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March 6, 2001



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 ForMen > gear > These Are the Breaks 4: Uptempo

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These Are the Breaks 4: Uptempo

Some are famous and some are obscure but all of these breaks are pushing the BPMs.

March 6, 2001

There's just no getting tired of breaks. It's pretty amazing to hear these drummers working it out on old soul 45s and funk tracks. And there's something about the combination of tight skills, vintage mics, and worn vinyl that makes them sound one hundred times better than any newly recorded drum session.

All of the beats in this installment of These Are the Breaks are what I like to call uptempo. They don't necessarily have to be fast (although many are) but they're all super rocking, many with vocalists yelping encouragement to the drummer. Give the drummer some, indeed.

Remember, if you try to download the wave and it shows up as an MP3, adjust the "Save As..." setting in the download dialog box. Your media player may want to download everything as an MP3.

And now... These Are the Uptempo Breaks!

Song: "Get Into Something"
Artist: The Isley Brothers
Hear It: WAV, MP3
You probably only know The Isley Brothers from their radio hits "It's Your Thing" and "Love the One You're With," but these guys also knew how to funk it up. "Get Into Something" is seven minutes of amphetamine-amped goodness, culminating in this amazing break. Hold onto something before you start the download, I'm telling you.

Song: "Bongolia"
Artist: The Incredible Bongo Band
Hear It: WAV, MP3
Jamaica's mighty Incredible Bongo Band is responsible for "Apache," perhaps the best five minutes ever laid onto wax. That's not all they're good for though. Pretty much every track on the Bongo Rock album is a keeper, including this one, "Bongolia." Trainspotters will recognize the break from both the Jedi Knights' "Air Raid Over Outer Bongolia" and "Climbatize" by the Prodigy.

Song: "I Wouldn't Change a Thing"
Artist: Coke Escovedo
Hear It: WAV, MP3
Disco breaks don't get as much play as they should, with a few exceptions like Gaz's "Sing Sing" and Coke Escovedo's "I Wouldn't Change a Thing." This one is real tight, with chugging hi-hats and snappy snares. Great for mid-tempo and house tracks alike. Trivia: Coke was Pete Escovedo's little brother.

Song: "Conga"
Artist: Lafayette Afro Rock Band
Hear It: WAV, MP3
The Lafayette Afro Rock Band weren't very well known in their native US, and for a very good reason -- they relocated to Paris in the early 70s and hit it big over there. "Conga" is an oft-sampled funk opus, full of great organ and lots of enthusiastic shouting. The Lafayette Afro Rock Band also cut the track "Darkest Night," which had the saxophone intro that both Public Enemy and Wreckx N Effects used. Show 'em whatcha got.

Song: "Do the Funky Penguin"
Artist: Rufus Thomas
Hear It: WAV, MP3
The "Funky Penguin" break is so hip-hop, you don't need to change it one bit. Just loop it and freestyle your ass off over it. Check the grunts and the piano if you don't believe me.

Song: "Itch and Scratch Part 2"
Artist: Rufus Thomas
Hear It: WAV, MP3
Rufus Thomas had a long-ass career, spanning four decades and hitting musical points from soul to R&B; to funk. His two part "Itch and Scratch" track has a few superb little breaks, including this one with the hype laugh.

Song: "Jam on the Groove"
Artist: Ralph MacDonald
Hear It: WAV, MP3
Session percussionist Ralph MacDonald was heavily influenced by calypso and jazz music, and it shows on "Jam on the Groove," his funky synth-filled hit from the 1976 album Sound of a Drum. Deee-Lite is the most famous band to use "Jam on the Groove" (in "Groove is in the Heart") but once you know it, you start hearing it everywhere.

Song: "Disco Nights (Rock Freak)"
Artist: G.Q.
Hear It: WAV, MP3
It's disco, it's hot, and it rocks the spot. Loop this, throw it over a tough 909 beat, and filter the crap out of it. A guaranteed hit.

Song: "Yellow Sunshine"
Artist: Yellow Sunshine
Hear It: WAV, MP3
They may not have been the most imaginative band of 1973 -- the band, the album, and the song were all called the same thing -- but damn, could they play. Love that bass drop at the beginning.

Song: "Give it Up or Turnit a Loose"
Artist: James Brown
Hear It: WAV, MP3
I couldn't let an article on uptempo breaks go without mentioning James Brown, the man who single-handedly cranked up the funk with "Papa's Got a Brand New Bag." It's "Give it Up or Turnit a Loose," however, that has the bouncy break. Clap your hands, stomp your feet, and get in the jungle groove. Huh!

Check out other These Are the Breaks articles:

Adam Douglas gives it up and turns it loose every chance he gets

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