The Numero Group unveils a style of music completely unknown to the greater world before they dragged it from the beaches of Belize in the Bahamas. The national dish of Belize is made with a diverse mixture of ingredients, pig's tail, potatoes, plantains, bananas, boiled eggs, yams, whole fish, thrown in a pot, and boiled to perfection. They call it a Boil Up. The music of this collection combines equal parts of R&B, calypso, disco, funk, reggae, bruckdown, soul, folk, and whatever else can be found back on the bottom shelf of the musical pantry. This too is called Boil Up, and it's anything but leftovers. Numero Uno has taken special care in restoring these sixteen songs from their original analog sources. Paul Q Kolderie and Sean Slade at Camp Street (Radiohead, Pixies, Hole, Morphine), along with Jeff Lipton at Peerless Mastering worked side by side with us, scouring through more than thirty reels and thousands of feet of tape. Another hundred or so hours went into re-mastering, remixing and reevaluating, all in search of the perfect blend of passport stamped rhythms, second-deck cruise ship melodies, hotel pool calypso, soundtracks to movies not-yet-made, and anything else savory, or unsavory, enough to throw into the pot. Never heard of the funky soul and reggae music of Belize, that sliver of Caribbean coastline just east of Guatemala and south of Cancun? You're probably not alone, and the Belize City Boil Up compilation (the 6th this year from crate-digging music salvagers the Numero Group) is the varied and danceable introduction for the interested yet uninitiated. Soaking up influences from their Jamaican neighbors and their soulful Motown/Stax brethren from the north, these little-known groups recorded a handful of albums and singles in the 60s and 70s. The results showcase rootsy reggae (Belizean patriarchal funkster Lord Rhaburn's "More Love Reggae", The Web's "Rated G"), covers of Wilson Pickett and Johnny Nash, and some funky I-can't-believe-it's-not-sampled beats of the Harmonettes "Shame Shame Shame" and Rhaburn's "Disco Connection". Soulful standouts The Professionals (whose album covers noted their "promptness and reliability") cover both the O'Jays "Back Stabbers" and "Theme from The Godfather" - now that's a group with range! --Ben Heege
I'll make this review short and sweet. Buy this album. Do it now, you're online. Neumero does it again (they're 6 for 6 so far) by unleashing one of the most awe-inspiring comps in a long time. It rivals any and all Souljazz comps, and that's saying something as they are also awesome. In fact, pick a couple of those up too.