James Brown

Greatest Breakbeats

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James Brown's records have been sampled innumerable times; in fact, according to the liner notes of this two-CD compilation, he's "the most sampled artist in history." This anthology brings together a couple dozen of his most sampled tracks, spanning 1966-1976. It's a quirky concept for a comp, as it's not a grouping of his best cuts, biggest hits, or even funkiest material, but some amalgam of all of those things. If you're not dedicated to tracking down the sources of samples you might have heard elsewhere, you'd be better off with a number of other Brown collections. Taken on its own merits, however, it's a pretty good survey of some of Brown's better material from the era, with an expected bias toward his most rhythmically driven funk workouts. That does tend to mean it gets more monotonous than the best Brown anthologies, in part because there are a good number of rather homogenous post-1970 cuts. Still, some very popular Brown hits are here, like "Cold Sweat," "Sex Machine," "Make It Funky," "It's a Man's, Man's, Man's World," "Say It Loud (I'm Black and I'm Proud)," "Get on the Good Foot," and "The Payback." There's also room for some singles that were pretty big R&B hits in their day, but aren't at the forefront of most fans' minds these days, like "Get Up, Get into It, Get Involved," "Soul Power," "My Thang," and "I Got Ants in My Pants." And there are a few items that are just plain obscure, like "Blind Man Can See It" (from the Black Caesar album). And if you doubt how often these cuts have been sampled, the liner notes set you straight, with fine-print listings of literally hundreds of cuts that have drawn from the music on this set.

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