Sunday, February 1, 2009
Tales of empowerment and achievement are always a worthwhile uplifting thing to read, but when they are accompanied by kick ass music it is just that much better. Think James Brown shining shoes in front of a radio station that he would own 30 years later for example. The Numero Group have resurfaced another batch of amazing songs that come wih the added bonus of an amazing history/story. YODI enterprises is the subject of the story. East St.Louis is the location and the late 60s(67 on) is the time frame. You don't have to be much of a historian to know what kind of shape America was in during these years and cities like East St.Loius were at the forefront of helping to define "urban poverty" and the resulting social ills that came with it. Unemployment is at 7.2% today in America. In 68, it was at 25% in East Saint Louis. Imagine how fucking grim that would be. But rather than succumb to drugs and gangs. YODI got together to get kids making music. Started as an effort to keep unemployed kids out of gangs, it did much much more. It was the same lack of opportunity and hope gave us the Sex Pistols and hardcore, but roll it back 40 years and you get some epic funk and motown-esque workouts.
The songs make up for any lack of originality with exuberance. They have the benefit of having the ability to augment any arrangement with horns and endless percussion.
Songs like "crumbs from the table" and "third flight" were pretty stellar and would be amazing 45s to score, but just be happy you can get them and more on one CD. The liner notes are fully in depth and worth the price of admission.
Numero group keeps finding these untapped veins and the cynic in me wonders how long they can keep going, but then you check a regional site like this and realize, there are more waiting than you could even realize.