Hot Buttered Soul Import
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By 1969, black artists were following rock's lead and recording extended epics. At the forefront of such experimentation was big bad Isaac Hayes, coauthor of countless Stax classics and an artist in his own right. On this, his second album, Hayes takes two MOR-pop benchmarks, Burt Bacharach's "Walk On By" and Jimmy Webb's "By the Time I Get to Phoenix," and spins them out into slow-building sermons lasting 12 and 18.5 minutes apiece. Heavily romantic, they predate by two years Barry White's symphonic adventures in the same style, revolutionizing soul music in the process. Meanwhile, on the album's third epic, the 10-minute "Hyperbolicsyllabicsesquedalymistic," Hayes and his backing band the Bar-Kays wind up sounding, bizarrely, like a black Crazy Horse. --Barney Hoskyns
"Walk On By" starts out with this hazy,churning,slow crawling and that iconic bluesy reverbed electric bass line that repeats until Ike's vocals come in-interpreting the lyrics with the same slow baritone seductiveness of the music-with this melodic air of trepidation weaving in and out with the flute,strings,horns and high pitched female backup singing. "Hyperbolicsyllabiscesquadalymistic",which the female backup singers do a far better job pronouncing than I ever could,introduce one of my favorites on this album-a blues/rock based funk jam that takes the sounds of Jimi Hendrix with the orchestration of a Quincy Jones-type affect. "One Woman" is by far the shortest number on this album and probably the most straight forward arrangement to a degree-a richly arranged string oriented soul ballad love song basically. Of course what really makes the album is the 18+ minute take of "By The Time I Get To Phoenix". The first 7 minutes of it consists of this sustained organ chord over which Ike raps about a lady who takes advantage of her doting husband who,after much push and pull,finally leaves her for good. Then he proceeds to drag every lyric of the song out to epic proportions on top of this.
Before this album generally? Vocal soul ballads had tended to be in the 2-4 minute range. And the writing was very concise. Since then,James Brown had already showcased extended length dance numbers with his funk explosions. And many psychedelic artists such as Hendrix had begun taking longer instrumental solos in rock. Since even at Motown psychedelic rock and soul were already emerging through the newer funk genre? Isaac Hayes managed to integrate all of these sonic innovations into his new sound. So we had elongated,orchestral soul ballads with a lot of psychedelic production touches. This might well be the birth of psychedelic soul,especially on the ballad end of it. And this are heavily funkified ballads at that. Personally? I first heard this album on a cassette tape of my fathers when I was 14-15 years old. We were making a drive to the family's summer camp-a half hour trip from our home. Hearing these songs unfold as we passed the green fields,forest land and quaint country houses evoked a bit of the Southern atmosphere in which this album was recorded. That distant,hollow echo throughout this production enhances that otherworldly flavor. And even today? This album still keeps in in aural limbo between outer space and inner space. So for all of you contemplating picking this up? It might well be one of the most important musical statements you'll ever hear.
originator of the LP and this album being the genesis of modern soul. This album contains songs that have been sampled thousands of times, and sets the mood when winding down with that special someone. This album also served as a text book to budding musicians and songwriters alike, as he only wrote one song but rewrote the rest. On all but one song he took previous hits from other established artist and remade them to the point where Ike's version is considered the standard for many generations after. These songs are now Ike's tunes. The mood and musical theatrics and sonic expansion of this album can only REALLY be matched by his next album "To be continued". Many great albums and movies and even an OSCAR came after. But if you ever wondered who was Isaac Hayes, grab this album a bottle of scotch and just listen...