The Numero Group
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The Numero Group is an archival record label that creates compilations of previously released music, reissues original albums, and creates album reconstructions from a variety of musical genres. The label, known as Numero, was founded in 2003 by Tom Lunt, Rob Sevier, and Ken Shipley (a former A&R manager for the equally eclectic Rykodisc label). The label's focus since its 2003 founding has been to research and preserve obscure recorded material and ephemera by artists and entrepreneurs who found little commercial success upon their material's initial release.
History and mission
Here is the label's stated mission (according to their website at www.numerogroup.com):
The mission was simple: to dig deep into the recesses of our record collections with the goal of finding the dustiest gems begging to be released from their exile on geek street. No longer would $500 singles sit in a temperature-controlled room dying for a chance to be played. No more would the artists, writers, and entrepreneurs who made these records happen go unknown and unappreciated.
Similar to other reissue labels such as Rhino, Bear Family, Ace, Cherry Red, and Hip-O, Numero releases feature extensive liner notes and rare photographs that provide context for the associated recordings. 2009's Local Customs: Downriver Revival was expanded to include a DVD containing a documentary and an additional 200 recordings to "dig" through (which is, in spirit, similar to the "digital dig" section of their website).
Unlike most other reissue labels, Numero largely releases compilations. Shipley explained the reasons for this in a 2006 Pitchfork interview:
We consider our label to be a "cream of the crop" label. There are plenty of albums that we could do, but that's not what we are about as a company. We clean out all the bad stuff. We were like, ok, let's not be completists. If you're going to own a record of the [Miami soul] Deep City label, own our record. There are no duds.
For Record Store Day 2009, the Numero group produced a vinyl-only sampler named This LP Crashes Hard Drives, which included not only a track from an upcoming Numero release ("Sam" from 029 Pisces: A Lovely Sight), but also tracks from such labels as Light In The Attic, Honest Jon's, Now Again, Sublime Frequencies, Daptone Records, Jazzman, and Vampisoul.
Several tracks licensed for reissue by The Numero Group have made appearances in film and television. "You And Me" by Penny & The Quarters, which was featured on 2007's Eccentric Soul: The Prix Label compilation, was used in the 2010 film Blue Valentine. During the film's theatrical run, the identity of Penny & The Quarters was unknown and the Numero Group was actively seeking contact with band members or their relatives. Later, it was revealed that Penny of Penny & The Quarters had been Nannie Sharpe, née Coulter, whose daughter Jayma had heard from friends about the film's use of her mother's song. In 2012, Chuck and Mac's "Powerful Love"—which Numero included on 2007's Eccentric Soul: Twinight's Lunar Rotation compilation—made a prominent appearance in Rian Johnson's sci-fi action film Looper.
Numero Group releases have received three Grammy Award Nominations. In 2009, Light: on the South Side —featuring 100 black & white photographs by Michael Abramson taken during the mid-1970s on Chicago's south side—was nominated for Best Boxed Or Special Limited Edition Package. Syl Johnson: Complete Mythology was nominated for two Grammy Awards in 2011, for Best Album Notes and for Best Historical Album.
Eccentric Soul: obscure soul and funk, generally focusing on a particular, small label
Cult Cargo: foreign interpretations of American music genres
Good God!: religious soul and funk
Local Customs: a document of an area's music scene, typically centered around one particular studio
Wayfaring Strangers: folk music, usually from privately pressed LPs
Mainline Numero releases (in numerical order):
001: Eccentric Soul: The Capsoul Label (CD or 2LP + 1 bonus cut) (2004)
002: Antena: Camino Del Sol (CD, 2LP + 2 bonus cuts, or Cassette) (2004)
003: Eccentric Soul: The Bandit Label (CD) (2004)
004: Yellow Pills: Prefill (2CD) (2005, out of print)
004: Buttons: Starter Kit (2LP) (2012)
