Mighty Arrows (guess who named them!) in a replica of the original cardboard sleeve. Also included is a massive book telling the whole dang story...and yes there is plenty more!


Come and get em!


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