BLIND ALLEY – ALTERED TAPES REMIX

Folks know that “Blind Alley” is one of my all-time favorite breaks.1 Just wanted to say that Altered Tapes does a killer little edit, apparently by remixing the original multi-track stems with a little BDK thrown in for good measure.

In fact, it might be the very first example of how I learned what a “break” (as in sample) was. ↩

BLIND ALLEY: THE FLIPS

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Remember that “Blind Alley” challenge I put to folks about a few weeks back?

Here is a running tally of our entries:

First was an entry from TBird of TBird and the Breaks.

TBird: Blind Alley Flip

Then came a flip from 2 Mello:

2 Mello: Blind Alley Flip

First off, I like how both flips really laser in on the big horns on the song; whereas most uses of “Blind Alley” have typically focused on the opening bars, they’re looking at other key moments in the tune […]

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THE “BLIND ALLEY” CHALLENGE

Given that we’ve been talking about the various flips of “Blind Alley,” we figured: why not see what other creative steps people can take to work with this?

Here’s the original stereo version of the song:

The Emotions: Blind Alley

For beatmakers out there: what can you do with it that hasn’t already been done?

Submit your track here and we’ll try to put up the best ones for public feedback in a couple of weeks.

BREAKING DOWN “BLIND ALLEY” PART TWO

In Part One, Matthew Africa and I broke down The Emotions’ “Blind Alley” based on its production and arrangement. For Part Two, we look at how it’s been used as a sample source. (My comments are in plain text, Africa’s are in italics).

In general when producers categorize samples, they often break them down into either “loops” or “breaks”. A “loop” is any sample that’s repeated end-to-end to create a continuous pattern. This is frequently done with basslines, riffs, drum parts or even a whole arrangement, but a loop can be anything that’s repeated. By contrast, […]

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BREAKING DOWN “BLIND ALLEY” PART 1

The Emotions’ “Blind Alley” is one of my favorite Stax/Volt songs of all time and it’s been nearly eight years since I’ve written about it. I’ve been meaning to revisit it and do up something more elaborate after seeing how it got reissued in that Never To Be Forgotten boxset I just wrote about.

It’s been ages since I had done a post over at Soul Sides/Sliced and I decided to put “Blind Alley” through the treatment, joined by Matthew Africa.

Check it out: “Breaking Down ‘Blind Alley’”

In Part 2, Africa […]

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A RETURN TO SOUL SIDES / SLICED

Five years ago, I was trained in a digital humanities platform known as Scalar. Among the things you can do with it is to annotate media files so that the annotations effectively pop-up during the playback. I thought this was an incredibly cool tool and at the time, I used it to create three “breakdown” posts and invited some friends to comment:

The Emotions’ “Blind Alley” with an assist from the late Matthew Africa Sly and the Family Stone’s “Sing a Simple Song” with help from Joseph Schloss Cypress Hill’s “How I Could Just Kill a Man,” […]

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LARGE PROFESSOR: WHO REMAINS CHECKING

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Large Professor: Listen (Blast Off) (Geffen, 1996, 12″)

Junket’s Robbie Ettelson has part of the story behind what the hell happened to Large Pro’s solo LP but all I know is that folks were hype in ’96 at the idea that LP was about to drop The LP. As far as teaser 12″s go, this 3-song single was both enough to whet our appetite and then, as it turns out, hold us over for a while until we realized “uh oh, something went wrong.” Surprised this was left off […]

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HARD AS HELL

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As I learned from Michael Gonzales, March 8 is the 20th anniv. of Gang Starr’s third album, Hard to Earn. (Obligatory “20 years already?” lament)

I always felt I was in a minority of fans for whom Hard to Earn is our favorite GS album. It always seemed perpetually stuck outside the top 3 (though still regarded higher than their first and last LPs) and I still don’t understand why it’s not considered their best. At the very least, I think it’s one of DJ Premier’s best sonically realized efforts. It’s […]

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THE FLIPSIDE OF STAX

Never To Be Forgotten: The Flip Side Of Stax 1968 – 1974

Light in the Attic created this 7″ reissue set for Record Store Day and it’s a very cool way to 1) pay tribute to one of the greatest labels in soul history and 2) break true fanatics off with 10 reissued 7″ singles, ranging from some of their better know hits (“BLind Alley”) to lesser known gems (“Them Hot Pants”). Killer packaging and a really impressive set of liner notes that features testimonials from Jim Stewart, Al Bell and others).1 I recently rapped with Light […]

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STACKS OF STAX

Little Milton: Packed Up and Took My Mind
From Stax: The Soul of Hip-Hop (Stax, 2009)

Over the last couple of years, I’ve noticed that Stax Records has been finding new ways to package their back catalog. For example, there’s the Soulsville Sings Hitsville comp as well as the Stax Does the Beatles album.

The most recent offering takes a page from Blue Note’s older, successful Break Beats series by combing through the Stax catalog and pulling out 14 songs that have found second life as hip-hop sample sources. (The funny thing is, I always thought […]

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