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by Chuck Eddy

August 21, 2013

Ultimate Breakbeats, Pt. 2

by Chuck Eddy  |  August 21, 2013

The mission here is to gather up songs that appeared in the apparently bootlegged vinyl compilation series called Ultimate Breaks & Beats. The original LPs, which came out in more than two dozen volumes between 1986 and 1991, were used by hip-hop producers and DJs mining for archetypal and often super-rare beats, especially drum breaks.

This playlist was built from selections initially appearing on the UBB volumes issued under Street Beat Records serial numbers SBR 506 through SBR 513. The songs span a little more than a decade: from early '70s tracks by big funky names The Meters, James Brown (limited to two choices so he won't completely upstage the competition), Funkadelic and The Jackson 5 to early '80s curios by indie-label New York City post-punk/post-funk combos E.S.G. and Liquid Liquid, the latter of whose composition "Cavern" famously served as the foundation for Grandmaster Flash's "White Lines."

In between, there's plenty of '70s black music: Washington D.C. go-go god Chuck Brown's early group the Soul Searchers doing their soon ubiquitously sampled "Ashley's Roachclip"; Chicago Gangsters' mysterious 1973 "Gangster Boogie"; lost-and-founds by Ohio funk journeyman Junie Morrison and Herbie Hancock's jazz-funk-rock backing crew the Headhunters; lots of obscure disco-era productions by borderline unknowns (Eastside Connection, Pleasure, The Whole Darn Family, John Davis and the Monster Orchestra).

But perhaps what's most interesting about this set is all the hard guitar rock -- not just fusion explorers the Mahavishnu Orchestra, but butt-swinging metal from Billy Squier, Babe Ruth, future Run-D.M.C. collaborators Aerosmith, Mountain (whose live 1972 "Long Red" has been sampled by everybody from EPMD to A$AP Rocky) and Thin Lizzy. "Around the bay, they got some crazy DJ, send you right out to heaven," the latter band's Phil Lynott rapped way back in 1976. How did he know?

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