Cult Cargo: Belize City Boil-Up
(Numero Group ***1/2)

Some of 2005's tastiest musical revelations came from the intrepid Chicago reissue imprint Numero Group, such as their Yellow Pills: Prefill compilation of obscure American power-pop.

On Belize City Boil-Up, the label gathers homegrown treasures that made the small Central American country of Belize groove like the Caribbean equivalent of Memphis or Detroit during the '60s and '70s. Scene kingpins Lord Rhaburn and the Harmonettes were pouring on the guitar fuzz and horn stabs as if Stax and Motown had deployed them to spread the soul gospel.

Artists such as the Professionals looked across the Caribbean to Jamaica for inspiration, coming away with a harmony-rich reggae style heard on their cover of the O'Jays' "Back Stabbers." It's a sweet deal, but their roadhouse R&B treatment of the "Theme From the Godfather" is truly an offering you can't refuse.

- Patrick Berkery