Mr. Thing

Strange Breaks & Mr. Thing, Vol. 3

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The first two volumes of Strange Breaks & Mr. Thing were released in 2008 and 2009. Released a few years later, volume three came as a pleasant surprise. As with the first two volumes -- and with many of the BBE label's other DJ-oriented sets -- the third volume consists of a mix and a second disc of the tracks presented in collector-friendly unmixed form. Mr. Thing sticks mostly to '70s selections here, setting the mood with Disco Orchestral's "Do It Again" (1976), a sleazy extended interlude ("Come on, baby...") that owes a bit to Isaac Hayes' "Do Your Thing." Two standouts involve production from H.B. Barnum: "La Da Da" (1975), uplifting big-band funk from Dynamic Concept, and a sparse version of "Nature Boy" (1970), recorded by Sharon Cash. Best of all is "Giving Up," released on Sussex in 1973 by Faith, Hope & Charity's Zulema (also a highlight of François K's Choice: A Collection of Classics). A fair portion will appeal strictly to diggers and those who have exhausted the soul/funk basics and are into curiosities and oddball marginalia. Take Amral's Trinidad Cavaliers, who contribute a rugged steel-drum version of Ripple's "I Don't Know What It Is, But It Sure Is Funky," or the tripped-out instrumentals credited to James Asher and Özel Türkbaş. Mr. Thing's interjections and turntable tricks are unobtrusive; transitions are frequently eased with subtle scratching and/or sampled maniacal laughter. The unmixed disc contains a few tracks not present in the 25-minute shorter mix: the Internationals' "Give a Damn," the Graham Walker Sound's "Crossroads," Chuck Jackson's "Candy," Spunk's Seawind-with-synthesizers "La Bimini," and critically undervalued guitarist David T. Walker's instrumental version of Bob Dylan's "Lay Lady Lay."

Track Listing - Disc 2

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 3:59
2 3:08
3 3:12
4 4:04
feat: James Asher
feat: Dum-Dum
8 3:22
feat: Zulema
10 6:58
feat: Smiling Hard
12 3:20
13 3:46
14 2:24
15 3:17
feat: Sharon Cash
feat: Spunk
18 3:58
feat: Ozel Turkbas
blue highlight denotes track pick