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Thursday, November 3, 2005

Can You Dig It? The Ultimate Isaac Hayes

Posted on Thu, Nov 3, 2005 at 4:00 AM

Can You Dig It? The Ultimate Isaac Hayes
Label: Stax
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You haven't heard Isaac Hayes until you've heard Isaac Hayes sing "Baby I'm-A Want You." Originally the B-side of a single, its presence on this two-CD/one-DVD retrospective is somewhat surprising. But if "Shaft" is the beginning and "Chocolate Salty Balls" is the end of your Isaac Hayes knowledge, the presence of a Bread cover on this set is exactly the reason why career retrospectives can be so valuable. Hayes' versatility as a singer – and, as a songwriter, his infinite respect for a good song – is what made him a vital element of '70s soul music. He could get a little full of his love-makin' self (album side-long songs that aren't prog-rock are good for exactly one thing), and he was quick to let his later albums be taken over by schmaltzy, disco-funk arrangements, but the way he defined a middle path between righteous funk and songwriting traditions is spelled out magnificently on this set.


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