Midnight Theme [Japanese]

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Jason Birchmeier
Chances are you've never heard of Manzel until only recently, if ever. If you're a hip-hop beathead, however, chances are you've heard Manzel. The very, very obscure instrumental funk trio from the mid- to late '70s has been sampled quite famously over the years, the drum intro from "Midnight Theme" in particular: most gloriously by Prince Paul on De La Soul's "Plug Tunin'," from the classic 3 Feet High and Rising album, and later by DJ Muggs on Cypress Hill's breakthrough single, "How I Could Just Kill a Man" and RZA on Ghostface Killah's debut single, "Winter Warz". These are just three particularly well-known instances, though. You can also hear Manzel sampled on ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Jason Birchmeier
Chances are you've never heard of Manzel until only recently, if ever. If you're a hip-hop beathead, however, chances are you've heard Manzel. The very, very obscure instrumental funk trio from the mid- to late '70s has been sampled quite famously over the years, the drum intro from "Midnight Theme" in particular: most gloriously by Prince Paul on De La Soul's "Plug Tunin'," from the classic 3 Feet High and Rising album, and later by DJ Muggs on Cypress Hill's breakthrough single, "How I Could Just Kill a Man" and RZA on Ghostface Killah's debut single, "Winter Warz". These are just three particularly well-known instances, though. You can also hear Manzel sampled on recordings by Eric B. & Rakim and Ultramagnetic MC's, among other, less well-known instances. Because of such rampant and well-known sampling, Manzel's two independently released 45-rpm singles -- "Space Funk" b/w "Jump Street" 1977 and "Midnight Theme" b/w "Sugar Dreams" 1979 -- became much sought-after and eventually bootlegged. The release of the Midnight Theme collection in 2004 is therefore reason to celebrate. This CD of remixed and remastered Manzel recordings including six previously unreleased songs, as well as a trio of especially remixed remixes is the final word on the obscure funk trio from, of all places, Kentucky. It not only presents this music in crystal-clear quality, it also tells the until now unknown Manzel story. Shad O'Shea, the president of Fraternity Records -- the label that originally recorded and released the two Manzel 45s -- writes some informative liner notes, and Midnight Theme gets a lavish packaging, including all credits imaginable as well as some archival photos of the bandmembers. All of this makes for a wonderful package that should tickle rare groove aficionados. And it goes without saying, of course, that this is breakbeat-rich music -- late-'70s instrumental jazz-funk ripe for hip-hop appropriation. The album-closing Masters at Work remix of "It's Over Now" is especially noteworthy, drawing a line between Manzel and MAW-style house music. Kenny Dope of Masters at Work and the Undercover Brother are the folks who brought this reissue project to life, remixing and remastering the music and releasing it on their Dopebrother Records label. If you've heard the West End Records remixed, remastered, and reissued project by Masters at Work West End Records: The 25th Anniversary Edition Mastermix, you should have a good idea of what to expect here. This release is very comparable and similarly stellar.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 12/28/2006
  • Label: Cd Baby
  • UPC: 664419700526
  • Catalog Number: 5637385527
  • Sales rank: 79,867

Album Credits

Performance Credits
Manzel Primary Artist
Jimmy Campbell Percussion, Guest Appearance
Kevin Keller Rhythm Guitar, Guest Appearance
Jonathan Higgins Drums, Guest Appearance
Skip Wilson Bass, Guest Appearance
Technical Credits
Masters at Work Remixing
Kenny "Dope" Gonzalez Executive Producer
Brian Mastering
Shad O'Shea Producer, Liner Notes
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