Sunday, August 10, 2008

R.I.P.: Isaac Hayes

This is so, so sad: ["Isaac Hayes dies at 65"].
I still listen to Hayes' music and not just "Shaft." I have "Black Moses," "Hot Buttered Soul" remastered, and a bunch of stuff downloaded from, on regular rotation at work. I often listen to his stuff on Tuesday when I'm trying to put the newspaper to bed. The songs are nice and long, they tend to groove well, and have great instrumentation, and tons of dated, sexual lyrics.
"Hot Buttered Soul" opens with a 10-plus minute version of "Walk On By," the Burt Bacharach classic, with its stops and starts and powerful backup singers. The incredibly funky "Hyperbolicsyllabicsesquedalymistic" has blasting wah-wah and a groove that just won't stop. But the highlight is "By the Time we get to Phoenix," clocking in at more than 17 minutes, with a very long intro where Hayes talks about a friend whose woman has done him wrong.
"Black Moses" is another masterpiece, a double-CD full of standout tracks including the hilarious "Good Love," where the song goes "now write this number down mama," in case you have to call "Good Love-69-9-69" [this was back when phones didn't have area codes and you'd dial two letters before the rest of the numbers]. A cover of The Carpenters' "Close to Me" and "Never Can Say Goodbye" show Hayes making others' songs his own, while he shows off his rapping in the "Ike's Rap" tracks.
My uncle once joked after Hayes filed for bankruptcy one year that he was the only guy in music who blew through three or four fortunes. It seemed like he would put out an album and make a ton of money and then blow it all. has a whole slew of stuff by Hayes for download including long lost albums "Chocolate Chip," "Joy," "Live at the Sahara Tahoe," and others.
Strangely, I was just talking to co-workers about trying to get to see him on tour, since he has been touring off-and-on this summer at various places around the country.

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