Single of the Week: Paul Sitter “The Nothing EP”
Paul Sitter—the Russia-based DJ/producer behind Funky Shit Edits—has been on an absolute hot streak lately. Sitter is a beat-heavy producer with great taste, an ear for classic samples, and a decided Big Beat Fatboy Slim influence. With his ninth release The Nothing EP, Sitter applies his DJ-style cut’n’paste techniques to The Flirtations’ northern soul stormer, “Nothing But a Heartache.” He adds a massive drum break and instantly recognizable vocal samples from Public Enemy’s Chuck D and Flavor Flav. The result is a funky, soulful hip-hop groove with broad appeal.
Even the original album art isn’t safe from Sitter’s razor, as he cuts in three selfies in place of the trio’s glamorous smiling faces framed by some enviable bouffants.
Originally released in November 1968, “Nothing But a Heartache” was a commercial hit for The Flirtations, landing at number 34 on Billboard’s Hot 100. Hailing from South Carolina as a quartet in 1962 (as The Gypsies), they had a few minor hits on regional labels before slimming down to a trio and renaming as The Flirtations in 1966. They then relocated to the UK in 1967 where they signed a contract with Deram Records. On “Heartache,” the trio come across like a turbo-charged Supremes over a dense and dynamic arrangement. But where Berry Gordy largely kept the Supremes’ emotions politely in check in the Motown studio, producer Wayne Bickerton coaxes a performance out of Viola Billups and sisters Ernestine and Shirley Pearce that makes you feel that heartache.
And because Sitter is a man who understands the value of a two-sider, he supplies an equally playable but very different feel on the Wet Willie “Beggar Song”-sampling b-side, “Nothing Gonna Change (His Way).” The big beat yacht rock vibes are soaked in sunshine.
Since “Nothing But a Heartache” is long one of my absolute favorite tunes, I snapped this up right away upon its April release on Sitter’s Bandcamp page, and have been waiting patiently to add it to my 45 box (shipping all the way from Russia). The incredibly limited colored vinyl is sold out, but the black vinyl edition is still available. As are digital downloads, of course.
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