In an era of iTunes and throwaway pop songs, several record labels are emerging to dig through music’s untold past. These archival labels—such as Atlanta’s Dust-To-Digital—set out to research the recording industry from its earliest incarnations onward, transferring historic recordings to modern formats. Products are often elaborately packaged, containing liner note booklets (or, in some cases,books), artwork, multi-disc compilations, cards, artifacts and more.
Perhaps the most well-known of these labels is the Numero Group, a multi-format media company specializing in archival audio and film recordings. Founded in 2003 as a record label, Numero has gone on to release more than 60 titles—including LPs, CDs, cassettes, 45s and DVDs. The company’s mission: to uncover some of the world’s finest unknown art, spanning half a century’s worth of material.
Each production is a labor of love, with extensive liner notes, photos and trading cards packaged into every release. In addition to a narrative documentary, all products are given a five-star treatment—re-mastered and researched with high attention to detail, sounding pristine even after years in obscurity. Though past emphasis has been placed on regional soul and funk recordings (the Eccentric Soul, Good God! and Cult Cargo series to name a few), recent releases have focused on artists from the early 80’s and 90’s.
I’ve had the pleasure of checking out three Numero releases thus far: Belize City Boil Up (Cult Cargo), The Capsoul Label (Eccentric Soul), and Pressed at Boddie (Local Customs)—the latter being my personal favorite.
Released in 2011, Pressed at Boddie tells the auditory story of Thomas and Louisa Boddie– a husband-and-wife duo that ran a record press out of their home for 30-plus years. Beginning business in the mid-60’s, the Boddies accepted ¼-inch tapes from local groups of all genres, pressing them onto vinyl singles for “less than the price of a dinner roll per unit.” They continued this practice up until the early 90’s, crafting 45s, cassettes and 8-track tapes until they could no longer compete with emerging technology.
Pressed at Boddie’s charm lies not only in Thomas and Louisa’s story, but also in the sheer volume of great, genre (and decade) spanning music. From teenage soul groups to amateur garage rock, this record has everything you could ask for and more. Pressed is special in that there’s something new to discover with each listen—a treasure in each of the 17 tracks on the compilation. The fact that it comes with such a detailed narrative history (a more extensive 3-CD set is also available) makes it even better. Pressed is one of those records that never goes stale, and proves that great music stands the test of time.
For around $15-20 per release, you’ll experience some of the greatest music you’ve never heard. Numero Group doesn’t just cater to archivists though—anyone with an ear for good music will enjoy what the company has to offer.
Visit numerogroup.com today to discover what Numero is all about. It’s a guaranteed good time.