Outfoxing bootleggers is nothing new in the music industry.
In 1991, Frank Zappa hijacked a gang of illegally recorded concerts that had been
released on underground labels and reissued them on his own via Rhino as part
of his famous Beat the Boots box
sets. Bob Dylan followed a similar trajectory, cueing off the illicit
activities of such infamous bootleg outfits as Scorpio, with his critically
acclaimed Bootleg Series, now in its
8th volume. And then you had Pearl Jam’s scheme in 2000, virtually
flooding the market with quality soundboards of every show from their national
and world tours and essentially undermining the entire bootleg business model.
However, in the realm of the other type of bootlegging
commonly known in urban music circles as mixtapes, such means of combat have
yet to be instilled in the war against unauthorized recordings and/or
duplication, even in this era of the download. That is, until now. Echoing the earlier
sentiments of Messrs Zappa and Zimmerman, the widely respected Chicago-based crate
digging connoisseur imprint Numero Group
delivers Eccentric Breaks and Beats, a
street tape that distills the label’s seven-year, seventy-release output down
to a 40-minute megamix that was only previously available on the black market. As
it turned out, the culprit was the mysterious production team Shoes, who in the
past had crafted popular underground mixes of Al Green and Miles Davis among
others. The Numero Group folks were
big fans of many of the those mixtapes, yet regardless of their appreciation of
the Shoes crew’s previous efforts, the label nevertheless seized the plates of
the mix from the pressing plant and turned it into Eccentric Breaks and Beats, utilizing its existence as a de facto
imprint anthology in the grand tradition of those great old Street Beat
compilations from the mid-1980s.
It runs the gamut of all the key Numero releases in the
time it takes many to travel to and from work on any given morning. Serious Numero
Group fans will undoubtedly be able to pinpoint cuts from
their favorite titles interwoven throughout this continuous blend of grooves.
But whether or not you are a scholar of the label’s release schedule is
irrelevant, as Eccentric Breaks and Beats will certainly float the boat of any educated fan of funk, soul and leftfield
R&B – while providing a fair warning to any sucka DJ looking to turn a
profit behind this fine label’s back.
A” RON HART