Isaac Hayes 

The Ultimate Isaac Hayes: Can You Dig It?

So you think you know Issac Hayes? Think again. This deluxe anthology is not definitively comprehensive, but is nonetheless the most historically relevant “best-of” compilation yet created around everybody’s favorite bald genius from Memphis. The two audio discs include his signature solo work for Stax and his subsequent Hot Buttered Soul/ABC label, plus vintage unreleased live cover-recordings of ‘If Loving You is Wrong’, ‘Brand New Me’ and ‘His Eye is On the Sparrow’. As you’d expect, hits like ‘The Theme from Shaft’, and ‘By The Time I Get to Phoenix’ (the first R&B single longer than four minutes to get regular rotation on national black radio) loom large but fail to eclipse equally innovative if less crossover-ready classics like ‘Do Your Thing’, and ‘Joy (Part 1)’. A bonus DVD offers the animated video of Hayes as South Park’s Chef crooning ‘Chocolate Salty Balls’, juxtaposed against performance footage culled from the 1972 concert film Wattstax in which soul music’s Black Moses headlined an all-star benefit concert commemorating the 1965 Watts riots. Before becoming voice talent for South Park put Ike back on the radar for today’s teens, this practicing Scientologist pioneered the R&B “concept album,” became the first black composer to win the Oscar for a film score, and was invited to Ghana to be officially inducted into a hereditary line of tribal kings. Radio jock, session man, producer, record exec, African royalty, community activist, and cult animation hero, there’s little on Issac’s extended resume that is not reflected in this must-have commemorative set.    

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