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R&B - Released September 22, 2017 | Universal Music

Booklet Distinctions Pitchfork: Best New Reissue
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Film Soundtracks - Released November 18, 2016 | Stax

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
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Pop - Released January 1, 2000 | Polydor

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Soul - Released September 20, 1988 | Columbia

Isaac Hayes seldom delivers less than a competent product, but he almost ended that streak with this late '80s effort for Columbia. It was one of his most inspired albums ever from a content standpoint, and while the production and arrangements got major label resources, they fell far short of past Hayes heights. Most fans were sorely disappointed, for there were high hopes when the news originally broke that Hayes had signed with the label. ~ Ron Wynn
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Soul - Released August 3, 2009 | Stax

Released at the tail end of the '60s, Hot Buttered Soul set the precedent for how soul would evolve in the early '70s, simultaneously establishing Isaac Hayes and the Bar-Kays as major forces within black music. Though not quite as definitive as Black Moses or as well-known as Shaft, Hot Buttered Soul remains an undeniably seminal record; it stretched its songs far beyond the traditional three-to-four-minute industry norm, featured long instrumental stretches where the Bar-Kays stole the spotlight, and it introduced a new, iconic persona for soul with Hayes' tough yet sensual image. With the release of this album, Motown suddenly seemed manufactured and James Brown a bit too theatrical. Surprising many, the album features only four songs. The first, "Walk on By," is an epic 12-minute moment of true perfection, its trademark string-laden intro just dripping with syrupy sentiment, and the thumping mid-tempo drum beat and accompanying bassline instilling a complementary sense of nasty funk to the song; if that isn't enough to make it an amazing song, Hayes' almost painful performance brings yet more feeling to the song, with the guitar's heavy vibrato and the female background singers taking the song to even further heights. The following three songs aren't quite as stunning but are still no doubt impressive: "Hyperbolicsyllabicsequedalymistic" trades in sappy sentiment for straight-ahead funk, highlighted by a stomping piano halfway through the song; "One Woman" is the least epic moment, clocking in at only five minutes, but stands as a straightforward, well-executed love ballad; and finally, there's the infamous 18-minute "By the Time I Get to Phoenix" and its lengthy monologue which slowly eases you toward the climactic, almost-orchestral finale, a beautiful way to end one of soul's timeless, landmark albums, the album that transformed Hayes into a lifelong icon. ~ Jason Birchmeier
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Soul - Released February 8, 2010 | Legacy Recordings

Long, long past his stellar 1970s heyday, by the mid-'80s Isaac Hayes was foundering. He was certainly still the master of his style, but, thrust out of his era and trying to bridge the gap by updating his sound, much of his 1980s output proved to be a deal-breaker for his fans. U-Turn hit the racks in 1986 and, from the absence of charting singles, apparently stayed there. Leaving behind the funky grooves of yesteryear but promoting their sweet soul undercurrents to the very fore, Hayes contemporized his sound on the perky opener "If You Want My Lovin', Do Me Right." The title was comforting, but the synth pop sonics must have been a shock to die-hard fans. There are some excellent turns, most notably his wrenching cover of the Freddie King classic "Hey Girl," which itself follows the latest installment in Hayes' "Ike's Rap" series of messages. This time, upset by the rampant drug use building during the decade, Hayes imbibed "Ike's Rap VIII" with a strong anti-crack message. Also of note is Hayes' take on the Four Seasons' "Can't Take My Eyes off You," which emerges as a quiet ballad orchestrated à la the Isaac Hayes Experience. At the end of the day, however, and despite the precious nuggets to be found on the album, there are far better ways to sample Isaac Hayes' delicacies than U-Turn -- which leads, of course, to the inescapable truth that this isn't Hayes' best period -- period. ~ Amy Hanson
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R&B - Released May 19, 2017 | Stax

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R&B - Released November 18, 2016 | Stax

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R&B - Released November 18, 2016 | Stax

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R&B - Released November 18, 2016 | Stax

Hi-Res Booklet
This soundtrack was considerably lengthier and more varied than the one Hayes had released earlier in 1974 (Tough Guys), including Holiday Inn funk, a lugubrious vocal ("You're in My Arms Again"), and some jazz and blues riffs peppering the instrumental grooves. While the length ensured more variety, though, it also makes it a challenge to sit through the hour-plus program when you don't have images to fit the music. ~ Richie Unterberger
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R&B - Released November 18, 2016 | Stax

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R&B - Released November 18, 2016 | Stax

Hi-Res Booklet
You could expect Isaac Hayes to be in his element at a resort venue -- lounge soul was his forte, and this double album offers almost two hours of it. Hayes demonstrates his versatility by getting "Shaft" out of the way right off the bat and alternating between originals and covers of a wide range of tunes, including "Light My Fire," "Never Can Say Goodbye," "Rock Me Baby," "Stormy Monday Blues," "Feelin' Alright," and "It's Too Late" (yes, the Carole King song). Often these are linked together, of course, by Hayes' brotherly raps; for Bill Withers' "Ain't No Sunshine," he tests the limits, stretching the tune just past the ten-minute mark. The set has a funky lounge lizard charm, but it's too much to bear at once, except for the most devoted of fans. ~ Richie Unterberger
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Soul - Released November 18, 2016 | Stax

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Joy

R&B - Released November 18, 2016 | Stax

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Soul - Released November 18, 2016 | Stax

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Artist

Isaac Hayes in the magazine