Press Clippings for 15-60-75

David Fricke, Rolling Stone, April 2004
It wasn't all steel-mill Stooges action in 1970s Ohio. While Pere Ubu and Devo were in the early stages of mutation, 15.60.75 - a.ka. the Numbers Band - terrorized local saloons with a future blues of Sun Ra-style sax honk, raga-guitar spinout and funky "Sister Ray" surge: Bonnaroo in a bottle, way ahead of schedule.

Chris Cutler, Recommended
"Don't know about the NME but by God, they frightened me. You have to go to a small city in America to see a band with this much intensity and this much professionalism: 20 years in the same bar needing to keep a regular public's attention - intimacy with the material; an unfakeable elision of reality and entertainment.

Brian Turner, New York Times, August 8 2004
The band offers an off-kilter take on the blues somewhere between the styles of Captain Beefheart and Fred McDowell.

George Smith, Village Voice, July 6 2004
The blues have me by the throat, and the fingers are a man's who lives in a cemetery. That's Robert Kidney's bio in the notes of Jimmy Bell's Still in Town by "The Numbers" (a/k/a 15-60-75), the chap's band. It's a come-on that hooks me - Chris Youlden of Savoy Brown, for example, was claimed to live near a graveyard. And it's been the experience that musos who actually profess to live in shacks on the grounds of the dead pack more grave-ity than many of their modern colleagues who dress like ghouls. The Numbers' recording is live, restored from the '70s, the record of a relentless jam band taking cues from Kidney's hip-man vocals. The band is tight, turns on a dime, and sounds like the J. Geils Band if J. and everyone else eighty-sixed Peter Wolf and went off into King Crimson-land circa Earthbound. (And that ain't prog - it was the Crimson album in which Boz and the drummer had Fripp doing rancid-buttered r&b.) The Numbers, one gathers, were the very definition of unpopular but committed; liner notes allege that one sissy girl, a Bob Marley fan, felt they hurt her ears. The Ohio group dress natty, and while much of their story could be mythology, it's a great one when backed up by their funky saxes-and-guitars sound.

Greil Marcus, Salon.com, July 7 2000
Cat-Iron was a blues singer from Natchez, Miss. "Jimmy Bell" was the Numbers' wipeout piece, as much Bobby Darin's "Mack the Knife" as Cat-Iron's cryptic crusader. Picking up on the bare syncopation in the Cat-Iron version, the Numbers press the rhythm right away, the bass slithering over the beat like a snake, then rhythm guitar, then Kidney's thin voice, insisting on that greenback suit until you can see it walking down the street as his lead guitar picks up the bass's theme and flails it like a whip. Across nearly 11 minutes, the performance is all play and menace, all here and now, all origins erased, a reach beyond the story to the willfulness in which it begins, a willfulness only a long, mean solo will turn up. By the time Kidney returns to words Jimmy Bell has come and gone and come back again, and you're on the next train out. "Up the road I'm going," Jimmy Bell tells his wife. "She said," Kidney shouts for her in terror, "She said, 'What road?'"

Joe Cushley, Mojo
15-60-75 are one of the few outfits to have stamped generic R&B with an original seal. Leader Robert Kidney has performed with The Golden Palominos but, since 1969, The Numbers have been his primary concern. On this debut - a live recording from 1975 - the musicians include longtime sidekicks Jack Kidney (mouth harp and sax) and Terry Hynde (Chrissie's brother!). At moments one catches strains of Santana and The Doors in their polyrhythmic blues effusions - but there is also a deeper, more esoteric imagination at work. Kidney is a Van Vliet on the distaff side, or a less hung up David Byrne. His heady, poetic, lyrical marinades are spiced with harmonica from Southside heaven - and horns which can't quite decide whether they're playing a Stax revue or a free jazz freak-out. You will not be disappointed.

Harry Prenger, Heaven, Jan/Feb 2001
A Forgotten Classic: This is not musicians playing, it's madness kept barely under control. Saxophone players Tim Maglione and Terry Hynde blow mesmerizing wild lines. Jack Kidney punishes his harmonica with a potion of dirty, feverish blues. And truly inescapable is the performance of Robert Kidney. The singer/ guitarist works up his band like a high priest at a ritual gathering. His presence cuts the room like a knife - a knife that does not need sharpening. In spite of the crowded playing, the music seemingly follows a slow euphoric groove, which amazes more with every extra spin. And when finally, the euphoric playing and the razorsharp knife have closed their pact, all words become superfluous. Even after 25 years."

RV, Platomania, December 2000
Genuine Rhythm 'n' Blues and a large potion of free jazz by ex- Golden Palomino Robert Kidney, featuring slightly Captain Beefheart-like eccentricity. Frighteningly intense... This is one of those records that will probably never sell, but will secretly carry its genius among all those other CD's that were overlooked by the public. Except if you take this review seriously of course. A timeless statement.

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