Albums

Soul - Released May 4, 2018 | Freaksville Music

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Soul - Released January 1, 2016 | Concord Records, Inc. (UMG Account)

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Soul - Released January 1, 2016 | Stax

The title track employs "Shaft"-like guitar licks, but the similarity ends there: It's a lame attempt at disco done in by Ike's lazy singing and irritatingly banal lyrics. But it's the LP's only sore point. Ike returns to his roots on "Your Loving Is Much Too Strong," a slow, romantic ballad that he and his girls, Hot Buttered Soul Unlimited, make you feel. "Rock Me Easy Baby," a slinky, syncopated shuffle, has more groove appeal than the vaunted "Groove-A-Thon," mainly because Ike constructs it for maximum soul appeal by running it for more than eight exquisite minutes. The uptempo happy-in-love ditty "We've Got a Whole Lot of Love" showcases HBS' sterling voices. Ike shows a different side on the soft, longing "Wish You Were Here," whose horn arrangements and backing vocals are simultaneously enticing and titillating. After a weak opening, the album settles into a comfortable groove, ending splendidly with "Make a Little Love to Me." ~ Andrew Hamilton
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Soul - Released January 1, 2016 | Stax

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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Soul - Released November 18, 2016 | Concord Records, Inc. (UMG Account)

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Soul - Released November 18, 2016 | Concord Records, Inc. (UMG Account)

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Soul - Released November 18, 2016 | Stax

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
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Soul - Released November 18, 2016 | Concord Records, Inc. (UMG Account)

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Soul - Released April 29, 2016 | Concord Records, Inc.

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This 1974 soundtrack sounds pretty much like what you would expect -- period funk, mostly instrumental. It's much more effective as background to screen action than home listening, where it sounds like backing tracks in search of vocals, or incidental grooves that need much more flesh on their bones. ~ Richie Unterberger
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Soul - Released April 15, 2016 | Concord Records, Inc.

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Soul - Released July 15, 2014 | Dub Store Records

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Soul - Released January 1, 1976 | Concord Records, Inc.

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Soul - Released January 1, 2009 | Concord Records, Inc.

This is the follow-up to his successful 1975 album Chocolate Chip. But what was so enduring and skilled on that effort doesn't show up here. By 1973, Hayes' hitmaking skill became streaky. On this effort, he seems to be in a holding pattern. Hayes doesn't make any significant strides forward and fails to expound on the melodic richness of Chocolate Chip. This starts off with the title track. "Juicy Fruit (Disco Freak) is just one of those songs that had to happen. The song has no shame and features a two-minute intro of Hayes and his bandmembers at a "disco," whooping it up with some loud woman. Although this is the unquestionable nadir, with lyrics like "They say disco music is here to stay/And it will never go away," Hayes' trademark arranging skills bailed him out. By this time, Hayes' fans could tell one of his lackluster efforts from miles away. This is one. The ballad "Let's Don't Ever Blow Our Thing" clocking in at 6:08 is probably too long-winded for even his biggest fans. Being one of the more talented and underrated artists, Hayes was going to get one or two prime moments. The album's best track is the haunting "Lady of the Night." The song has Hayes perplexed and falling in love with a prostitute as he sings, "How many Johns have come and gone/I wonder but I really don't want to know." That track is about as interesting as Hayes is going to get here. This album was oddly reminiscent of his mid-'70s disappointments Tough Guys and Truck Turner. Hayes sounds a little distracted throughout, and without any big hits, this album quickly came and went. [Stax issued a remastered edition of the album in 2009.] ~ Jason Elias
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Soul - Released January 1, 1995 | Virgin Records

After about seven years of inactivity on the recording front, Isaac Hayes suddenly burst forth with two albums, the all-new Branded and this curious compilation of new and old instrumental tracks dating back about a quarter-century, we think. There is no documentation to help the inquisitive listener; all David Ritz's otherwise copious liner notes say is that some of these tunes are demos going back to his days at Stax, while others were newly recorded in Memphis. So all one can do is use one's ears to put approximate dates on the material. More often than not, the usual ingredients from Hayes' early-'70s heyday are in place -- the funky rhythm section in various states of arousal; Hayes noodling at the piano, organ, synthesizer, or even alto sax; a symphony orchestra often at hand. Yet most of the time, what one hears is a soundtrack in search of a movie -- one directionless vamp after another, setting the stage for scenes that never materialize. Some vamps are more interesting than others. "Memphis Trax" sounds like an extrapolation of "Grazing in the Grass," a fairly recent hit at the time this might have been recorded. "Soul Fiddle" generates some interest with its varied structure (is that Hayes on vibes in the center of the piece?). "Southern Breeze" comes the closest to a jazz session, though Hayes never does quite let go and burn. "The Birth of Shaft" is exactly that -- a vamp waiting to happen, waiting for the burst of inspiration (specifically, the signature wah-wah guitar riff) that would make the idea take off ("Funky Junky" actually comes closer to critical mass in that regard). Ah, but there is one vocal by Hayes, a deep, sexy rap over the languorous vamp of "You Make Me Live" -- and a female chorus adds some overtly seductive charm to "Making Love at the Ocean." This is minor Hayes in the grand scheme of things, a pleasant background disc -- and as such, it should have been offered at a lower price or as a bonus disc alongside Branded. ~ Richard S. Ginell
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Soul - Released January 1, 1974 | Concord Records, Inc. (UMG Account)

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Soul in the magazine