Great article by Dave Hoekstra in today's Sun-Times about Chicago soul men the Notations. Protégés of Curtis Mayfield, the group only released one self-titled album in 1973 (on Mayfield's Custom Records subsidiary, Gemigo) but they represent the unsung history of the city's relationship to soul music.
Most think of the blues and jazz when it comes to the Windy City, but the truth is, my hometown has produced more soul records than most give it credit for. Detroit, Memphis, L.A. and Philly housed the key players, but Chicago had tons of tiny labels, not to mention offices for many of the majors of the time.
Ken Shipley, who founded the Chicago based Numero Group in 2003 (the Numero Group is putting on the first Eccentric Soul Revue at the lovely Park West this Saturday; with Syl Johnson and the Notations headlining) puts it best: "Chicago has always gotten the short end of the stick as far as soul goes," he says.
"And Chicago produced more soul records than any other city in the country. Chicago goes blow to blow with Detroit in a heartbeat because we had more labels. Someone is doing a Ken Burns-type documentary on soul and they contacted us about licensing music. So I go, 'You guys coming to Chicago?' and they said they were skipping it. People think of Chess and the blues with Chicago. But every major record company had an office here. Brunswick [Tyrone Davis, Jackie Wilson, Gene Chandler] was here. OKeh [Major Lance, the great Walter Jackson]. Mercury [Jerry Butler]. King had an office here. And of course, Curtom, Vee-Jay and One-derful, the home of Otis Clay and Harold Burrage. It blows my mind people don't know more about Chicago's soul history."The Notations offer a window to the soul [Chicago Sun-Times]
ECCENTRIC SOUL REVUE
WITH SYL JOHNSON, THE NOTATIONS, NATE EVANS, RENALDO DOMINO, THE KALDIRONS AND THE FINAL SOLUTION, BACKED BY THE UPTOWN SOUND
When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday
Where: Park West, 322 W. Armitage
Phone: (312) 559-1212;