The Ron Kane Files

Writing About Music

Friday, February 13, 2009

Isaac Hayes

2-13-09 Isaac Hayes (1942 – 2008)

What’s the first thing that comes to mind when we discuss Isaac Hayes? His bald head? “Hot Buttered Soul”? “Shaft”? I first encountered his work at the suggestion of my older brother. He told me that “Hot Buttered Soul” was ‘the stuff’ – and he played me “Hyperbolicsyllabicsesquedelamystic” – I hope I spelled that correctly – I’m doing it from memory, and the spell-checker is of no help!

If that’s all he had ever done, it would be enough for me to remember him by – I absolutely love the format of “Hot Buttered Soul” – l-o-n-g songs, and amazing performances by the Bar-Kays. And the aforementioned song with an amusing made-up title.

Of course, lots of people saw the film “Shaft” – and even more people bought it’s soundtrack. I remember when PBS here in L.A. showed it as part of “Black History Month” (which just happens to be February). Did you ever see Hayes’ own film, “Truck Turner”? Or his incredible concert film “Black Moses”? (I will spoil it for you – at the end of the show, it says “The Beginning…”)

Mind you, there’s a whole lot more to this fine singer than just some 70’s funk records. He also worked with Sam & Dave in the 60’s, and many people know him as the voice of “Chef” on the dreaded “South Park” animation series.

I think it’s the super-long “It’s Your Thing” (or thereabouts) on his “Shaft” O.S.T. that I once ran into in a dream I had (I probably fell asleep listening to late night FM radio with the headphones on!) – I was desperately trying to figure out what it was – my poor little 70’s teenaged brain thought it was ‘rock music’ (and not R&B)!

I recently sought illumination on “Hot Buttered Soul” by ordering a Japanese re-issue CD of it as a paper sleeve (kami sleeve) CD. I wanted to hear some ’00 mastering on this R&B classic. Like a fool, I sold my original UK LP of “HBS” long ago – and the Fantasy US CD of it had…er, late 80’s mastering. No punch. Not much in the guts department. But the Japanese know what they’re doing – even if it does cost a fortune these days (I paid $43 for the recently re-issued “HBS” kami sleeve CD!). I think I paid $2.98 for my original LP…

My humble Isaac Hayes collection:

BEST OF Vol. 1 STAX US FCD 60-001 CD

1986 7 TRK Collection (70's recordings)


1969 4 TRKS


1971 15 TRKS

Thanks for the music, sir!

(back on Tues. 2/17)



Anonymous Jim Donato said...

What used to come to mind was Hayes at the '72 Oscars bare-chested in chains looking super militant (cool). What comes to mind now is the !@#$ Church of Scientology!

How the mighty have fallen.

8:39 AM  

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