Big news for hip-hop aficionados:  Harmless Records is continuing its celebration of its 15th anniversary by releasing a new edition of their classic sample-tracks compilation The Breaks.  It offers two CDs’ worth of full-length versions of a variety of tracks sampled by hip-hop artists over the years, covering soul, funk and jazz as it serves up all manner of rhythmic invention.  This set will be released on March 28th – read on for all the beat-grabbin’ details…

THE BREAKS

Original B Boy Street Funk & Block Party Classics

RELEASED MARCH 28TH

HARMLESS


Sometime in the 1970s in the South Bronx a man had an idea, and that idea would change the way that music was made, and would spawn a genre that would become the most prevalent in popular culture, encompassing not just music but art, clothing and dancing. The man’s name was DJ Kool Herc and the idea was the merry-go-round. That was a treat for his hard core dancers, the b-boys who waited for certain points in the records before going wild on the dancefloor. Those parts where called the breaks (that was what the b stood for) and Herc thought it would be a good idea to have a segment of his dance where he just played those parts of the records and those alone. It was a revelation and it was the birth of hip-hop. Others followed and refined the skill, most notably in the early days Grandmaster Flash and Afrika Bambaataa.

For these early pioneers records became an important currency. They would work two copies of the same record, repeating and lengthening the break by switching with lightning pace between two decks raising whichever block-party, dance or club that they were playing at to heights of excitement and frenzy. When they begun to create a show by adding dancers and MCs all the basic elements of rap music where in place.

“The Breaks” – 15th Anniversary Crystal Edition is quite simply one of the most comprehensive collections of original break-beats and it’s an essential collection for all lovers of the original funk and soul samples which have since been utilised by thousands of acts ever since. Many of the tracks on this album are currently unavailable elsewhere else and, as a result, demand for them has built up via the new generations of producers and creative samplers who want to get their hands on the original source material, including such highly in-demand and sought-after tracks like “The Champ” – The Mohawks, “It’s A New Day” – Skull Snaps, “Don’t Change Your Love” – Five Stairsteps & Cubie, “Bra” & “The Message”– Cymande, “Tramp” – Lowell Fulsom, “Good Ole Music” – Funkadelic, “Run Nigger” – Last Poets and many more.

In addition to the above, we’ve also included a number of later tracks which have since become highly collectable in break beat circles and yet collectors still struggle to find them on CD in 2011. Gems like Liquid Liquid’s “Cavern” (where Grandmaster Melle Mel’s “White Lines” bass-line came from), Manzel’s “Space Funk”, Taana Gardner’s “Heartbeat” and Vaughan Mason’s “Jammin’ Big Guitar” being just four examples of incredibly hard-to-find gems which are almost impossible to find on CD….until now!

Tracklisting

CD 1
1. The Champ The Mohawks 2.38
2. It’s A New Day The Skullsnaps 3.03
3. Don’t Change Your Love Five Stairsteps 2.48
4. I’m Gonna Get You Joe Quarterman 2.52
5. Same Old Thing The Meters 2.45
6. Space Funk Manzel 3.39
7. Cavern Liquid Liquid 5.20
8. Heartbeat (Party Version) Taana Gardner 9.48
9. Jammin’ Big Guitar Vaughan Mason 6.08
10. I Got My Mind Made Up Instant Funk 9.46
11. Dazz Brick 5.36
12. Sing Sing Gaz 7.15
13. Get Down With The Philly Sound MFSB 4.29
14. Bra Cymande 5.03
15. Love And Happiness Al Green 5.02 Total 76.40

CD2
1. I’m So Glad You’re Mine Al Green 2.52
2. Here I Go Again Jean Plum 2.27
3. You Know How To Make Me Feel So Good Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes 5.16
4. Hercules Aaron Neville 4.11
5. Person To Person Average White Band 3.36
6. Cry Together The O’Jays 5.26
7. Hurry Up This Way Again The Stylistics 5.53
8. I Hate I Walked Away Syl Johnson 3.26
9. Tramp Lowell Fullsom 3.05
10. Stick Up Honey Cone 3.01
11. Soulful Football Willie Henderson 3.47
12. The Message Cymande 4.19
13. Good Ole Music Funkadelic 8.04
14. Run Ni**er Last Poets 1.10
15. Kool Is Back Funk Incorporated 8.15
16. Groovin’ Willie Mitchell 3.00 Total 68.17