Isaac Hayes – The Isaac Hayes Movement (1970) VBR

Get “Hot Buttered Soul” first (below), then check this out.

A lot of folks are going to remember Isaac Hayes for the themes song and soundtrack album to blaxploitation flick “Shaft.” A whole other generation will remember him more as the adorable Chef from South Park. He deserves to be remembered for both of those accomplishments, but he was also a lot more to a lot of people. His music has pulled me through some tough times, the warmth of his deep-hued voice made my winter easier to bare this year, and his raps on love and loss are unequaled, striking true chords whether they bring a smile to your lips or make you shake your head and shout an ‘Amen!’ And his music meant enough to black America in the early seventies that he was made the headliner of the 1972 Wattstax festival. The documentary film of the same name, released in 1973, was such a powerful celebration of black identity that it even became central to the nascent soul music scene, the Black Rio movement, and the Movimento Negro in Brazil during the 70s, with the film being screened at parties in the favelas and audience members chanting along phonetically with some of its notable scenes. The significance of this cross-pollination was not limited to the appropriations of American soul, funk, and jazz music by artists like Jorge Ben, Tim Maia, Cassiano, or Banda Black Rio. It was also eminently political — In a country where the “racial democracy” of mestiçagem or race-mixing had been celebrated for decades as ‘evidence’ that race prejudice did not exist, the sounds and images of black people in North America celebrating difference and claiming a space of dignity for Afrocentric cultural roots struck like a clarion call. Whether or not those mobilizations around racial identity were ‘successful’ is not the point here. The point is that the ways that the united states deals with (or fails to deal with) the politics of race has consequences outside its borders. I regularly meet people in Brazil who know more about contemporary American politics than I do, and the knowledge of and interest in Barack Obama there has certainly been no exception. Isaac Hayes was not just a soul singer who belonged in the ranks of Marvin Gaye, James Brown, or Stevie Wonder — he was also an icon of blackness, a “Black Moses.” Isaac Hayes is remembered in Brazil today among music fans of my own generation (too young to be there for Wattstax’s initial breakthrough) as a towering figure alongside those peers, just as he towered over his fellow musicians on the stage.

Isaac, I already miss you. To honor your memory, I’d like to share this wonderful music you left us and maybe turn a few others on.

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Isaac Hayes
The Isaac Hayes Movements
Released 1970

Enterprise Records/Stax Records
Original Catalogue #: ENS-1010

Track List:
1. I Stand Accused (11:37)
(Butler-Butler) Warner-Tamerlane Publ. Corp.-BMI

2. One Big Unhappy Family (5:49)
(Chalmers-Rhodes) Times Square Music Publ. Co./Rhomers Music Inc.-BMI

3. I Just Don’t Know What to Do With Myself (7:00)
(Bacharach-David) U.S. Songs, Inc./Blue Seas music Inc./Jac Music Co., Inc./Anne-Rachel Music Corp.-ASCAP

4. Something (11:52)
(George Harrison) Harrisongs Ltd.-BMI

Liner Notes:
Producer: Isaac Hayes
Arrangers: Isaac Hayes, Dale Warren
Voice Arrangements: Pat Lewis
Engineers: Ron Capone, Henry Bush, Ed Wolfrum
Remix Engineer: Ron Capone
Photography: Joel Brodsky
Art Direction: The Graffiteria/David Krieger
Art Supervision: Herb Kole

Mastering by Joe Tarantino (Fantasy Studios, Berkeley, CA)

Following the simmering grooves of “Hot Buttered Soul,” this record is more of a laid-back affair. The long spoken intro to Chicago soul genius Jerry Butler’s “I Stand Accused” brings that song into a whole new plane. Another Burt Bacharach tune opens up the second side of the LP with “I Just Don’t Know What To Do With Myself.” A few minutes into George Harrison’s “Something,” you might find yourself thinking what I did and often still do when hearing it, “I’m not….quite…sure if this is working or not..”, as the chord changes punctuated by an orchestra give way to a screechy violin solo played (I’m guessing) through an amplifier. It definitely ranks as one of the more ‘out there’ of Beatles covers in existence, and by the time it reaches past the ten-minute mark, I don’t really *care* if it’s “working” or not, I’m just enjoying being along for the ride. It takes brass balls to cover a song by the Fab Four this way (or, should I say “chocolate salty balls”?). The song gets an A for effort even if it leaves you scratching your head.

