After exposing the world to lost gems from labels hailing from Miami to Chicago to St Louis, the newest in Numero Group’s Eccentric Soul series unearths the story of Wichita, Kansas’s only black-owned record company. Smart’s Palace tells the tale of the Smart family, whose various members owned clubs and restaurants, record imprints, were radio hosts, promoters and, perhaps most importantly, played in the bands that made up that backbone of the Witchita soul scene. More than that, however, it’s the story of entrepreneurship, family, community and artistic passion, deep in the heart of America, told through song, and chronicled from the time of the chitlin circuit all the way up until the disco DJ replaced the band as the popular choice for live entertainment.
The collection of songs here are nothing short of stellar, as the rabid devotees of the Eccentric Soul series have come to expect: from the raw stomp of the Smart Brothers’ own “Barefoot Philly” to the comparatively smoother (and eerily fitting in today’s economy) “Inflation” by Chocolate Snow to the sweet soul lament of LT & The Soulful Dynamics “Crazy About You Baby”, this is American soul music at its absolute finest.
Out May 26th. Bio, art & music available upon request.
“Like a dusty curtain thrown back to reveal a pot of soul-glowing gold.” – SEATTLE WEEKLY
“The best and most thoughtful reissue label in the country.” – PITCHFORK
“A purposeful response to our suddenly soulless musical landscape” – CMJ