Friday, April 30, 2010

Give Numero A Pulitzer

Sure it sounds odd to give a literary/journalistic (and sometimes music) prize to a record label. But the Numero Group are not just a record label, they're a full-scale archaeological enterprise, and one that also happens to release the results in the form of cds and records.

Each Numero release is filled with extensive details and biographies, old pictures in various states of decay, and sometimes tracks that didn't even make it onto an album or single, despite the hopes of the creators. The label has become best known for the Eccentric Soul series, which has focused on individual soul record labels that hovered under the radar, often even in the city where they were based. These release form an underground history of African American music and history in the '60s and '70s, with many songs that have been literally saved from the dustbin of time.

And those are just half of what they've released. The label's other work has ranged from gospel funk to country to power pop to the folk. Each release is a testament to the quality of music that has been made in America that never made a dent the first time around.

The records they've release touch on many of the Pulitzer Prizes. There's an incredible amount of research involved for these albums, with the label's three owners tracking down musicians and singers who have mostly moved on from their dreams of music and some who don't want to be found again. These works are biographies of cities, regions and musicians. The label has performed an incredible public service with their work, illuminating history and also bringing much great music back from the dead.