Various Artists

Super Breaks Presents Stax Breaks

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The Super Breaks 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 on this particular volume originated not with some obscure soul label but with the mighty Stax doesn't mean you should expect the expected, either. Few of these 19 cuts enjoyed the same kind of chart impact as the label's oft-anthologized hits, and while their drum tracks, basslines, and the occasional horn break may be familiar, chances are the originals are still ripe for rediscovery. Super Breaks Presents Stax Breaks 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 -- not to mention that the fun of sets like this one is (re)discovering a given beat, break, or sample and experiencing that moment of recognition when music's past and present merge. Highlights include Otis Redding and Carla Thomas' "Tramp," the Dramatics' "The Devil Is Dope," the Bar-Kays' "In the Hole," and Steve Cropper's "Crop Dustin'."