Isaac Hayes RIP !! Hot Buttered Soul (1969) VBR

Isaac Lee Hayes, Jr. (August 20, 1942 – August 10, 2008)

Rest in peace, brother Isaac….

There will be more Isaac to come. This is my favorite record of his. I have an MFSL version hanging around somewhere too that I may share as well, but this original pressing will do fine.

I’m too devastated to say anything else right now. His music meant a lot to me, to a whole lot of people. He will be dearly missed.

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Isaac Hayes
Hot Buttered Soul

Enterprise Records/Stax Records

Original Release Date: 1969
Original Catalogue #: ENS-1001

Track List:
1. Walk On By (12:00)
(Bacharach-David) Blue Seas Music/Jac Music-ASCAP

2. Hyperbolicsyllabicsesquedalymistic (9:36)
(Isbell-Hayes) Irving Music-BMI

3. One Woman (5:08)
(Chalmers-Rhodes) Times Square/Rhomers Music-BMI

4. By the Time I Get to Phoenix (18:40)
(Jim Webb) The EMP Co.-BMI

Liner Notes:
Rhythm section on all the above tunes features The Bar-Kays

Producers: Al Bell, Marvell Thomas, Allen Jones (Under supervision by Al Bell)
Engineers: Terry Manning, Ed Wolfrum
Re-Mix Engineer: Russ Terrana, Jr. (Tera-Shirma Sound Studio, Detroit, MI)
Art Direction: Honeya Thompson
Cover Design: Christopher Whorf
Photography: Bob Smith

Special thanks to Terry Manning (Ardent Recording Studio, Memphis TN);
Special thanks to Ed Wolfrum (United Sound Studio, Detroit, MI)

Mastering by Joe Tarantino (Fantasy Studios, Berkeley, CA)

Isaac Haye’s work has been sampled countless times in hip-hop and rap music. For a long (but probably not complete) list, click here.

NEW — HOT BUTTERED SOUL, FLAC FILESET 1
HOT BUTTERED SOUL, FLAC FILESET 2

Bo Diddley – The Black Gladiator (1970) Japanese press

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It’s never too late to commemorate the passing of the great Bo Diddley earlier this year. And what better choice than this little-known piece of fuzzed-out gutter funk, “The Black Gladiator.” OK, now the first thing you’re thinking is, “What’s going on with this cover art?” Don’t ask me. Maybe Bo (and not Hendrix, or Miles Davis) was actually the subject of Betty Davis’ infamous tune, “He Was A Big Freak.” But we’re not interested in fogging the memory of the renowned Mr. Diddley here, no sir. Maybe he’s just a gladiator, in addition to being a gunslinger and other occupations, and I’m reading too much into that. I am notoriously guilty of over-interpretation. This record speaks for itself. Is this a desperate attempt for an artist fifteen years into his career to “keep up with the times,” to ‘update’ his sound? Maybe. Do I care? Not really. Recasting his thang in a new musical landscape of black pride and consciousness, of psychedelic funk, does not bother me one wit. And the music is unmistakably Bo Diddley. One thing about the early 1970s, for me the apex of quality of all recorded music in every imaginable genre around the world (I’m not kidding folks.. I will take this claim to my grave and wager money on it) is that keeping up with the times wasn’t such a bad thing. The sounds of the decade age well — if they didn’t, why are the beats, textures, and tones from the 70s continually recycled, resampled, and reinvented, every decade hence? @#$% the 80’s revival. I’m staying in 1975 with my Curtis Mayfield records and this copy of The Black Gladiator. From a Japanese limited edition pressing with LP-sleeve artwork dupes. Enjoy! (My apologies for the misogyny of “Shut Up, Woman.” I tried selling Mr. Diddley on a song titled “Bo Diddley is a Radical Feminist Deconstructionist” but he refused to record it.)

P.S. Some people really hate this record. They loath it alongside Muddy Water’s “Electric Mud,” which I also like. Different strokes.

Bo Diddley – The Black Gladiator (1970) Aqui!!

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An “obituary” of sorts that circulated on a email listserv I belong to, upon news of his passing.

“No, goddammit, no. That grouchy genius can’t be dead. He was a
fucking Gunslinger. He fought monsters. He was loose, he was a surfer, he was
a man, he was a lumberjack, he would not be accused, he was looking for a
woman, he could bounce, he could twist, he was cookie-headed, he was powered by
heart-o-matic love, he was bad, he did the crawdaddy, he let them
bring it to Jerome, he shot tombstone bullets, he wore a fucking cobra snake
around his neck, he had a rock and roll nurse who gave him pills, he stopped
mumbling and talked out loud, he was my dearest rock and roll darling.

