Ok I’m nine days late, but to be honest, nine days ago this man wasn’t really relevant to me, musically at least. I was more than familiar with his voice-acting as Chef, Chocolate Salty Balls and his (unfortunate) membership in the church of Scientology. But as news started filtering through about his death I thought I’d investigate, two albums kept on coming up in tributes to him, the Shaft Soundtrack and Hot Buttered Soul.
I was already familiar with the Shaft theme tune, who isn’t? So I decided to check out Hot Buttered Soul and it is mindblowingly good, the cover of Burt Bacharach’s Walk on By is an invigorating reinterpretation of a pretty ubiquitous pop song. Hayes manages to transform and make the song it’s own with it’s soulful and gospel vibes, the only taint on the song is the criminal fading out of what sounds like a promising drum solo at the end which really could do with being streched out for another 2-3 minutes.
Hyperbolicsyllabicsesquedalymistic is the other highlight is an extremely funky affair, with a groovy bass groove and a disgustingly good piano solo in the middle which rides beautifully on top of the relentless bass groove, it’s just one of those songs that you can never really pinpoint why it’s so good, there’s no single point that does it, it’s just in the groove, you know?
Then of course there’s The Shaft Theme, not on Hot Buttered Soul – which you should all buy immediately – but it’s futile trying to post about Isaac Hayes without mentioning it.
Unlike most big artists ‘most famous’ song, it isn’t an awfully watered down version of what the person does best. Infact it’s arguably his best work, the slow build up and layering in of those 16th note cymbals, the iconic wah-wah guitar, the flutes and then those horns – It’s perfect.