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Isaac Hayes - Hot Buttered Soul
HotButteredSoul.jpg


Somebody find me an album with only four tracks after the 70s, cos I really cannot think of any. And why would you like to put more than 4 when you can make something like "Hot Buttered Soul" in that exact amount of songs. Yes, "By the Time I Get to Phoenix" takes nearly 19 minutes, and "Walk on By" is 12, so most record companies would have trouble now convincing radio stations to air songs that are over 3 minutes. The audience has been (mis)educated to listen only to simplified music, which does make a lot of sense in these days of "pay-per-song": the more songs you can pack in broadcast time, the more money you make out of it. I've always thought a record is more than a collection of songs, or at least good records are. Take Marvin Gaye's "What's Going On", for example. Even if you only like one or two tracks there, the experience of listening to it from beginning to end is just not the same as picking only the bits you like. If you do not buy chapters in a book, scenes in a movie, or parts of a painting, why should you get only a couple of songs in a record?

Having said this, let me also make clear that any of the songs present here are absolutey worth it. The Bar-Kays are behind the rythm section, and do they know how to do their work, those long instrumentals are just terrific. The album opens with "Walk on By", an incredible song for the time it was written. "Hyperbolicsyllabicsequedalymistic" is a powerful funk, followed by the more conventional but still beautiful ballad "One Woman". Having a special weakness for Hayes' theatrical (histrionic, some would say) style, my personal favorite in the album has always been "By the Time I Get to Phoenix", the perfect ending for one of the greatest soul albums. You gotta love a guy who makes a monologue like the one in this song and still takes himself seriously!

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