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Isaac Hayes was one of the most influential figures of the Stax Records sound. His songwriting talents made him one of the greatest soul singers of all time. His work and that of David Porter extended the songwriting partnership to a Grammy winning and Platinum selling partnership. When they were together, they wrote songs which matched the quality of the artists they produced. Many cover versions of their songs were written by others but some were transformed into soul classics.
Following the success of Hot Buttered Soul, Isaac Hayes decided to concentrate on his solo career. This marked the end of his songwriting partnership with David Porter. However, one of the last songs they wrote was The Sweeter He Is (Parts 1 and 2) which was recorded by The Soul Children. It featured on their 1969 eponymous debut album when it was released on Stax Records. This beautiful song features a heartfelt vocal thats bristling with emotion and is full of intensity. Its a timeless track and was, without doubt, one of the highlights of the album.
Finally, thanks to Ace Records and Stax Music, you can also get the DVD Hall Of Fame. This is a stunning and essential collection of Isaac Hayes s music and is a must for any Isaac Hayes fan. Featuring a documentary, remastered video and soundtracks, interviews, and out takes, the DVD is a collection of soul treasures. No other musical career can boast so many highs and lows, and it gives insight into his career from his early years on the streets of Philadelphia to his induction into the Songwriters Hall of Fame.
So as this gentle sowing to absent minds continues, we turn the pages again, to the release of the third original and third of Isaac Hayes Stax album, Blind Alley. As 1967 went by, he shifted both his focus and his backing. His backing changed from backing for Southern soul men (the most important members of his catalogue are Stax chart toppers Bless You and Ooh Child) to being the new kingpin at the Stax label. This was backed by a jazz and pop fusion sound. In the same year, Hayes cut his first solo hit, Walk On By, which would be his first of seven Top 10 hits. But for now, let’s see how Isaac Hayes did on the charts. Blind Alley was issued June 8, 1967. The album would get to number seven on the Billboard 200 and number three on the Billboard R&B chart. Not bad for a slow week at the beginning of the summer.
Push has a fresh, raw and innocent feel to it with its rock tinged sound and energetic direction. Toto Iglesias were a quintet at the time that toured the UK to support their second album Ragamuffin. The sound here is a far cry from the albums own in the mid-sixties, as there are no slick, slick arrangements here but a percolation of pianos, sax, Mellotron and rock drumming. The only other American artist that the band ever worked with is Isaac Hayes. Hayes original version of I Can Try was a smash hit and would appear on both albums but it was his first version that was used here, recorded on the evening of the presidential election in 1966 with the man and his mother.
Wrapping up, we have a very obscure release that we suspect is not the first time Isaac Hayes has re-recorded this instrumental. Debuting June 11, the single is called Promises, Promises. The story behind the track is very intriguing to us. An elevator of an apartment building is out of order, and the boys are left to amuse themselves by singing to The Drifters on the outdoor elevator. Hayes explains: \”I can still remember the feeling of sitting on top of the elevator and looking over the side, singing, ‘I’ve got a new love, I’ve got a new love / and I can’t let her go.’\” The song would become a staple of Hayes’ live set, that was until his falling out with Stax and subsequent solo career. A few years later, Hayes would record the track again on the soundtrack of the made-for-TV movie, The Comedians.