Shrine Records, founded by Berry Gordy’s ex-wife Raynoma and his ex-employee Eddie Singleton, was the District of Columbia’s own attempt to stare down the mighty Motown. But after the destruction of the label during the riots following Martin Luther King Jr’s assassination, D.C. soul music never fully recovered. Raynoma and Eddie Singleton’s go-to outside engineer Robert Jose Williams wouldn’t be the only entrepreneur who picked up the torch, but it’s hard to argue that anyone produced better soul music inside the Beltway during the 1970s. While not manning knobs and faders for Gil Scott-Heron, Hugh Masekela and a host of major label also-rans at Edgewood Studios - the capital’s most opulent recording facility - Williams worked off-hours at his own scrappy headquarters— the basement of his parents’ suburban Silver Springs’ home on Octagon Road. Out of those cramped quarters came the underground sounds collected here. Red, Black, and Green Productions is the story of a well-connected engineer whose cabal of Beltway talent surreptitiously produced the finest soul music coming out of D.C. during the midsection of the 1970s. Its flag flown fully behind the scenes, the company name never graced an actual label. But 40 years on, inquiring minds would collect fine- print references to Red, Black, and Green from a scattering of regional releases on labels large and small, finally connecting the boldly coloured dots. No true RBG record label to run meant no stock to manage, no promos to mail out, no disc jockeys to bribe...but it also made for tenuous control of the music’s destiny. Much of what Williams produced went unreleased, despite the indisputably high quality of all his recordings. The artists collected here represent the best that 1970s Washington, D.C., had to offer. Skip Mahoaney & the Casuals were an RBG success story, springing from local release purgatory onto a major label. Dyson’s Faces launched the career of small-time legend Clifton Dyson, whose recording and performing career took him through three decades. Father’s Children scored a one-shot Mercury deal eight long years after their RBG recordings (and a Numero reissues of their RBG productions in 2011). And East Coast Connection, Promise, and the Summits all managed to eke out a single or two, none of them distributed beyond District limits. The Exceptions never saw release at all, though a few members formed the current incarnation of The Moments. Eccentric Soul has made a mission of shining light upon the darkest corners of the 1960s and 1970s independent soul music explosion in the US. With Red, Black, and Green Productions, Numero’s flagship series delves past the record label veneer and dives into a deeper well of sound reverberating out of the political capital of the planet.
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