Even in the MP3 age, there are CDs worth searching out—and that require the search. “O.O.P., We Did It Again” is dedicated to great albums that are criminally out of print, and that aren’t necessarily likely to become available anytime soon.
The album: The Perfect Beats Vol. 2 (1998), the second of four simultaneously issued volumes of, as the subtitle puts it, “New York Electro Hip-Hop + Underground Dance Classics 1980-1985.”
Classic material: Back in 1998, Tommy Boy Records decided to celebrate its deep roots with a pair of four-CD collections. The Tommy Boy’s Greatest Beats series was your basic label comp, but The Perfect Beats was something else: a strongly chosen and sequenced argument for the early ’80s NYC club the Funhouse as locus of much of the decade’s strongest dance music. The second volume is the creme de la creme: hits from Shannon and New Order, club classics from Liquid Liquid and Chaka Khan, superbly programmed into one of the CD era’s greatest various-artist collections.
Highlights: On a collection with no bad tracks, this can be hard to choose. I’ll stick with three: Dominatrix’s “The Dominatrix Sleeps Tonight,” Strafe’s “Set It Off,” and ESG’s “Moody” retain their original grit and stylishness, and can still get bodies moving like nobody’s business.
Why it’s out of print: Let us loose our standard refrain yet again: Licensing is a bitch, isn’t it? Multiple artists, four volumes–who has that kind of time anymore?
Chances it will return to print: I wouldn’t put money on this happening; still, maybe at some point some enterprising “label” will put all four volumes of the series on a single DVD of MP3s and audio files, a la similar collections of Ultimate Breaks & Beats and Streetsounds Electro.
Cost for a used copy: Amazon Marketplace has used copies from $18.49. I recently bypassed the chance (several times) to repurchase one from a nearby shop for $25, and I’m sorry I didn’t.