Light: On The South Side - V/A LP Box Set

(Numero Group, 2009)

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“...with Light: On the South Side, [the Numero Group] has expanded its repertoire, venturing into the book publishing biz for the first time. The book’s 130-some pages are filled with the photographic work of Michael Abramson, done in the mid-70s at a handful of clubs on the south side of Chicago. But rather than capture the musicians plying their trade in those environs, as might be expected, Abramson turned his lens towards the folks enjoying the music, which just as often was provided by 45s in a jukebox as actual instruments and players.

Abramson’s main haunts were Pepper’s Hideout and Perv’s House, places where he was able to connect through his work even as his camera provided both a necessary buffer and unqualified access. His work possesses the unique dichotomy of being both poignantly intimate and, for the most part, impartial, empathizing with its subject whether it’s being celebrated or scrutinized.

Of course, Numero’s forte is music, and complimenting the book is two slabs of vinyl supposedly derived straight from Pepper’s juke. While one might suspect such an accompaniment to be just an afterthought, the book’s soundtrack is just as obscure and top-notch as anything the label has released. “You Made Me Suffer” by Andrew Brown is a burning soul reverie, while “Gimme Some of Yours,” by Artie White, is a smoking side of backwoods funk. “Young Blood” is a brash mix of boasting and horn punctuation that’s as good as anything this side of Lee Dorsey. In short, this record grooves just as good as it gets. If anyone ever doubted Numero’s dedication to their mission, which must read something like “leave no good record unturned,” this beautiful set seems to be the embodiment of everything they’ve hoped to accomplish—a visual and audio encapsulation of one small neck of the woods’ archetypal sounds.” - Stephen Slaybaugh for The Agit Reader