Various Artists

Super Breaks: Essential Funk, Soul, & Jazz Samples and Breakbeats

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Like the rest of the Super Breaks series, the first volume is ostensibly built around records that have been sampled by hip-hoppers, but can really be enjoyed by anyone looking for some quality obscure soul funk. The 20 tracks here span the late 1960s to the late 1970s, balanced between little-known tracks by noted artists (Jackie Wilson, Isaac Hayes, the Blackbyrds), mid-level soul artists (Syl Johnson, the Emotions, the Detroit Emeralds, the Soul Children, Fatback Band), and non-hitmakers, with a couple of actual well-known cuts (Joe Simon's "Drowning in the Sea of Love" and Lowell Fulson's "Tramp") to boot. It's the variety and quality that make this and its companion volumes worthy standouts, particularly in a genre that wasn't (as of 2000) over-mined to death. You have sultry female-sung grinders, hot instrumentals, soul-jazz crossovers (Cannonball Adderley's "Walk Tall," Burning Spear's flute-motored "S.O.U.L."), go-go music in the Ramsey Lewis mold (Googie Rene Combo's "Smokey Joe's La La"), even cheesy then-futuristic synth funk (Jean Jacques Perrey's oft-sampled "Eva"). It's not all killer; some of the later-vintage offerings are more in the standard soul-turning-to-disco form. It's one of the better anthologies to start with, though, if you're looking to collect stuff in this style beyond the norm. [This U.K. import is not available for sale in North America.]

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