Boogaloo Times Preview: Numero Group’s Eccentric Soul Revue @ 9:30 Club (2009.11.10)

eccentric soul flyer

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

01. MP3: Syl Johnson – Different Strokes
02. MP3: Syl Johnson – Come On Sock It To Me (streaming only)

It’s not unusual for friends and acquaintances to ask us how a person should start “getting into” soul music. The general situation looks to be something like this: Soul, though it hasn’t suffered any loss in sheer memorability, has become a somewhat obscure taste among young people of our day. Most everyone still appreciates a hard-hitting 4×4 soul anthem–their dad’s old Otis Redding tapes, James Brown’s cathartic screech–the problem is that few have actually bothered to delve into music made by equally meritable, yet less popular artists of modern and classic eras alike. So how exactly do you go about entering the world of soul?

Obviously, getting caught up in the genre is just as simple as it is for any other type of music–recommendations, criticism, radio, the internet, and ideally: shows. That’s why we cheerfully advise you to attend Numero Group’s Eccentric Soul Revue when it winds its way down to the 9:30 Club tomorrow, Tues Nov 10th (one of only five tour dates). The Vinyl District is also giving away free tickets and swag.

For anyone unfamiliar with Chicago-based Numero Group, the record label started in 2003, co-founded by Ken Shipley (formerly of Rykodisc) among others.  With aspirations to be the self-described “best archival record label in the world,” they are well on their way with a highly-curated, impeccable catalog of 60 titles including full records, collections, and DVDs spread across myriad genres like soul, rock, folk, pop, and gospel.

In a digital age, their strategy and niche is refreshingly hands-on and personal: they are quite literally crate diggers, who seek out the rarities and obscurities that fill their catalog, often personally wooing the artists or labels for the rights to reissue.  Their odyssey is even more complicated given that many releases exist only on poor quality medium, requiring an extensive (and in some senses “last-chance”) remastering process.

With their Eccentric Soul Revue, Numero takes their passion one step farther by having artists from their Eccentric Soul division (self-explanatory) dust off their dancing shoes, clear their throats, and hit the stage in a full-ontouring revue.  This round is a triple-header of big names from defunct label Twinight Records, featuring Renaldo Domino, the Notations, and arguably the centerpiece of the show: Syl Johnson.  Numero issued a 2006 Twinight compilation (Eccentric Soul: Twinight’s Lunar Rotation), and has a box set on the way packed full of Syl Johnson’s trebly and wild wail.

Syl Johnson is the face of Twinight that has seen the most mainstream exposure, hitting #7 on the R&B charts with “Take Me To The River” in 1975, along with a handful of other hits (“Sock It To Me,” “Different Strokes,” “Back For A Taste Of Your Love,” “I Only Have Love”).  Those successes aside, it’s somewhat hard to say what puts Johnson ahead of the pack.  But a good bet is that it all rides on his fairly unique singing.  Notably higher-registered, both sharp and fragile, and quite unlike the sweet and smooth sounds of many of soul’s other proprietors, Johnson’s vocals perhaps cut a bit deeper and more severe.  Combined with his strong and diverse musical pedigree as an instrumentalist (guitar, harmonica), his music stands the test of time and still packs a wallop.  And if reports of his explosive live show are accurate, you’d be foolish to sleep on this.

Related posts

  1. Live Review / Photos: Numero Group’s Eccentric Soul Revue feat. Syl Johnson, the Notations and Renaldo Domino (2009.11.10)[Audio clip: view full post to listen] MP3: JC Brooks...
  2. Boogaloo Times: A Discourse on Funk and Soul – Lee Fields, and The Sound Stylistics[Audio clip: view full post to listen] MP3: Lee Fields...
  3. Boogaloo Times: A Discourse on Funk and Soul – Pax Nicholas & Seattle Funk[Audio clip: view full post to listen] MP3: Ron Buford...
  4. Preview: Marduk and Nachtmystium @ Sonar Club Stage (2009.11.23)[Audio clip: view full post to listen] MP3: Nachtmystium –...
  5. Preview: Ghostland Observatory, December 13th @ 9:30 Club[Audio clip: view full post to listen] MP3: Rich Man...

Leave a Reply