Discovering the Numero Group's digging took them to the industrial Cleveland suburb of Lorain, OH, solidies (in this writer's mind) their excellence in unearthing lost sonic treasures. Now & Again will always be great explorers on an international level, but my bias leans me towards Numero's Midwestern focus.
For the next three months Numero is shedding new light on Cleveland recording legend and Hot Chocolate founder Lou Ragland. The journey begins with Lorain, OH soul band Los Nombres. The group was treated like small potatoes for its decade-long existence as even its hometown publication the Lorain Journal casually dismissed them as young musicians improving their lot early in their career, only to declare them as still trying to make it big six years later. Los Nombres never made it big, but the exlusive break thoughs had to nothing to do with a lack of quality, due in part to Ragland's recordings.
Los Nombres are heavily influenced by the greats of their era. Like most bands it began with “Louie Louie” covers, until they were introduced to the R&B hits of Detroit. Given the group's Puerto Rican heritage the sounds of Merengues, Boleros, Guarachas and Tito Puente's “Oye Como Va” are woven into the fold as well. The band sung in both English and Spanish, which should have given the group potential for crossover appeal, but the flame never found the kindling.
Los Nombres' self-titled LP is available via Numero Group. Hear the tracks “Loving You” and “Cold Wine” in our player below.