Sunday 12 August 2007

Why we love break 45s

There ain't no feeling like copping a drum break on a 45! Whether because it's more of a concentrated hit on your breakbeat senses than an LP, or the fact that small is beautiful, all I know is that I love the feeling it gives me. I regularly play a 45 set when we play out, and yes it does take more skill in ensuring seamless music for the partygoers/dancers than using 12" vinyl. But that feeling I get from these records is definitely passed on to the crowd. Many sevens are just short of 3 minutes long, and I guess that a concentrated burst of good music like this is very enticing. Plus, of course, many of these 7"s are much cheaper to purchase than the corresponding LP.
So now I find myself hunting down dope 7"s from all genres in search of the ultimate artillery. Like arrows for the quiver, or bullets for my 9mm, I need to know I have that knockout punch available when it's most needed!
Below are a few of our favorite breaks on 7", many of which featured on Lenny Roberts' (RIP) unforgettable Ultimate Breaks & Beats series from the 80's. His legendary Street Beats label from Castle Hill in the Bronx gave Hip Hop deejays and producers access to the rarest of break records back when digging was still in it's infancy. Hence his UBB series was pivotal in shaping the way Hip Hop records sounded throughout the late 80's. Many of the breaks are very short in length, so Lenny even had Louis Flores edit some of the original recordings to extend the drum breaks for the compilations. This gave the deejay more wax to play with, but often freaked them out when they eventually found an original pressing and discovered the true break was so tiny in some cases.

We have provided a soundclip of the break in case you are not familiar with it. We hope you enjoy them and feel the need to search out a few killer 7"s next time you're out digging.

BANBARRA - Shack Up / Shack Up pt.2 (1975 United artists)

If it's seriously hard drums you want this next single is a stonker! From the whistle blowing start of "Shack Up pt. 2" onwards, the drums are crisp and heavy, and the pattern is head-nod to the point of being almost jerky. But pound for pound these are some lovely drums to sample - either separately, or as a tight loop. Possibly the most classic use of these drums was by Divine Styler on his 1988/9 single "Ain't Sayin' Nothin'" on Rhyme Syndicate Records, but more recently used on Gnarls Barkeley's smash hit "Crazy".
Pete Rock reputedly once said that he used to add feint "Shack Up" drum noises to his drum programs in order to fatten up other drum noises, and on hearing you can understand why. The drums are so prominent in the mix of this classic breakbeat, and the kicks sound low and wide. Other Hip Hop acts loving the Banbarra sound include 3rd Bass, De la Soul, Del the Funky Homosapien, GangStarr, Public Enemy and I can't possibly leave out Stetsasonic who incorporated the drums into "Talkin' All That Jazz" over a Lonnie Liston Smith bassline extracted from "Expansions". Lovely!

soundclip coming soon

BAD BASCOMB - Black Grass (1972 Paramount Records)
A cross between a funk joint and a country & western hoe-down, Bascomb delivers an all-time classic here, sampled by Special Ed & Doug E Fresh and even Wu-Tang. The plucky banjo and vibrant fiddle don't distract you from the funky drumming throughout this track, and then the drums hit solo with a 3-note breakdown! Great for two copies rocking the stabs. The drum break itself has a low key shuffle feel about it with its prominent high hats, loose kicks & snares with some rhythmic handclaps added. Bascomb urges "Everybody - got to get some!" and the rest is breakbeat history. Below I have provided a snippet of the track and a clip of how the drums sound when looped up. Enjoy!
Black Grass
Black Grass loop

CAPTAIN FREAK & THE LUNACYCLE BAND - Whatever Happened to Superman (1974 Jamie Record Co)
I could buy this record just for the label - a fishbone with the the words "Phil-LA of Soul" above it. Genius! The bizarre artist name was also an instant attraction - it has to be one of the most ridiculous I've heard. This 45 was a blind purchase, and with this 45 I wasn't to be disappointed. I had never heard anyone play this track when I found it, so to hear the incredible uptempo drum break intro almost knocked me off my feet. Feisty footwork on the kicks and snappy two-tone snares. Damn I think I had the SP1200 turned on within seconds of first hearing it, so eager I was to get the beats rockin'!
I know very little about this record, or who has used the drums,(maybe you can tell me??) but I've since learned that it does appear on one of the Batteria for Beatheads comps.
Whatever Happened...

DAVE CORTEZ & THE MOON PEOPLE - Happy Soul (With a Hook) (Speed Records)
A very much "in-vogue" record of the moment since Premo flipped the beat for Christina Aguillera, and now demanding a fairly high price with collectors, this killer Boogaloo track has beats fit for the purpose to say the least. It's such a suprise that no-one used this for a hit record earlier. The drum breaks are tougher than tough, and have the obligatory stab at the beginning - what more could a hip hop producer ask for? It even breaks down more than once, with different stabs, then continues with some bugged-out Dave Cortez organ riffs. But when the awesome bare drum loop hits home, it sets your spine into tingle mode! RAW!
So who are The Moon People and why is it "with a hook"? I'll try and explain.....
The mid-60s saw rock 'n roll and soul music dominate the charts. However the Latino neighborhoods of New York City took rock and soul and infused it with Cuban and Puerto Rican styles with lyrics in English, and created Boogaloo. During this time, The Moon People (originally called Los Astronautas but this name coincided with an existing artist) made an album for the label Speed, but when the LP was released in 1968, it made zero impression on the charts. Speed took one of the songs, "Happy Soul," and added some ill organ solos by Dave Cortez. In late 1968 this single was released, credited to Dave "Baby" Cortez and The Moon People and now entitled "Happy Soul (with a Hook)".
Happy Soul with a Hook
Happy Soul loop

