The 'Amen Break': Support The Cause

2 March 2015

Back in 1969, a funk and soul outfit that called itself The Winstons released a song entitled "Color Him Father", along with a B-side - "Amen, Brother", which featured a 4 bar drum solo by Gregory Coleman.

They didn’t know it then, but The Winston’s little 6-second solo, now known as the ‘Amen break’ would go on to become one of the most sampled, iconic drum loops of all time that, in many ways forms the foundation for foundation of hip-hop, jungle, drum’n’bass and beyond.

However, despite its ubiquitous presence in and around music (particularly after the rise of samplers), the remaining copyright holder of ‘Amen, Brother’ - Richard L Spencer - has never received a single penny in royalties. In fact, its creator, Gregory Coleman died homeless and broke in 2006 as was revealed by Spenser in a 2011 interview on BBC/1Xtra radio, where he also said that he would love for people to “do the right thing” and give a little something back for using the beat.

UK based DJ Martyn Webster heard Spencer’s story and started a GoFundMe page in order to do just that and pay back Spencer at least a little of what he's probably owed. “If you have ever written or sold any music with the amen break, or even just enjoyed one of the countless hundreds and hundreds of tunes that contain it over various genres and styles of music, please donate towards the good cause of the worldwide music community giving something back to the man behind the legendary breakbeat.”, he says on the campaign page.

Webster makes it clear that his campaign, called “The Winstons Amen Breakbeat Gesture” is “nothing more than a gesture of good will and obviously totally volentary [sic],”.

The story has a happy ending. Webster’s gesture is an example of a crowdfunding campaign done right and he’s surpassed his goal of 1000 pounds 15 fold, raising the amount in just 11 days.

Click here if you would like to donate to The Winstons Amen Breakbeat Gesture. Listen to the legendary drum loop below.



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