Isaac Hayes – 1969 – Hot Buttered Soul
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This is the one that made Isaac a name in the history of soul music. “The Black Moses of Soul” ‘cuz he changed and invented soul (R&B) the way it will be in the future. Then Marvin Gaye and Stevie Wonder followed with their masterpieces in the early 70’s.
A true masterclass in musicianship, innovation, and slow burners. This will always be a great time capsule of true soul.
A1 Walk On By 12:00
A2 Hyperbolicsyllabicsesquedalmystic 9:55
B1 One Woman 5:00
B2 By The Time I Get To Phoenix 18:40
Isaac Hayes went into the recording studio back in 1969 with his the Bar-Kays as his backing band and created something magical and timeless that is beyond comparison from anything else I’ve ever heard. With only four numbers present here, it’d be easy to second-guess picking this up, but if you do you are a sucker, because you just don’t understand how strong and potent this album is. It’s almost ridiculous how many rappers have sampled this material, and how many times they’ve done it at that, but none of ’em, NONE OF ‘EM could amass the emotion and skill that Brother Ike amassed into these four incredible numbers. The opener ‘Walk on By’ is not to be messed with for nothin’. The intro is hypnotic and intoxicating, stretching on for over two minutes before Brother Ike’s mournful and dour voice comes in to sing his frustration and sadness away. What follows is jus’ somethin’ funky, fa’real, an’ I’m’a try an’ spell it all out fa’ you.
‘Hyperbolicsyllabicsesquedalymistic‘ is down-and-dirty gut-bucket funktified soul. Rhodes electric piano, classic guitar riffs, and that repetitive piano that Public Enemy jus’ loves to sample. Oh, what a classic piece ‘a work. I’m surprised lotsa these reviews don’t seem to think too highly of ‘One Woman’ ’cause I can’t get enough of that number. It’s sweeter and more easy-going than the other three, but it’s no less strong. It’s just a nice poetic song, irreplaceable if you ask me. Alright, but the truth is that the next number is the real tear-jerker. For the first eight or nine minutes of ‘By the Time I Get to Phoenix’ there is nothing in the back ground but a hypnotic thumping bassline and Brother Ike telling a truly heartbreaking story of a man and a woman wo were in love, well, at least the man was in love, you know? (“But, y’see, girls, I don’t mean to come down on you, but this man LOVED this woman so, but, they say love is blind…”) If you’re feelin’ it, then when the song finally kicks in, you should already be reduced to a puddle of tears. Then all you can do is moan an’ wail along with Isaac about bein’ a prisoner of love who will never be free.
Fellas, if you’ve ever had your heartbroken, an’ you intend to get anything outta reading this review, it should be to not go another day without this masterpiece. If your lovelorn, sad, an’ need somethin’ to feed your sadness, or somethin’ to keep you in touch with your spirit and soul, then this is the album to pick up. It’s by all means one’a the best soul albums of ALL TIME, flawlessly performed from start to finish. Like I said, it’s a long and lonely road, but it’s a lovely one to travel. Again and again.