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Released in 2013, the Numero Group’s Purple Snow: Forecasting the Minneapolis Sound compilation chronicles the evolution of the Twin Cities funk scene of the late 1970s and early 1980s, what the archival record label describes as a “purple launchpad.” As you might’ve surmised from the meteorological play on words, Prince is definitely there, but only on a handful of songs. Even then, he’s part of the band, not the main attraction.
Rather, the 32 tracks on this four-LP collection push the scene’s most famous inhabitant to the side in order to excavate the region’s lesser-known, but still boundary-pushing musicians. Inside the box set is a 144-page book that guides listeners through the scene’s history and main figures, including the legendary songwriting and producing duo Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis.
I’m definitely late to the incredible work that the Numero Group does in uncovering, preserving, and promoting the work of musicians and scenes long lost. My partner and I bought Purple Snow last spring, almost four years after it came out. Not long after, we started picking up the label’s releases whenever we could, including Sitting in the Park (a glimpse at late Chicago DJ Bob Abrahamian’s expansive soul collection), Cavern Sound (music from a subterranean recording studio in Missouri), and most recently, Private Yacht (seagulls, sailing, and absurd lyrics) and Acid Nightmares (exploring the post-hippie hard-rock hangover).
Although I’ve only explored a small corner of their catalog, I’d wager that a music fan could not go wrong with any of the Numero Group’s compilations.
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