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Greatest Hit Singles (Remastered)

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Album Review

One of the best-available Isaac Hayes compilation, Greatest Hit Singles bypasses a couple of his later disco hits, but the result is a more unified sound that helps illustrate why Hayes was so important to the development of '70s soul. Of course, a major part of his legacy consists of the epic-length suites that helped usher R&B into the album age, and that facet of his work is necessarily underrepresented here. But as a concise, easily digestible introduction to Hayes' work, Greatest Hit Singles is indispensable. Hayes may have been a master of mood and flow when he crafted his albums, but his innovative, slow-building style also lent itself to indulgence. Greatest Hit Singles presents just what the title suggests — the single versions of these songs, which prune away Hayes' excesses and boil his core sound down to the bare essentials. Even if this doesn't capture the full scope of his talents, it still gives a sense of Hayes' genius as an arranger and the groundwork he laid for the R&B love-man archetype. There's only one of his trademark "raps" here, on "By the Time I Get to Phoenix," which is slimmed down to seven minutes. Everything else clocks in under five, which usually involves heavy editing. Oddly, for one of the most accomplished soul songwriters of the '60s, Hayes' solo hits tended to be covers; only four of the 12 tracks here are Hayes originals, and two of those were movie themes. His vision as a solo artist lay more in the elaborate presentation and, often, reimagination of his repertoire. If you want to experience the full-length versions, see Stax's two volumes of The Best of Isaac Hayes, or buy the original albums. But for a more concentrated dose of Hayes at his best, Greatest Hit Singles is hard to beat.

Customer Reviews

The Black Moses Experience...

I feel so privileged to have seen Isaac in concert nearly half a dozen times, even at the point where his health was visibly starting to fail him on-stage. But at his best, the man gave you a ninety-minute show that felt like it was crammed with three hours' worth of music. I mourn his loss, but am sadder still for those who will never get a chance to hear how fantastic this man was LIVE. As good as this collection is, do yourself a favor and seek out the full versions of his early albums: "Hot, Buttered and Soul", "To Be Continued", "Black Moses" and of course, the eponymous "Shaft" soundtrack. What you get here is but a tickle and a taste. Make sure you move on to enjoy the entire R&B buffet of his work with Stax/Enterprise (now on the Fantasy label.) Rest in peace, Mr. Hayes. You definitely earned it.

MAN another Good one dies

Isaac Hayes dies today 8\10\08 may he rest in peace what a shame had a great voice

RIP Isaac

Ill miss you chef

Biography

Born: August 20, 1942 in Covington, TN

Genre: R&B/Soul

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

Few figures exerted greater influence over the music of the 1960s and 1970s than Isaac Hayes; after laying the groundwork for the Memphis soul sound through his work with Stax-Volt Records, Hayes began a highly successful solo career which predated not only the disco movement but also the evolution of rap. Hayes was born on August 20, 1942, in Covington, TN; his parents died during his infancy, and he was raised by his grandparents. After making his public debut singing in church at the age of five,...
Full Bio