Selected Reviews From 1999 to 1990
MOJO Magazine, December 1999
Joe Cushley reviews reissue of "Jimmy Bell Is Still In Town"
15 60 75 are one of the few outfits to have stamped
generic R&B with an original seal. Leader Robert Kidney has
performed regularly with The Golden Palominos but, since
1969, The Numbers have been his primary concern. On this
debut - a live offering 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.
David Thomas' DISASTODROME!:
The Poet Reports From Backstage, On Stage, Front Row Center
by Bob Holman
April 28, 1998
Jackie Leven, the Scots bluesman, did a solo set, miking
his long-stockinged foot stomps, and bringing the audience to its
knees and tears with his husk flow of a voice ("Poor Town"
in particular) and his hilarious stories. Which is all but
a prelude for the last act: the legendary Kidney Brothers
from Cleveland. Jack and Robert are the quintessential white
trash blues rockers, powerfully, subtlely smashing the air
with silence and then tossing back guitar swoops like only
blood brothers can. As The Numbers Band, they have a super
rep in the Midwest, but oolala! on the power stage of Europe
you hear these guys for what they are-- the Condensers.
Blues Haikus. Jack's sax and drums and guitar pushed
the music into the nerve's ear, where Mr. Bob K, who clearly
has signed off to whoever that was at the Crossroads,
brings it all home to the heart of rock' n' roll.
Sonic Waves and Raves
Review from the Soup Kitchen
Disastodrome! Day One; April 2nd, 1998
Purcell Room or Clagari's Diner
...Then finally the Big Man (David Thomas) introduced those
legends of the Cleveland Underground, The Kidney Brothers,
who are the core of 15 60 75 (The Numbers Band), who both
looked like they had seen an awful lot of life and come through
with flying colours. They played with imense passion and style.
The blues harmonica played directly into a Valve mic was
phenonenal, and the guitar playing was stunning. Their set
was a mix of blues standards and originals, a great song
about getting shot. They closed their set with a storming
rendition of Bo Diddley's "Who Do You Love"
that just pissed all over almost every version I've ever heard
of this classic, even making George Thoroughgood's version
sound limp, way cool.
Disastodrome! Day Two; April 3rd, 1998
At the South Bank Center, London.
Time to go into Queen Elizabeth Hall for tonight's main show
"Mirror Man", David Thomas's musical narration based very
loosely on Edgar Lee Masters' "Spoon River Anthology".
The pit orchastra for this masterful southern blues
on the bajou opera was David on accordian and the damn good
time he had in his bare feet and a red apron
over a black shirt and trousers and a great black hat. Then
on mouth organ and sax was Jack Kidney, who once again stunned
me with his brilliant blues harmonica, a real joy to hear
someone honk so well and with real spirit, like his life may
have depended on it. David Thomas as the narrator kept
going over to the row of seated singers and leading them to
the microphone to sing, we had Robert Kidney, giving us his
best blues wail on some very weird lyrics setting out this
bizare world of the Mirror Man that we had entered.
Cleveland Plain Dealer
By Michael Drexler
For The DiamondBack Brewery, January 2nd, 1998.
The songs are often more serious and emotionaly complex than
most rock or blues. Yet the music is entirely accessable through
Kidney's couriuous melodies, the band's great soloists,
and a backbeat like an elbow in the ribs.
By Phil Sutcliffe
December issue, review of Robert Kidney's Wild River from
The Best Of The Golden Palominos 1983-1989.
...the easily listenable Wild River, a bottlenecked country blues
strum from 1989, is brilliant, its writer, Robert Kidney's baritone
vocal a masterpiece of gently confessional tone and brutally menacing word:
"Open yourself up to me, And I'll just slam you shut."
1996 Credits and Notes
By David Thomas
From the boxed-set Datapanik In The Year Zero.
David Thomas is the founder of Pere Ubu and Two Pale Boys.
"Uncapturable in its intensity, because you had
to be packed into the crowd in that hot sweaty club in Kent where the
Numbers Band played week after week for years on end, just letting go,
to really hear the music." The Numbers Band still plays every week at
JB's in Kent and is possibly the greatest live band you will
ever see or imagine seeing. You don't believe this and certainly there's
not a clear indication of it from this recording but this group inspired
everyone, regenerated everyone, and was a nagging doubt in the back of
everyone's minds, "The Numbers are better than you can ever hope for."
Datapanik In The Year Zero features the track It's In Imagination,
performed by 15-60-75, writen by Robert Kidney.
Northern Ohio Live
1996 feature article
The Numbers Band play original modern blues with an angular, jazzy sensibility.
You can dance to the Numbers, particularly on such tunes as the blistering
"Too Much Tough," the sexy "Who's Loving you Better," or Junior Parker's
"That's Alright," a blues lament Robert (Kidney) stamps with his lubricated
baritone and glassy guitar.
1995 feature article
Since 1970, 15-60-75, the Numbers Band, have been mesmerizing audiences with
a unique, homemade style of music that can't be pinned
down and can't be ignored.
1993 review of 15 60 75 "Hotwire"
"Hotwire", a combination of live studio and club recordings from the past two
years, is a fine testament to guitarist/vocalist Robert Kidney and Company's
artistic survival and development. It's one of those quietly amazing realizations
that one of the longest-lived "house" bands happens to be one of the more
unique and creative musical ensembles on the planet.
1993 review of 15 60 75 "Hotwire"
"Hotwire" rocks up a storm, Kidney writes and sings in a world that seems bent
on grinding us all down. He's fought back by making his responsive band a
world within a world from which he fires back his answering salvos.
1992 Live Riffs
Interview by John D. Beers
15 60 75 carries within their music the rhythmic pulse of the blues
(Delta, Chicago), the free-form flow of jazz, and the heartbeat of
rock and roll. They're an eclectic index of modern contemporary American
music that is all familiar to the listener's ear, but not bound by
their traditional style.
Rolling Stone Magazine
1991 review of Golden Palomino's "Drunk With Passion"
Longtime Palomino Robert Kidney all but steals the show with "Begin To Return",
an exquisitely ethereal piece that lingers in the mind
like a whispered secret.
1991 review of Robert and Jack Kidney's European Tour
The Brothers Blue, Robert and Jack Kidney,
two American brothers normally operating in the obscure 15 60 75
(alias The Numbers Band)...twenty-one years the best kept secret in Northern Ohio.
Their music could be described as Jerry Lee Lewis on mars,
an avant-guard James Brown.
New York Review Of Records
1991 review of 15 60 75 "20"
The Numbers Band twenty year retro CD spans two decades and offers just a
glimmer of their magic. If I owned a record label, this band would be a
household name by now.
Live performance review
Snaking sax lines and guitar bursts that might have come out of John Lee Hooker's
sound hole after a night of sipping shoe polish turn a nondescript Ohio bar into
a tin-walled barrel house of the sub-conscious.