Various Artists

Right On! Vol. 5: More Break Beats & Grooves From the Atlantic & Warner Vaults

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The Right On! series certainly isn't the first to assemble a batch of original recordings later plumbed and plundered to create the foundations of latter-day hip-hop and dance tracks, but it's one of the best. And just because the material originated with major labels Warner Bros. and Atlantic doesn't mean you should expect the expected, either -- few of these recordings have been the subject of contemporary reissue before now, and while their drum tracks, basslines, and the occasional horn break may be familiar, chances are you're hearing the originals for the first time. The fifth volume in the series is arguably the strongest yet, thanks in large part to its extraordinary diversity -- spanning from avant-garde jazz improvisers Air ("Mr. Man") to funk maestros Young-Holt Unlimited ("The Creeper") to Woodstock footnote Sweetwater ("It Ain't Easy"), the set nevertheless hangs together as a complete listening experience, not because the songs are built on the kinds of funky beats, sinuous keyboards, and killer breaks that DJs love to reclaim but because each track is much more than just the sum of those parts.

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