Wednesday, April 2, 2008

The Winstons – "Color Him Father"

YEAH! Got my own Amen break!

I picked this up a couple weeks ago on a whim. In a way this record is one of the last possibilities for bargain-hunting in the era of Internet-induced liquidity in the used record marketplace. If you search for it on GEMM, you'll still find a couple of people who don't know what it is selling it for about two bucks. Then there's a couple dozen other copies for like twenty. Get it while you still can.

What we've got here, quite simply, is arguably the most oft-sampled drum break in the history of recorded percussion. It leaves the more well-known Funky Drummer in the dust. If you've ever spent much time listening to 90s jungle, you'll recognise the beat immediately, particularly that jarring cymbal crash in the fourth bar of the breakdown. In fact, the entire jungle/drum'n'bass genre is based almost entirely upon this beat and some reggae basslines.

It's not worth trying to explain in too much depth here because it's been done so much better by others. The Wikipedia entry is a good place to start, but the definitive history remains Nate Harrison's 2004 audiodoc Can I Get an Amen? There's a video of it here, and if you're in any way interested in the history of dance music, the legal implications of sampling or the dissemination of creative ideas, it'll be the most productive 18 minutes of your day.

You can even download your own copy of the break here. Now go make a remix.

Oh yeah, and the original song's a b-side. The a-side is a terrific little slice of classic 60s soul featuring a touching lyrical tribute to a caring stepfather. Oddly enough, while this track turns up on a bunch of compilations (and deservedly so; it was a big hit at the time), I can't find the b-side available anywhere. Go figure.

Buy it... on vinyl.

From my deck to you: The Winstons – "Color Him Father" and "Amen, Brother"

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"The only thing better than food & football is maybe Brett Favre."
-John Madden on Thanksgiving while on "Mike & Mike In The Morning"