C-L-A-S-S-I-C library breaks and beats set of super-heavyweight espionage-funk.
One of two Be With forays into the archives of revered British library institution Conroy, we present one of our favourites on the label - the super in-demand Background Action from Sammy Burdson, originally released in 1975. Rare and sought-after for many years now, this is one of those cult library LPs that rarely turns up on even the deepest dig.
Sammy Burdson was one of the many, many aliases of the mighty Austrian composer, arranger and conductor, Gerhard Narholz. Founder of adored library label Sonoton in 1965, and a classically trained composer, his work runs from easy listening through pop, jazz and electronic, to avant-garde.
Background Action’s first side is all Blaxploitation wah-wah, funky clav and heavy, heavy drums. It’s top-quality takes on the sort of hard-knocking psychedelic sleuth-funk that the library labels gave us in spades. However, we think the real killers are over on side B. Styles upon styles upon styles is what we have. The trio of swish “Water Pollution” variations are pure gold. The two-part mid-tempo b-boy drumathon “News Background” is nothing short of epic whilst the sensational “Kabul Trip A” and “Kabul Trip B” are two different takes on some tough funk, street jazz style with some dope organ, bass and drum sounds. In short, this is a must for both DJs and producers.
The British library label with those instantly recognisable “orangey-red” sleeves, Conroy began releasing production music in 1965. A sub-label of Berry Music Co, its catalogue typified the library industry’s strange mixture of tradition and experimentation from the start. Conroy’s early releases included work by big band stalwarts like Eddie Warner as well as early electronic recordings by the likes of Belgian experimental pioneer Arséne Souffriau. With Berry Music Co working as a distribution partner to the German library label Sonoton, it was through the Conroy that a great deal of German library music found its way into the UK market.
Conroy stopped putting out new music in the 1980s, but its history and its catalogue offer an excellent window into the trends and eccentricities of a highly unique industry at the height of its international appeal.
This re-issue of Background Action has been mastered for vinyl by Be With regular Simon Francis from audio from the original tapes. Richard Robinson has handled reproducing the iconic, hypnotic original Conroy sleeve. Essential.