On October 25, the Numero Group — the Chicago record company that's excavated cool but little-heard R&B treasures from around the country since 2003 — will release Boddie Recording Company: Cleveland, Ohio, a three-CD/five-LP box that could turn out to be one of the year's most eye-opening sets.
The label recently uncovered a few unreleased tracks by obscure old-school Cleveland rapper Doc Rhymin' and turned the spotlight on Stone Coal White, a smokin' but forgotten funk band from Dayton. But the upcoming box aims to be Numero's crowning glory this year.
Salvaged from the mostly forgotten Boddie Recording Company, the 59 tracks zero in on a corner of Cleveland music that got lost among the city's more storied avant-punk and industrial-noise scenes.
The husband-and-wife team of Thomas and Louise Boddie operated their studio on Union Avenue for 35 years, starting in 1958. During that time, they recorded more than 10,000 hours of tape and released more than 300 albums and singles on various labels. And they hand-pressed each and every soul, gospel, and pop record they made onsite. Included in the box are cuts by Frankie Pighee & the Soulettes, Harvey and the Phenomenals, and Harvey Hall — names even dedicated crate-diggers probably never heard of.
It's a shame none of these artists got the breaks they deserved. A.C. Jones & the Atomic Aces' groovy "Oh Baby" sounds a lot like other Top 40 soul songs that topped the charts in 1965, and Creations Unlimited weave a thick wah-wah in and out of their "Chrystal Illusion" that's positively Shaftian in its funkiness. Tip to DJs and hip-hop producers: There's some prime material waiting to be remixed here. Seriously, save up your cash. You're gonna want to pick this up when it comes out.
Wilder things from Chimaira: We were a bit worried after the Cleveland metal band Chimaira released a cover of "Wild Thing" during the Charlie Sheen joyride a few months back. But the band's sixth album, The Age of Hell, should allay all concerns when it lands this week. Not surprisingly, it's a pretty scorching listen: songs like "Trigger Finger" and "Born in Blood" tear at your ears with brutal force. It should win back any fans they may have lost with 2009's polarizing The Infection. Good reason to buy the actual CD instead of downloading it: the bonus DVD, which includes an interview with the band.
Salute to summer: We know how much you love your classic rock, Cleveland. We also know how much you love being outside listening to classic rock. And while it isn't strictly a Cleveland thing, we know you love weekends too. So the End of Summer Blast From the Past makes a whole lotta sense. There's classic rock (from Michael Stanley, the Pat Travers Band, and Blue Öyster Cult, among others), plenty of fresh air (it all goes down at Clay's Park), and three whole days away from your pain-in-the-ass boss (Friday through Sunday). They may be a little premature on the end of summer (we're not packing away our shorts till there's five inches of snow on the ground), but we'll take cowbells and cold beers anytime. Learn more at clayspark.com.