005: Fern Jones: The Glory Road (CD)
006: Cult Cargo: Belize City Boil Up (CD or 2LP + 2 bonus cuts)
007: Eccentric Soul: The Deep City Label (CD or 2LP + 6 bonus cuts)
008: Wayfaring Strangers: Ladies From The Canyon (CD)
009: Eccentric Soul: The Big Mack Label (CD or 2LP + 1 bonus cut)
010: Good God! A Gospel Funk Hymnal (CD or 2LP)
011: Eccentric Soul: Mighty Mike Lenaburg (CD or 2LP)
012: Catherine Howe: What A Beautiful Place (CD + 1 bonus cut or LP + 2 bonus cuts on limited edition 45")
013: Eccentric Soul: Twinight's Lunar Rotation (2CD or 4LP + 14 bonus cuts)
014: Cult Cargo: Grand Bahama Goombay (CD or 2LP + 1 bonus cut)
015: Eccentric Soul: The Prix Label (CD or 2LP + 2 bonus cuts)
016: Home Schooled: The ABCs of Kid Soul (CD or 2LP + 1 bonus cut)
017: Eccentric Soul: The Outskirts of Deep City (CD or 2LP + 4 bonus cuts)
018: Wayfaring Strangers: Guitar Soli (CD or 2LP + 2 bonus cuts)
019: Don't Stop: Recording Tap (CD or 3LP + 10 bonus cuts)
020: Eccentric Soul: The Tragar & Note Labels (2CD)
021: !יאצללה: Soul Messages from Dimona (CD or 2LP)
022: Brotherman: OST by The Final Solution (CD + 2 bonus cuts, LP, or Cassette)
023: Eccentric Soul: The Young Disciples (CD or 2LP + 1 bonus cut)
024: Titan: It's All Pop! (2CD or 4LP)
024.5: The Boys: Circuit Overload (The Living EP) (red vinyl 10")
025: 24-Carat Black: Gone: The Promises Of Yesterday (CD or LP)
026: Local Customs: Downriver Revival (CD + archival DVD or 2LP + archival DVD)
027: Eccentric Soul: Smart's Palace (CD or 2LP)
028: Wayfaring Strangers: Lonesome Heroes (CD or 2LP)
029: Pisces: A Lovely Sight (CD + 2 bonus cuts or LP + 2 bonus cuts on limited edition 45)
030: Good God! Born Again Funk (CD or 2LP)
031: Celestial Navigations: The Short Films of Al Jarnow (DVD)
032: Syl Johnson: Complete Mythology 1959-1972 (4CD + 6LP + limited edition 45)
033: Light: On The South Side (2LP + hardcover book + limited edition 45)
034: Local Customs: Lone Star Lowlands (CD or 2LP)
035: Boddie Recording Company: Cleveland, Ohio (3CD or 5LP)
035.5: Local Customs: Burned at Boddie (CD); Pressed at Boddie (2LP); Dubbed at Boddie (Cassette)
036: Cult Cargo: Salsa Boricua De Chicago (CD or 2LP)
037: Father’s Children: Who’s Gonna Save The World (CD or LP + bonus 45)
038: Willie Wright: Telling the Truth (CD + 4.72-inch single or LP + bonus 45)
039: Eccentric Soul: The Nickel & Penny Labels (CD or 2LP + 2 bonus cuts)
040: Good God!: Apocryphal Hymns (CD or 2LP + 1 bonus cut)
041: Eccentric Soul: A Red Green Black Production (CD or 2LP + 1 bonus cut)
042: Lou Ragland: I Travel Alone (3CD or 4LP)
042.5: Love Apple: S/T (LP)
043: Eccentric Soul: The Dynamic Label (CD or 2LP)
044: Buttons: From Champaign To Chicago (CD or 2LP) (2012)
045: Eccentric Soul: Omnibus (Boxed set of 45 7" records + hardcover book) (2012)
046: Alfonso Lovo: La Gigantona (CD or LP)
047: Eccentric Soul: The Forte Label (CD or 2LP)
048: Warfaring Strangers: Darkscorch Canticles (CD or 2LP)
048.5: Medusa: First Step Beyond (LP)
049: IASOS: Celestrial Soul Portrait (LP, CD and MP3)
050: Purple Snow: Forecasting the Minneapolis Sound (LP, CD and MP3)
050.5: MIND & MATTER 1514 Oliver Avenue (Basement) (LP, CD and MP3)
051: Eccentric Soul: Capitol City Soul (CD or 2LP)
052: Ned Doheny: Separate Oceans (CD or 2LP)
053: Eccentric Soul: The Way Out Label (2CD or 3LP)
054: Local Customs: Cavern Sound (CD or 2LP)
062: The Royal Jesters: English Oldies (CD or 2LP)
- 200 Line
201: Codeine: When I See the Sun (3CD + 6LP)
202: Unwound: series of three box sets (3LP each)
203: Scharpling & Wurster: The Best of The Best Show (16CD + book)
204: White Zombie: It Came From N.Y.C. (3CD or 5LP + book)
- 700 Line
810: Wilco: Spins the Numero Group (CD)
NBR-002: WTNG 89.9 FM: Solid Bronze (LP, CD and MP3)
Eccentric Soul 45s
ES-001 The Rollers "Knockin' At The Wrong Door"/"One Little Piece"
ES-002 Eddie Ray "Wait A Minute"/"Instrumental"
ES-003 M.A.S.O. "Poon Tang Thump Pt 1"/"Pt 2"
ES-004 Renaldo Domino "I'll Get You Back"/"Two Years Four Days"
ES-005 The Triads "If You're Looking For Love"/"Now I Can Hold My Head Up High"
ES-006 Wee "Try Me"/"Teach Me How"
ES-007 Ant HIll Mob "The Number Runner Pt. 1"/"Pt. 2"
ES-008 Trevor Dandy "Is There Any Love"
ES-009 thru ES-011 Boddie Acetate Box 45s
ES-012 The Four Mints "No Longer"/"Endlessly"
