LOTUS LAND (WISCONSIN, USA)

Lotus Land was a record shop & label set up by brothers Tom & Andy Noble (bassist in Kings go Forth) & friend John Kuester, specialising in obscure funk & soul records and reissues of rarities. Based in the Noble hometown of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the record shop was in operation under younger bro Tom from 2001 – 2006, when Andy took over till the shop shut its doors in 2010.

The label was set up by Tom in 2004 and stopped operating around 2009 just before he set up the Superior Elevation online shop as a continuation of LL (Superior Elevation became a physical shop in 2015 based in Brooklyn, New York ran by Tom & wife Ellen). Tom has also strong connections to Peoples Potential Unlimited, assisting with the naming and design of the obscure funk reissue label.

The brothers both write, produce, edit, remix their own & others music in various groups and aliases and share a delight in an array of weird & wonderful sounds with an old-school love for skater punk & reggae. Check interviews with Andy & Tom for a tiny glimpse into their sweeping musical lives.

In Tom’s words, the Lotus Land label was started  “to branch out from the world of deep funk… and explore the pre-disco vibes of modern soul…. the idea of finding music made by local forgotten soul heroes became like an Indiana Jones ghetto safari obsession for me.”

The limited pressings of Lotus Land reissues now mean they go for big money, almost as much as the originals.

Take a dip into the LL well of pre-disco delights:

  • Darwin’s Theory – S/T LP (2009)
    • The only LP released on Lotus Land, is a concoction of deep soul & earthy funk. Darwin’s Theory were a young group of musicians who came together to record material in Sly Stone‘s legendary Santa Monica studio in 1978. All but one of these tracks were previously unheard & unreleased by the band since their recording session, till brought together 30 years later for Lotus Land. The group disbanded after the Santa Monica recording sessions and pursued other musical projects.
  • Ramsey And Co – Love Call / Leg Grease 7″ (2009)
    • Ramsey & Co were a group set up by songwriter / synth-player Mainor Ramsey to play at the NY Catskills supper club circuit in 1979. The original 7″ was produced to sell to audience members, and is an extremely rare styrene release on Ramsey’s own label Ramco. Despite the obscurity & limited pressings, the disco heat of Love Call made its way into the UK’s Northern Soul / Modern Soul scene and was mixed by DJ Harvey back in the 90’s for BBE Music.
  • Henry Turner Crystal Band – Giving Up My Love For You / Music 7″ (2007)
    • The deeply soulful Giving Up My Love For You is balanced by the badass boogie beat of Music. Another diamond that was forgotten about & sat on the shelves gathering dust till the 7″ reissue on Lotus Land, Henry Turner’s Crystal Band was the first of Turner’s groups in the 80’s.

References

10 months ago