As with every new year, there needs to be some kind of revival. And who better to ask than the Numero Group, a record label which specializes in unearthing some of the quiet musical scenes; the ones that end up impressing you the most, once you crawl out from inside the cave from whence you came to hear something astounding…and often, unknown.
This time, you’ll have to travel d ownriver for said revival. Local Customs: Downriver Revival to be more specific, a brilliant set that came out last year but hasn’t gotten a bit stale in 2010.
Thanks to Numero, P&C can’t stop spinning the greatest from the mostly missed Ecorse, a Michigan’s label which features brilliant tracks, all created behind the walls of the Double U Sound.
Betwixt 1967 and 1981, Felton Williams cut records tracking the lives of Ecorse’s people, in the Double U Sound studios set up in a basement on 18th avenue. The records that came out of these sessions can be considered some of the best–and most obscure–garage-punk, gospel, group soul, norther jazz and funk.
The latest release from Numero, features a dazzling 24 tracks from Felton’s endeavors, every one as delicious as the next. It’s companion is a DVD culled from hours of archival tape, featuring rarely heard before jam sessions, rehearsal time, and heck, even sermons.
Felton, who was raised in the Ecorse projects just south of Detroit, grew up fascinated by the steel guitar and the sermons he heard in church as a child. What’s more, he was well-known for his startling ability to build electronic instruments from scratch; he parlayed this skill into a 9 to 5er at a Ford Parts Plant nearby.
After raising money from locals for his Revival Label, potential artists would stop by Felton’s basement and lay down some beats; most of these people he met in church–a church which found its roots in the south, oft reflected in the music churned out in those years.
Unlike Detroit’s Motown, which was doling out polished, charming hits left and right, Felton and his compatriots took to recognizing the gritty Southern sound of yore, and couldn’t have created tracks more different than Motown, albeit no less appealing in retrospect, though.
If you like obscure sound, P&C highly suggests you scoop up this set; cds, dvds, LPs, and more! for sure, by gobbling here.
One of my favorite tracks off the collection–its kickoff, in fact–comes from Shirley Ann Lee, a gospel singer; her husband, a truck driver, wrote the brilliant funk meets gospel track, with its haunting, sparse guitars and brilliant pop elements. Hailing from Toledo, Ohio, Shirley Ann started knocking her pipes around in church as a young girl before hooking up with Felton Williams and Revival in 1967.
If you like this one, you’re sure to like the rest. Shirley Ann has a whopping four tracks on the compilation, all equally as mesmerizing.