The Isaac Hayes Experience

Isaac Hayes has probably been the greatest discovery I’ve made since my record collecting took a turn for the serious. Not being familiar with anything by the Black Moses I was blown away by the two songs included in the filmDead Presidents” (highly recommended film!). “The Look of Love” & “Walk on By” have both been sampled and would probably catch any Hip Hop head off guard ? but these tracks are completely mind blowing on their own and after finding the mp3s I knew that I had to track down these records by any means necessary.

I hit up my usual spot but as is to be expected they didn’t have em. I put em on my wish list and kept listening to the mp3’s over and over again just dreaming of the day that I could have the wax.

One day about a month later I walked into one of the spots by my office and started flipping through the crates. The jazz was a bust and a started looking through the store’s newly acquired soul records and there it was ? “Hot Buttered Soul” ? with a $15 price tag. I snatched it up and kept looking thinking I would get lucky and find some more gems. No more gems were to be had that day but I did find another copy of “Soul” and it had a $3 price on it. I compared the records and being a broke college student decided to scoop the cheaper one as the records were in the same condition and only the cover of mine a little more damaged.

I took it home and immediately was blessed with the sounds of the strings on “Walk on By” which opens up side 1. I listened to it at least 5 times – all the way through, and finally let the needle get to the next track and it was this moment that I realized I was onto something. “Hyperbolicsyllabicsequedalymistic” is a genius funk/soul concoction that only Hayes and the Bar Kays (who are really the stars of all of Hayes’ early albums) could come up with. When the Bar Kays get going laying down the groove you can’t help but be mesmerized! The pianos are what make this track for me and after several listens I finally flipped it over only to continue to be blown away. How had I gone for so long without any awareness of this music ? samples don’t even begin to capture the genius held in the grooves of this record!

Now that I had found one of the records by Hayes I was convinced that I could find the others that I sought and I was really fiending for “The Look of Love” as I love the Jay-Z song “Can I Live” which is a loop from the intro of “Look.”

After my birthday with some extra cash in my pocket I hit up the same spot that I had found “Soul” and much to my excitement they had “…To Be Continued,” “Shaft,” & “The Isaac Hayes Movement.” I snatched them all and went home to listen ? and listen I did.

While being too mesmerized by “?To Be Continued” and specifically “Look” to even make it to the other side let alone the other records I finally did escape the song only to once again be blown away by the funkiness of the Bar Kays and the soul of Hayes’ voice ? their really is a difference between singers of his time and the singers today! If I ever have to live in existence with only a select few records I can guarantee you that my Isaac Hayes collection will be with me.

Author’s Note: This was originally published on the blog