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article imageReview: New Isaac Hayes compilation latest in series of Stax reissues

By Adrian Peel     Jun 26, 2017 in Music
Legendary label Stax Records is celebrating its 60th anniversary this year and to mark the occasion is re-releasing albums by a number of its most famous artists.
From the Stax Classics series comes this new, 12-track Issac Hayes retrospective. One of the top soul singers of the 1970s, Hayes was a creative force to be reckoned with at Stax Records, serving as an in-house songwriter, session musician and record producer.
Born in Tennessee in 1942, he started working for Stax - as a pianist - in 1964, before forging an extremely successful writing partnership with David Porter, which yielded hits for the likes of Sam & Dave, Carla Thomas, Johnnie Taylor and the Soul Children. His career as a singer with the label began with the album Presenting Isaac Hayes in 1967.
Inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2002, the multi-talented entertainer is probably still best known for his musical score to the 1971 'blaxploitation' film Shaft ("Theme from Shaft" won the Academy Award for Best Original Song in 1972) and his later stint as Chef on animated adult comedy South Park, from 1997 to 2005. Hayes died of a stroke in 2008.
It is probably no surprise therefore that "Theme from Shaft" is the first song on the album - and it still sounds great nearly 50 years later. Of the next two tracks, "Walk on By" was originally made famous by Dionne Warwick and "Never Can Say Goodbye" by the Jackson 5 - and they are delivered here as slowed down grooves with Hayes managing to successfully stamp his own authority on them.
Isaac Hayes on stage
Isaac Hayes on stage
Stax Archives
"The Look of Love" and "By the Time I Get to Phoenix" are further well-chosen covers given an irresistible Isaac Hayes makeover, while tracks seven and eight, the suggestive "Do Your Thing" and the epic instrumental "Run Fay Run," are superb Hayes compositions - as is the sensual but rather difficult to pronounce "Hyperbolicsyllabicsesquedalymistic" (co-written with Al Bell).
There isn't a bad track on this album and these wonderful and timeless songs deserve to be heard again by a new generation of music lovers. An unmissable collection from a much-missed talent.
Isaac Hayes Stax Classics is out now.
For more on Stax Records, visit their official website.
More about Isaac hayes, stax records, Shaft, Dionne Warwick, the jackson 5
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