soul Archive

Album Review: Stax: The Soul of Hip-Hop

This compilation would have been an inspired, brilliant idea, had it not been done already (see review of the 2008 Blue Note compilation Droppin’ Science). So instead it’s merely a very, very good idea. Hip-hop is a genre that is largely built on synthesizing earlier works. And one of its virtues is its sense of

Album Review: Various Artists — Stax Does the Beatles

Before succumbing to the vicissitudes of the record biz, Stax Records was one of the coolest labels in the 60s and 70s. Rawer and earthier than Motown, the black-oriented label out of Memphis turned out classic albums from Isaac Hayes, Booker T. & the MGs and many others. Many of these artists wrote their own

Album Review: Droppin’ Science: Greatest Samples from the Blue Note Lab

This is one of those projects that makes you ask, “Why didn’t someone do this sooner?” Many artists on the famed Blue Note label have had their work sampled over the years. The 1969-’75 work of their artists would be a treasure trove for innovative hip-hop artists; many of the era’s best jazz/pop tracks were

DVD Review: Otis Redding — Respect Live 1967

This brief DVD is an effort to collect all extant performance footage of Otis Redding in the months before his untimely death. On that level, it succeeds, more or less. But in doing so, it — by necessity — re-re-recycles material that’s been around for years. Half of the running time consists of Redding’s stellar

Album Reviews: Rascals / Young Rascals Reissues (2007)

Young Rascals: The Young Rascals (Collectors’ Choice) Collections (Collectors’ Choice) Groovin’ (Collectors’ Choice) Rascals: Once Upon a Dream (Collectors’ Choice) Freedom Suite (Collectors’ Choice) See (Collectors’ Choice) Search and Nearness (Collectors’ Choice) The (Young) Rascals released nine albums during their career (1966-1972). All but the last two were on Atlantic, and have now been licensed

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: Arthur Alexander — Lonely Just Like Me: The Final Chapter

I first heard the name Arthur Alexander many years ago when listening to an interview with John Lennon; the then-former Beatles was talking about his major influences, especially some of the lesser-known ones. The Beatles covered “Anna (Go to Him)” early in their career, and performed his hit “Soldier of Love” on their BBC radio

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

Todd Rundgren / Utopia / Nazz: A Critical Essay

DISCOGRAPHY Todd Rundgren Runt (Bearsville) 1970 The Ballad of Todd Rundgren (Bearsville) 1971 Something / Anything? (Bearsville) 1972 A Wizard / A True Star (Bearsville) 1973 Todd (Bearsville) 1974 Initiation (Bearsville) 1975 Faithful (Bearsville) 1976 Hermit of Mink Hollow (Bearsville) 1977 Back To The Bars (Bearsville) 1978 Healing (Bearsville) 1981 The Ever Popular Tortured Artist