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Brainfreezebreaks CD coverIf you ever wondered where DJs and rappers got their funky drummer beats they sample, then Brainfreeze Breaks is a good place to start to find out. Brainfreeze Breaks compiles a bevy of rare and obscure funk 45s from the 60s and 70s, all of these 45s were used in the Brainfreeze DJ mix by DJ Shadow and Cut Chemist and are gathered here in their full length versions. What makes this funk compilation so interesting, is the fact that it is because DJ Shadow and Cut Chemist used them in a mix set that they became sought after slabs of funk. Every track here oozes with a funky break which make them natural and ideal for sampling in a mix set or sampled for a song, and it's up to us to sift through these tracks for our own personal favorites.

My funkiest favorites found here include Odetta's Hit or Miss, Eddie Bo & Inez Cheatham's Lover & a Friend, Alvin Cash's Keep on Dancing, and The Vibrettes' Humpty Dump. Yes, that is folk singer Odetta Gordon singing a way down funky tune called Hit or Miss, which is about individualism and being yourself, with some bass that will make your speakers shake. Eddie Bo & Inez Cheatham's Lover & a Friend is an amazing "shoop shoop" brand of duet, with some lip smacking snare hits on the drum - this song was sampled by Luscious Jackson. Alvin Cash's Keep on Dancing is a flicking soul piece reminiscent of Archie Bell and the Drell's Tighten Up, and was heard in Queen Latifah's Dance 4 Me. The Vibrettes' Humpty Dump is girl group funk with a cool laid back New Orleans vibe, a real groove keeper.

Funky favorite instrumentals include Salt's Hung Up, Tony Alvon & The Belairs' Sexy Coffe Pot, The Soul Lifters' Hot, Funky, and Sweaty and The Original Soul Senders' Soul Brother Testify. Salt's Hung Up is a funky Choctaw Records workout with some fatback drums. Tony Alvon & The Belairs' Sexy Coffe Pot was sampled by many people - including DJ Shadow, Cypress Hill, Eric B and Rakim, as well as being covered by Breakestra on the Stones Throw label - it's a laidback groove with grunts and groans throughout.The Soul Lifters' Hot, Funky, and Sweaty is just that - and has a killer guitar riff and organ line which slaps along to the bass and drum breaks. The Original Soul Senders' Soul Brother Testify sounds like it was recorded in some soul brother's basement which is equal doses soul and testifying and has killer saxophone that would make King Curtis proud.

There are a handful of funky novelty songs which are really great including Women's Liberation by The Singing Principal, Giorgio's Tears, The Mystic Moods' Cosmic Sea and the 7-Eleven Dance the Slurp. Women's Liberation has the singer going from bossing his woman around until the singer changes his tune when she cries divorce, alimony and divorce lawyers. Giorgio's Tears (Giorgio Moroder, perhaps?) sounds like Italian horror soundtrack music. The Mystic Moods are known for their easy listening albums in the 60s and 70s but weren't afraid to get funky, like in their song Cosmic Sea which has a nice funky ebb and flow and is a real sought after gem. The 7-Eleven Dance the Slurp single is what started this whole thing to begin with - it's a 45 single put out by the convenient store in honor of its Slurpee drinks and includes people drinking Slurpees in the song set to a funky piece of music. Great stuff, and one of the most fun and best tunes here.

Finally, there are two great songs dedicated to the art of the DJ worth a mention - Fried Chicken's Funky DJ and Rueben Bell's Superjock - both praise the work of the DJ - whom really could save you life, as these two songs testify. To read more about the songs included on Brainfreeze Breaks, I highly recommend checking out this website.

---Patrick, September 30, 2003