Beat : Files #5
Olan, All City, talks Numero, Bandit and home schooled child stars.
A reverence for the past and a respect for the lonely journey of the African American artists and record label entrepreneurs, has guided the excellent Numero records since their foundation in 2003. Based in Chicago they've been putting together heavyweight compilations shining light on the optimism, hope and the (mostly, scantly rewarded) work of soul labels via their flagship Eccentric Soul Series, not to mention their Good God series which catalogues the praising of the Lord via the gospel-funk-soul fusion of loud drums and wah wah pedals that took place for a minute in the early 70s.
Back in the distant pre internet days it was the British who ran the compilation/excavation game while the yanks powered on with making the next shit. So you get a whole host of comps while with the best of intentions in most cases they're usually budget presses, single vinyl low quality, (often) unlicensed releases and lack of liner notes and information. Obviously inaccessibility and expense leads to cutting corners - Jazzman being the exception of course - but Americans respond to financial incentives and the aging demographic of music buyers- vinyl or otherwise – means that the average shop browser is around the age where they might just be curious about Korean Jimi Hendrix types.
Stones Throw and its subsidiary Now Again have been in it for a while but as it’s a reflection of its owners taste, label manager Egon, it has gradually moved away from the deep funk sound of the Midwest it did so much to champion to the psych / fuzz / world music. Just fresh off the presses is a beautifully packaged 10 inch set of Fela inspired music - tracks from Ghana to Columbia which were derived from the Afro beat sound
A nice flip of the usual Afro comps and extensively researched - Egons ears are pretty flawless - this will sit very nicely on your coffee table. Expect a whole host of Afro based psych and funk coming down the line. Next up is Zambia's 70s psych/rock scene.. you can grab a little taster of it here
While Egon has diverted his gaze somewhat from the vast expenses of the American mid West not to mention Florida and the West Coast - Jazzman have been working on an LA funk comp for a number of years that should see the light of day this year which is going to be a belter! The Numero camp have continued their quest to document the unheard American artists and labels based right under their noses.
It’s easy to become immune to the power of raw American funk and how revolutionary it was especially as the general nature of one upmanship in the collecting world and the curious minds of these compilers that drive them to seek out pastures new and unexpected. Numero, however, has covered almost every aspect of the African American musical experience of the 60s and 70s with the obligatory nod to disco & early rap. Focusing on everything from the broken dreams of honest endeavour, the hustlers, the groomed child stars - and their parents - and the religious experience they set the marker for from day one back in 2003 with the first of their eccentric Soul records focusing on the Capsoul label.