16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
Adventures on the Wheels of Steel,
By A Customer
This review is from: Back To The Old School - Adventures On The Wheels Of Steel (Audio CD)
For anyone wanting to get Grandmaster Flash and the FF's tracks, this collection is the one to buy. First of all, because it doesn't miss any of the essential ones out; secondly (very important) because each track here is FULL LENGTH, not an edit; and thirdly because you get a number of interesting tracks as well as the great ones; and fourthly because it's cheap. (One-CD compilations often have edited versions, though these are sometimes interesting -- e.g. the version of "White Lines" on "The Greatest Rap Album of All Time" which has a long build up and then cuts to the late verse "Athletes reject it ...".)
This would be worth buying for "White Lines (Don't Do It)" alone. There's also the famous "The Message". And of course the first DJ edit track, "Adventures ..." The first Furious Five release "Super Rappin' No. 1" is excellent also: one of the old-skool 12-minute monsters -- the beat and disco-bassline going on and on till the break of dawn. (The rapping on this is almost more impressive than on any other track.) The other two early releases are as good -- "Freedom" and "The Birthday Party". As is "New York New York".
So that's 7 great tracks, including two or three that announced something that had never been heard on record before. The rest of the set never scales the heights of "Super Rappin", "The Message", "Adventures..." or "White Lines", but then, what does? There are lots of other good pieces, with plenty of get-down moments -- the battle with the Sugarhill Gang "Showdown", the synth hook of "It's Nasty", the Furious-Five-only pieces "Jesse", "Beat Street", "Step Off", "King of the Streets", the electro-vocal of “Scorpio”, and the ending of "Mega-Mel Mix".
Then there's the wack stuff, including Flash on a manually-operated drum machine in "Flash to the Beat" (it'd be good to sample, though), the limp Melle Mel collaboration "Vice", the "New Adventures...", which isn't by Flash but does include a squelch used as a drum (so the Prodigy weren't so original in using breaking glass as a beat!)
But those “historical” tracks are forgotten when you listen to the real block-rocking tracks. Short of hearing the tapes of the block parties this is as close as we can get. (There are teeny snippets from block parties on Grandmaster Flash’s 2002 album “The Official Adventures ...”) Hearing some of the early tracks you get the sense of hip hop being born -- Flash choosing the right beats, and perfecting/inventing the methods to mix them, and the Furious Five perfecting the rhymes and tag-team style of rapping that would overlay them. If you’ve liked any old skool track you’ve heard, buy this.