Lotta news lately from the Numero Group, Chicago's coolest archivists, called by Pitchfork "the best and most thoughtful reissue label in the country." First, the label — which digs up the forgotten-but-good refuse of the music industry, with a tendency toward hyperlocal aural archaeology (see their "Eccentric Soul," "Cult Cargo" and "Wayfaring Strangers" collections, for starters) — is launching a new series called Local Customs, which aims to be the pop music equivalent to Harry Smith's street-level folk anthologies. The first collection, titled "Downriver Revival" ...
"chronicles the life of producer/music historian Felton Williams. Set up in an Ecorse, MI basement, between 1967 and 1981 Williams captured the musical output of Ecorse's citizens and issued them on the Solid Rock, Compose, and Revival labels. Here are 24 of Williams' most fascinating recordings, covering gospel, group soul, garage-punk, northern, jazz, and funk. The package also includes a DVD of over 200 sound recordings from Williams' archives and a 30 minute featurette on the making of Downriver Revival."
More immediately, mark your calendars for the Numero Group's first live event: the Eccentric Soul Revue, April 4 at Park West. The concert features South Side originals such as Syl Johnson, the Notations, and Nate Evans — who still perform regularly around the world — plus Renaldo Domino, the Kaldirons and the Final Solution — who haven't been on stage in over 30 years — all backed by The Uptown Sound. Tickets are $22 and on sale through Ticketmaster, the Numero site and at the Park West box office.
Listen to some classic Syl Johnson tracks on our Blip.fm feed: