Hot Buttered Soul

If you feel like you want to make love
Under the stars above
Love on! Love on!

I was lucky enough to see the late, supremely great Isaac Hayes at the Brooklyn Bandshell in New York last June. Wow to the seventh power! I could tell he wasn't well. He walked very slowly (65 isn't really that old -- my mom speedwalks at 80). But his voice was in full force. The best part was when Hayes came center stage to conduct his band on 'Shaft'. The instrumental orchestration to 'Shaft' is so sharp and memorable, were conducting the band right along with Hayes: a unique and very cool way to experience a music event. After the orchestration, Hayes turned to the mike and sang "That man Shaft is a baaaaad muthafucka!!!!!" The crowd howled in delirium. Afterwards, we just showered Isaac with love, respect and applause.

Hot Buttered Soul was a revolutionary, nearly perfect concept album that instantly transformed Hayes into a superstar. It's the completely absorbing cure for attention-deficit disorder. You can't help but focus on Hayes' every word and note from the first track through the last. Just check out the balls and boldness of that album cover! This is how it's done, folks.

Hayes was a major influence on me as a kid. I first started to play music by pecking out the notes to Isaac Hayes' instrumentals on the piano. When my parents saw me lost in the twilight zone playing air guitar (actually a broomstick) to 'Do Your Own Thing', they decided to buy me a bass guitar to bring me back to reality -- a decision they came to regret.

Isaac Hayes also starred as 'The Duke' in one of my favorite all-time films. In John Carpenter's Escape From New York, society has abandoned New York City, turned it into a prison colony and thrown all criminals in the country into the colony. The state prison guards never enter the colony; they patrol the borders in choppers shooting any prisoners trying to escape. Inside the colony, the prisoners have total control. In this primal world, the perfectly cast Hayes rises to supreme coolness as ganglord king of the prison colony who kidnaps the President of the United States.

No comments: