Late nineties – early noughties, the Harmless label gave us the “Pulp Fusion”, “Mellow Mellow”, “I’m A Good Woman”, “The Breaks”
and many other excellent v/a comps (e.g. in the latin and funk rock genres), but after the initial heyday, Harmless seemed to lose its momentum. Recently, the people who own the label (of the Demon / Music Club group), have relaunched it, sort of, with a new series called “BackBeats“.
Its first installment (“series one”) has been compiled by Ian Dewhirst of Mastercuts (MC) fame (label ànd radio show) and counts ten less-than-midprice volumes mainly aimed at a (British) urban audience into (slick) soul, twostep and disco, though there’s also a ‘jack’ house, a ‘9Ts garage, a northern soul and a funk volume – the latter being “Gimme A Break”
(BACK 007), from which these two tracks – 1976 & 1981 – were culled. Aimed as it is at an audience I hardly belong to, I don’t think the series is extraordinary, so far, but I do like the statement of intent in the booklet: “we intend to make a stand for the beauty of the lovingly compiled compilation format. […] We will only use the original 12″ or album versions from the original artists […] with over 75 minutes on each Backbeats volume”.
Let’s hope other labels may be inspired by this, and that a more interesting second series will materialise!
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Tagged 197X, 2010, Backbeats, Dewhirst Ian, disco, dj culture, funk, Harmless, hip hop, Mastercuts, reissue, soul, v/a compilation