He was a lot of things, goddammit, but he can’t be dead. There’s no
fucking “Bo Diddley’s Dead” in his catalog.”

Gil Scott-Heron – Free Will (1972)

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This is, plain and simple, essential listening.

Gil Scott-Heron – Free Will (1972) – aqui

Side one

All songs written by Brian Jackson and Gil Scott-Heron.

1. “Free Will” – 3:43
2. “The Middle of Your Day” – 4:32
3. “The Get out of the Ghetto Blues” – 5:12
4. “Speed Kills” – 3:18
5. “Did You Hear What They Said?” – 3:32

Side two

All songs written by Gil Scott-Heron.

1. “The King Alfred Plan” – 2:47
2. “No Knock” – 2:12
3. “Wiggy” – 1:37
4. “Ain’t No New Thing” – 4:36
5. “Billy Green Is Dead” – 1:30
6. “Sex Education: Ghetto Style” – :51
7. “…And Then He Wrote Meditations” – 3:16

Donny Hathaway – These Songs for You, Live! (2004) Vbr

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I mistakenly thought I had posted this over the weekend, but I had not. It might be because I was listening to it over and over again and only *thought* I had shared it here.

This is a beautiful record, aside from the legitimate complaints from Hathaway fans that his legacy as a live performer has yet to receive proper documentation. What this record does is combine tracks from 1972’s “Donny Hathaway Live!” with tracks from “In Performance” (recorded in 1973 and released after his death), so the end result is somewhat confusing indeed. It’s a sandwich of music recorded live before and after his magnificent 1973 album ‘Extensions of a Man’ was made, and it’s fantastic. Even if you already grabbed the ’72 live record here earlier, give this one a try — the sound has been remastered by Rhino and the extra songs are well worth it. ‘You’ve Got a Friend’ still gets me weepy every time. ‘He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother,’ and “I’ll Love You More Than You’ll Ever Know” are also highlights missing from the other collection, and of course the Leon Russell-penned tune ‘A Song For You’ is a classic. (Thanks to Cristina, a loyal fan of The Carpenters, for reminding me of the confusing legacy of this song.. I probably should have looked it up first — Leon did in fact record it first on a 1970 record called ‘Leon Russell and the Shelter People’, which I own, but it’s been covered so many times I actually thought he had written it from someone else. I’ve seen Willie Nelson perform it live (also recorded it on a 1973 record) and it fits him perfectly, so I’d begun thinking Leon wrote it for him.. wrong! For a history of the song, look here)

Donny Hathaway – These Songs For You, Live! (2004) VBR

FULL ARTWORK

1 Flying Easy [#] Hathaway 3:11
2 Valdez in the Country [#] Hathaway 4:08
3 Someday We’ll All Be Free [#] Hathaway, Howard 5:30
4 You’ve Got a Friend King 4:34
5 He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother [#] Russell, Scott 7:49
6 What’s Going On Benson, Cleveland, Gaye 5:27
7. Yesterday [#] Lennon, McCartney 5:24
8 Superwoman [#] Wonder 6:42
9 A Song for You Russell 5:48
10 Sack Full of Dreams McFarland, Savary 5:30
11 Little Ghetto Boy Hathaway, Howard 4:33
12 I Love You More Than You’ll Ever Know Kooper 5:55
13 The Ghetto Hathaway, Hutson 12:22
14 Interview [#] 2:58

Bill Withers – Still Bill (1972) Soul classic with bonus tracks!

This is just pure magic from start to finish. Lets forget about Bill’s amazing story for a moment and just focus on his music, his unique sound, and immediately identifiable voice and writing style. The fact that he was a ‘music business outsider’ of sorts no doubt contributes to all of the above, but in many ways its beside the point. This is some of the most soulful music ever committed to wax. It’s in the rare cadre of records that is simultaneously sad and joyful, youthful and mature, with Bill belting out lyrics that can be dryly biting but never never bitter, sung from a place of pains and sorrows suffered with an eye towards the warmth of a future yet unlived, sophisticated and yet disarming in its forthright matter-of-factness. Familiar yet with a new twist around every measure, this is Still Bill…