Folks who know me (and even a few who don't 'know me') are aware of my love of good soul music and over the last year or so, one of the most reliable sources has been the inestimable Numero Group record label. These cats have cornered the market on compilations, out-manoeuvring Rhino for quality and rarity (don't get me wrong, I still dig Rhino and would love to get my hands on this).
Their two entries in the Cult Cargo series (Belize City Boil-Up & Grand Bahama Goombay) take you on a trip to some tropical paradises for their home-grown take on funk, soul and jazz), while the Eccentric Soul series excavates the histories of lesser-known soul labels in the U.S. ('cause everyone knows Motown and Stax, but who's heard of Prix and Twinight?). PopMatters, a great little site I frequent just did a solid feature on Numero Group, interviewing one of the masterminds behind the label, Andrew Gilstrap. Thought I'd share the link to it here and recommend you hit your local record shop and check their releases out. I know Music Trader in Winnipeg's brought in several of the titles at my recommendation.
The article can be found here.
One other article worth checking out is in the August/September issue of Global Rhythm. (Anoushka Shankar and Karsh Kale are on the cover). There's a couple pages on the history of Fania Records and Nuyorican Salsa, which is seeing a bit of a re-emergence lately thanks to the sale of the Fania archives to Florida-based Emusic. They've taken to reissuing some of the original releases on LP and CD, and have put together some solid 'best ofs'
and compilations that cherry-pick the cream of the salsa crop. Now admittedly some of you may cringe when you hear 'salsa' and think of the self-important jackanapes who hold court in the basement of the Empire, but this is some dope music. I recently bought Mongo Santamaria's "Hey Sister" and The Latinaires "Camel Walk" on LP and can't stop playing them. And I'm REALLY hoping Dusty Groove get's this shit back in stock asap so I can order it up.
Anyway, just thought if you should know, if you're looking for some dope tunes for the hot summer days, look no further than Fania and Numero Group.