Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Isaac Hayes

  • Hot Buttered Soul [Enterprise, 1969] C
  • The Isaac Hayes Movement [Enterprise, 1970] C
  • Shaft [Enterprise, 1971] C+
  • Live at the Sahara [Enterprise, 1973] B-
  • Branded [Pointblank, 1995] Neither

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Consumer Guide Reviews:

Hot Buttered Soul [Enterprise, 1969]
This album is a smash, and it may be so overstated that it has its own validity--a baroque, luscious production job over the non-singing of one half of Sam & Dave's production-songwriting team. C

The Isaac Hayes Movement [Enterprise, 1970]
I admit that his arrangements can be "interesting"--my my my, a gypsy fiddle on "Something"--but they'd be more so at a less stately pace than four songs per LP. And if his voice is best displayed when he talks, why doesn't he do a whole album of raps like the one preceding "I Stand Accused"? Might be pretty funny. C

Shaft [Enterprise, 1971]
Pretty rhythmic for a soundtrack--if a backup band played this stuff before the star-of-our-show came on you wouldn't get bored until midway into the second number. Proving that not only do black people make better pop-schlock movies than white people, they also make better pop-schlock music. As if we didn't know. C+

Live at the Sahara [Enterprise, 1973]
I like Ike live because he makes fun of himself, but though I hear the patrons laughing I miss his turquoise tights. Can't even say I wish I'd been there--not in Tahoe, thanks. But the band is crisp and funky, and he does talk more on stage than on record if you can believe that, and I even find "Rock Me Baby" sexy myself. Not "First Time Ever I Saw Your Face," though. B-

Branded [Pointblank, 1995] Neither