A spirit in the sky that lost itself in a subterranean hole; the shag floor of the grooviest van on the block.
Why You Should Care:
It’s no secret that Chicago’s Numero Group is pretty much the raddest practitioner of audio anthropology this side of, well, EVERYONE, but in 2014 they outdid themselves. Drop Purple Snow, a bootie-shaking anthology documenting the “caveman”-era (read: pre-Prince) Minneapolis sound onto an unsuspecting public? Groovy, but not enough. Release Separate Oceans (reviewed on THIS podcast), a collection of unsung musical hero Ned Doheny’s best (and not-so-best) smooth jams for all the world to groove to? Simply not enough. A deep dive into the hard-rock underground of the 70's COMPLETE WITH IT'S OWN BOARDGAME? NOT. ENOUGH.
No, it seems the Numero Group wouldn’t be satisfied until they exposed the world to the cosmic sounds coming out of the grooviest of scenes: An underground studio in...Kansas?
From 1967 to 1973, legends like James Brown, Brewer & Shipley, and more all did time in the underground oddity known as Cavern Sound studio, but it’s the lead-off track from the band Pretty that sums up the studio’s vibe the best: Nonsensical, mysterious, yet groovy as hell. As little can be known about “Mustache In Your Face” as can be known about what mysteries the universe revealed to the members of Pretty during their time in the cave.
One thing is for sure, though: Studio head Gerald “Jerry” Riegle and his cohorts captured magic with their mics, and Local Customs: Cavern Sound tells the tale of a scene that was out of time, and (literally) out of place, yet still managed to find musical truths that still reverberate to this day.