Google+ Beathearts: Beathearts rewind #39: The Winstons - Amen brother (1969)


Beathearts rewind #39: The Winstons - Amen brother (1969)

When we put together our Beatheart rewinds we usually bring you lesser known tunes that we feel deserve more attention. Today, we chose probably one of the most frequently sampled songs of all times. It's the b-side to The Winston's 1969 release Color him father. The track is an instrumental jam entitled Amen Brother and is probably one of the most recognizable tunes most people never heard in it's original form.

The Winstons - Amen brother

Gregory C. Coleman was the drummer on the track and he could hardly imagine that his ingeniously improvised drum roll would create a whole new genre of music. In 1986 this 7 second break ended up on a collection of breaks called Ultimate breaks and Beats. When later sampled and put at double speed it became one of the founding elements of what used to be called jungle that then turned into drum'n'bass and then influenced the whole UK underground scene to what it is today.

Its importance for break based music in the UK can hardly be overestimated. The Economist (!) even went so far as to dedicate a recent article for it entitled "Seven seconds of fire: How a burst of drumming changed the face of music”. (Source:

One of my all time favourite uses of the Amen break is Rupert 'Photek' Parks remix of Therapy's track Loose. Brilliantly cut up it was one of the tracks that inspired us to create this blog covering beat based underground soulful music.

Therapy - Loose (Photek remix)

A more recent example is Scottish soul singer Emili Sandé's recent single Heaven. By using the Amen break she gives her nod of gratitude to the history of the UK scene. In the same vein the video is reminiscent of another UK classic track, Massive Attack's Unfinished sympathy. Check it!

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