ES-013 Royal Revue featuring the Fascinators "Is It Because I'm Black" / The Deacons "Sock It To Me Pt. 1"
ES-014 Willie Wright "Right On For The Darkness"/"Africa" ES-018 Penny & the Quarters "You And Me"/"You Are Giving Me Some Other Love"
ES-027 Memphis Soul "Don't Down Me People Pt 1"/"Pt 2"
Eccentric Soul 45s Boxed Sets
ES-BOX001 Boddie Acetate Box (3x45)
ES-BOX002 Lil Ed & the Soundmasters (3x45)
ES-BOX003 Syl Johnson: Mythological 45s (5x45)
TWI-102 George McGregor & the Bronzettes "Temptation Is Hard To Fight"/"Everytime I Wake Up"
TWI-104 Stormy "The Devastator"/"I Won't Stop To Cry"
TWI-112 Mystiques "So Good To Have You Home Again"/"Put Out The Fire"
TWI-114 Sidney Pinchback "Soul Strokes"/"Remind Me"
TWI-126 The Perfections "Which One Am I"/"Why Do You Want To Make Me Sad"
TWI-128 Renaldo Domino "Not Too Cool To Cry"/"Nevermore"
TWI-131 The Kaldirons "You And Me Baby"/"To Love Someone"
TWI-132 Annette Poindexter "Mama"/"Wayward Dream"
TWI-135 Chuck & Mac "Powerful Love"/"The Bear"
TWI-142 Pieces Of Peace "Pass It On Pt 1"/"Pt 2"
TWI-156 Nate Evans "Pardon My Innocent Heart"/"Main Squeeze"
+001 Lord Rhaburn/Professionals "Disco Reconnection"/"Gaujida"
+002 Master Jay & Michael Dee "T.S.O.B."/"Instrumental"
+004 Fabulous 3 MCs "Rub A Dub Dub"/"Instrumental"
+005 Jay Mitchell "Mustang Sally"/"Edits"
+006 Jackie Stoudemire "Invisible Wind"/"Dub/Edit"
+007 Missy Dee & the Melody Crew "Missy Missy Dee"/"Instrumental"
+008 The Final Solution "Brotherman"/"Theme From Brotherman"
+009 Doc Rhymin' 1. "Practitioner Of Rhymes" 2. "No Title Can Describe"/3. "Dictonary Rap"
The Numero Group operates several subsidiary imprints. They are listed below alphabetically.
The Asterisk (or *) label has been aimed at reissuing complete original LPs (in CD and LP formats) from artists associated with The Numero Group catalog, as well as others, in a variety of genres including soul, rock, folk, pop, and disco.
AST1: Johnny Lunchbreak: Appetizer/Soup's On (CD)
AST2: The Four Mints: Gently Down Your Stream (CD)
AST3: Propinquity: Propinquity (CD)
AST4: Boscoe: Boscoe (CD or LP)
AST5: Wee: You Can Fly on My Aeroplane (CD or 2LP)
AST6: Caroline Peyton: Mock-Up (CD)
AST7: Caroline Peyton: Intuition (CD)
AST8: Spirit Free: Plays Starship (CD)
AST9: Los Nombres: Los Nombres (CD or LP)
NBR001: Eccentric Breaks & Beats (CD or LP)
NBR002: WTNG 89.9 FM: Solid Bronze (CD or LP)
Numero JR is an LP-only imprint of The Numero Group. The February 2013 release of The Lewis Connection's 1979 LP features guitar and vocals by Prince on the song "Got To Be Something Here." The Lewis Connection LP marked the first time Prince appeared on a release by another artist, on a track he did not write. (Earlier recordings by 94 East were released later.) Prince's contributions to the track were recorded in late 1976 or early 1977.
NJR001 Shoes: One in Versailles
NJR002 Shoes: Bazooka
NJR003 Shoes: Black Vinyl Shoes
NJR004 Shoes: Present Tense Demos
NJR005 Circuit Rider: S/T
NJR006 The Lewis Connection: S/T
NJR007 Syl Johnson: Dresses Too Short
NJR008 Syl Johnson: Is It Because I'm Black
NJR009 Otis G. Johnson: 'Everything' "God Is Love" "78"
The Numerophon imprint specializes in vinyl-only releases in limited quantities. Niela Miller's Songs of Leaving features "Baby, Please Don’t Go To Town," an early rendering of a song that went on to become "Hey Joe."
44001: Niela Miller: Songs of Leaving
44002: Bruner: Songs for a Friend
44003: Shirley Ann Lee: Songs of Light
44004: The New King Bullard Version: Songs of the BOS Label
- "The sweetest music you've never heard". CNN. 2005-01-27.
- Gensler, andy (2013-06-24). "Numero Group Joins Secretly Canadian, Jagjaguwar, Dead Oceans in Newly Formed ‘Secretly Label Group’ (Exclusive)" (Text). Billboard. Retrieved 2014-06-14.
- Hidden Tracks; Record sleuths reissue lost songs page 92 November 2013 Wired
- "Movie song that's catching on has long-forgotten roots right here". Columbus Dispatch. Retrieved 2011-01-22.
- Michaels, Sean (2011-07-18). "Blue Valentine's mystery singer revealed". The Guardian (London).
- 2012 Grammy Awards#Notes
- 2012 Grammy Awards#Historical
- Series title is Hebrew for "Good God!".
- Hidden Tracks; Record sleuths reissue lost songs by Brian Raferty November 2013 Wired page 92