ALBERT KING - Cold Feet (Stax Records)

When Diamond D said "I took a blues break and I broke it!" - this is the record he was talking about. In '89, Strong City Records released Ultimate Force's "I'm Not Playin'" hit which saw the introduction of Diamond D to the record-buying public (see dope Hip Hop 7"s post below). Rather then use a typical funk or James Brown loop, he and Master Rob decided to flip up Albert King's heavy blues track shown here, and to awesome effect. The track also became synonymous in later years when the "random" genre blew the fuck up, and this hype lead to the Ultimate Force unreleased LP dropping earlier this year.
Albert King provides us with some ill guitar licks and snappy drums in this track, with his woeful tale of recording this music, and even moans how "no-one has had a hit outta this studio since Sam & Dave". Now that's the blues for ya!
I've added a clip below for your lstening pleasure, and also a quick loop which demonstrates how easy the Hip Hop classic was created from this funky Stax joint. Props to Diamond D, he spotted that shit first!

Cold Feet
Cold Feet loop

AREA CODE 615 - Stone Fox Chase (1970 Polydor)

Possibly the funkiest harmonica ever, and a percussively excellent track. This original B-Boy break from '70 has provided the backdrop for several artists over the years incl. Mantronix & MC Tee, but most notably used for Kool G Rap & DJ Polo's "Trilogy of Terror". The track is taken from the Nashville band's "Trip In The Country" LP.
Simple yet funky shakers introduce the track, with the funky mouth-organ riff continuing throughout. The drum and percussion solo comes early on this one, and continues for several similar yet slightly different bars. At one point the percussion changes and some soft vibes bring an oriental feel to the track.
STONE FOX CHASE also became the theme music for the BBC's "OLD GREY WHISTLE TEST" music show in late 1971. A very easy 7" to find beacuse of its widespread release on Polydor, this funky 45 also features a mellow sample on the flipside as used by The Grassroots on Conception records (Props to Mr. Attic and Mr. Supreme). Enjoy the snippet below and check out my Mantronix-style flip on the loop! LOL
Stone Fox Chase
Stone Fox Chase loop

Z.Z. HILL - I Think I'd Do It (1971 Mankind Records)
A popular record amongst old school beatheads and more recently revered as the drum loop utilised on the Paul C produced classic "Pelon" by 360 degrees. If you check your old school tapes this one appears regularly for good reason - a fidgetty drum roll intro leads into a burst of head nod drums ripe for the picking. One hell of a guitar stab immediately follows the drums and the record just screams at you...."use me for doubles!". No wonder this appeared on the UBB series - it's great for b-boys to get down to, and just as nice for MCs to rock their shit over. But for some reason it always sounds fresh when I hear this tune, unlike some overkilled breaks which can be tiring to hear again. Taken from Z.Z Hill's "Brand New" LP from 1971, the Texas-born Blues & Soul legend has given us a classic!
I found my copy on 45rpm from a local boot sale for £1.00, so it's out there to be found. The bright green and yellow label should help your sunday-morning eyes spot one amongst the piles of dusty rock and pop sevens!
Also used on Eric B and Rakim's "Eric B is on the Cut", Ghostface Killah's "Winter Warz", Jungle Brothers' "Good Ole Hype Shit" and even NWA on "Something Like That". Bonafied classic shit!

Do It
Do It loop


billskillz said...

Dope site my Daily Diggin Brothers.. Love this 45. Premo really freaked that track for Christine's Ain't no other man..

Keep those breaks comin... said...

Great site. I just fell onto it, I don't even know how. I would love to share links with you guys. More of this is need for hip hop because of the culture's lack of balance. Keep up the good work!

Anonymous said...

Now I know I'm late to the party, but I caught your site thanks to another crate digger...

I had to comment on that Superman record. I found a copy of the same title from the same band released on Jamie back in 1971. It didn't sound anything like the piece of funky heat that you posted. That Black Grass cut is also white hot. I have the LP, but not all of it is as good as the title track.
I will be subscribing to the feed to keep up with your exploits, it will certainly be to my benefit since I am also one of the many who dig for Funk and Soul 45s. Keep digging!

Peace and blessings

Daily Diggers said...

Word up Bill - hope it's all gravy with you my heavy-diggin' brother!

Many thanks Treypeezy & Vincent the Soul Chef (I love the name) for your comments. Vincent please feel free to drop some of your finds and we can share notes bro.
I hope you enjoy the posts - We have lots more funkiness to come.

Kid Dyno & the Beat Detective -Daily Diggers

CEE said...

Back in '87, I was in love with "Ashley's Roachclip" and wanted the original, not the edited version from the UBB series, so I called Streetbeat Records and asked Lenny about it and found out that he had two or three copies of all of his records and he sold me one of his copies of Chuck Brown and the Soul Searchers' album with that (I forgot the name, it is in storage right now)for $10! Though I never kept in touch with him for digging purposes, I was sadened to find out that he had passed away w while back. RIP, Lenny.

Daily Diggers said...

ah man, now that's a HIP HOP story we love to hear.

Without Breakbeat Lenny, hip hop music would NOT have sounded the way it did in 88, 89, and 90. He is partly responsible for that golden era sound, cuz producers weren't always sampling OG LP's.

A big RIB to Lenny (Rest In Beats)