Boxed Set Review: Isaac Hayes — The Spirit of Memphis

Isaac Hayes was the man. Certainly, he developed an outsized public persona, with his bare chest, furry boots, wide-brimmed hat, chains and gold-played Cadillac (though not all at the same time), and that persona was as cocksure and swaggering as the description suggests. But the thing is, he earned it. From his days as a

Album Review: Isaac Hayes – Black Moses

In honor of Isaac Hayes and his body of work, here’s a review of a 2009 reissue of one of his most important releases — bk It’s difficult to say anything new about an album that was released to wide acclaim more than 37 years ago. Anyone who has heard Isaac Hayes’ groundbreaking 1971 album

Album Review: Isaac Hayes – Shaft Soundtrack

It’s no small feat to successfully convey story and emotion through music. It’s tougher still to do it in an instrumental piece. More difficult than that, even, is to get those messages across within the tight format of soundtrack music; the music has to complement the onscreen visuals and propel the story forward in a

Album Review: Isaac Hayes – Hot Buttered Soul (reissue)

I’ve written fairly extensively on musoscribe.com about the work of Isaac Hayes. A latecomer to his catalog, I really only discovered the man’s music around the time Ultimate Isaac Hayes: Can You Dig It? came out in 2005. Since then I’ve delved deeper into his work, especially the 70s material. While Hayes is sometimes characterized

Album Review: Isaac Hayes — Juicy Fruit (Disco Freak)

It’s with some trepidation that this reviewer plays an album called Juicy Fruit (Disco Freak). Had said album been credited to anyone other than the estimable Isaac Hayes, the disc likely wouldn’t have gotten a spin. And in fact the leadoff title track would seem to confirm the worst fears one might conjure. A too-long

Album Review: Isaac Hayes — Ultimate Isaac Hayes: Can You Dig It?

Finally we have an Isaac Hayes career retrospective that is both succinct and sprawling. Of course “The Theme from Shaft” is here; it leads off the first disc on this two-disc, non-chronological compilation of Black Moses’ finest and most commercial offerings. Isaac Hayes is the ideal example of a performer’s artistic aspirations dovetailing perfectly with

Hundred-word Reviews for December 2019, #3

Here’s the final installment of the year (and the decade!) of my quick, condensed album reviews. Ten titles, 100 words each. Seven are new releases; the remaining three are archival and/or reissue releases. There are some SERIOUS gems in here. Sweet Lizzy Project – Technicolor When most people think of Cuban music, their thoughts turn

Album Review: Eddie Senay — Step by Step

Clarence Avant was a Detroit entrepreneur, a figure who wanted to bring to the world Detroit music beyond that which Berry Gordy was doing. In the early ’70s his Sussex label did just that, releasing some astoundingly good albums by the likes of Dennis Coffey and Bill Withers. Instrumental funk was more or less Sussex’s

Album Review: Various Artists — Soul Explosion

There’s undeniable appeal in retrospective compilations. With the benefit of hindsight and historical context, compilers can curate a set of songs that displays the character of a given theme, be it a style of music, a genre, or a survey of a particular label’s output. Legendary Memphis label Stax has been the subject of quite

EP Review: Spaceman Jones and The Motherships — Space and Time

The creative collaboration between Asheville rapper Spaceman Jones and genre-defying outfit RBTS WIN continues to bear fruit. Their first recorded project together was 2017’s RBTS WIN Presents Spaceman Jones and The Motherships. That 11-track set drew from funk and soul, with Jones rapping fluidly over deep-groove, sample-heavy musical backing. The music was as interesting and