Isaac Hayes hit the big time, both as a musician and the creator of the music for the film Shaft here, way back in 1971. It is a rare oddity that a dual fate for this awesome man existed in both the music and the movie world. The album here is seen as a good one, being recognised by many as a stone cold classic. Let’s take a listen to this album, and see if it is still up to scratch today.
We begin with the track Theme From Shaft which begins with some pacing hi-hats, followed quickly by wah-wah guitar that is really awesome and expertly played. The track itself is very Funk/Disco oriented and somewhat cinematic in appeal, but sounds really great. A decent old school piece that sounds really excellent, Isaac Hayes blew many other artists out of the water here. There indeed is a real Funky feel to this track, and it will always be remembered as the piece of music to light up the opening scenes of the film. Eventually, some interesting singing and lyricism enter, and this piece is really quite cool. An excellent piece of music that must be heard, even if you are not really into Funk or Disco styled sounds. The guitar playing here in particular is awesome, and this piece is very, very good, finishing before you want it to. Great start to the album.
Next along is Bumpy’s Lament which begins with some unusual organ, expertly done bass guitar playing and a fine sense of musicality here. It is a much shorter and Jazzier piece, being just under two minutes long. A really great and cool listening experience, this is definitely different from a lot of the music out there, yet is very movie based and picturesque. Miles Davis would dig this music, surely?
Walk From Regio’s is another short piece that is spot on with the playing by Isaac Hayes and co. There are some wonderful instruments and instrumentation in here. The sounds here are somewhat akin to how EDM today is structured, obviously Isaac Hayes was a music man ahead of time. Really excellent listening, it points ahead to the future with Disco based music of Saturday Night Fever. Classy, elegant and different, this music does extremely well. Excellent work.
Ellie’s Love Theme arrives next and is a very slow, tranquil and gorgeous listen. It sounds very slow and sleazy, in a way that other music does not. A really awesome listen here that sounds really cool, it no doubt fits the movie scenes here perfectly this soundtrack. Great listening, and very lovely to hear, this is a nice, slow and romantic movie scene style piece. Excellent work from start to finish, and still sounds decent and relevant today. A really cool and good listening experience.
Next along is Shaft’s Cab Ride which is only a minute long. Still, it sounds nicely delivered, with piano, guitar, horns and other awesome instrumentation here that makes this piece very cool and lively. Great music here, even if it is only an intermission styled piece. Great Fender Stratocaster sounding guitar work is here.
Following is the six minute piece Café Regio’s which has a Latin american music feel to it, notably in the percussion. Some great guitar playing is here, straight off, which is really great and awesome to hear. This piece is really great, melodic and lovely listening. In fact, this whole film soundtrack is very, very good and shows that when Isaac Hayes faced a musical challenge such as making music for a film like this, he succeeds strikingly. The guitar is very prominent throughout this piece of music, and just sounds like these guys knew their music very well. A combination of Pop, Rock, Jazz, Funk and a fresh sense of musical creation is present throughout this album. Great music here, and the guitar tone here is really fantastic. Excellent sounds are here, and the horns play a sort of call-and-response here as well with the guitar leads. Nice music, towards the end this whole piece is very slowly faded out. Beautiful, brilliant and bold, Isaac Hayes did very well here. Nice job.
Early Sunday Morning comes next, and begins with some sparse instrumentation, before launching into a very slow (but not boring) piece of music that sounds reassuring. Indeed, this album shines very bright and the playing, even on some of the shorter tracks as this one, is really awesome. Great music and very interesting arrangements here, a dual saxophone and guitar solo played in sync are here as well. Excellent music and sound here, this is a really great listening experience here which is very, very good.
Be Yourself follows and is a really cool slice of brassy, Funky Pop music instrumental that is really awesome and excellent. A very great and lively piece of music, this is a grand piece of music no doubt perfectly suited for the film at hand. Some glorious saxophone is in this as well, with a very nice solo from said instrument. Great, seemingly effortless and incredible sounding, this is a great musical piece here that never gets old. Awesome music and sounds here, with a relentless groove to it as well. It fades out nicely.
Next up is A Friend’s Place is a cool and more Jazz inspired piece here, sounding more unusual than you’d expect here. Some laidback guitar parts are here to hear, along with some very Burt Bacharach style instrumentation here. Excellent stuff, even though the majority of songs on this album are obviously cut for film scenes. An excellent listening experience, this does sound great. Really good to hear, towards the end is a really tremendously good saxophone solo to listen to. Another great piece of music here.
Following is Soulsville which is another great piece with some awesome guitar playing. This one has some very nice vocals here, which is a welcome change from the instrumentals. It’s a socially conscious talk about living in poverty and dealing with not having enough money. Great song, and just sounds really well done and expertly composed by Isaac Hayes. Very good piece of music, and quite touching, too. It ends with some nice, casual saxophone again. Great song.
No Name Bar comes along next, and is another groovy piece of music that is very, very 1970s. Excellent sounds are here, and this is a really fresh and decent listen, complete with flute and other horn instrumentation to grab your attention. Although this music sounds very 1970s, it is still as good and interesting a listen today as well as it was back in 1971. Brilliant effort by Isaac Hayes, this sounds very, very good. A very good listening experience, even for a film instrumental. The drumming here is powerful and energetic. In the middle is a keyboard solo that sounds interesting, and this takes up some time in the song, before launching back into the main song section at hand. Brilliant effort here, even for an instrumental. Excellent music and musicianship.
Bumpy’s Blues comes along next, with a piano intro in the left channel. Shortly into it, this piece gets underway nicely, sounding really excellent and beautiful, too. Some really great wah-wah guitar is here as well, and played really brilliantly. A good combination of lead, rhythm and song craftsmanship, Isaac Hayes shows the world how it is done. More great saxophone is here as well. Really excellent music here, this is a nice instrumental piece that sounds terrific. Excellent music and sounds here, Isaac Hayes and co. do music very nicely. Another great listen.
Next in line is Shaft Strikes Again which is a short three minute piece that has an unusual groove, but in much of the same sonic context as the other songs here. Even though this is film music, Isaac Hayes puts in 100% to all the music he has made here. Excellent songs and sounds, this does come across as a genuinely good effort. Somewhat like the African-American Funk/Soul/Disco instrumental Frank Sinatra, Isaac Hayes crafts new territories here. Great piece, very different and original all the same. It ends with some bass guitar harmonics, excellent stuff.
By far the longest piece here is the 19 minute plus track Do Your Thing. It begins with horns, trippy keyboard and other nice textures that just sound great. Some timeless lyrics and singing then enter, making this piece a quintessential listen. Somewhat Psychedelic in orientation and sound, this is definitely different in a good way. It’s a post-Hippie statement that sounds really timeless, classy and cool here. The processed tremolo effect electric guitar sound here is really good. The whole piece is a musically adventurous and wonderful listen, and is a great and timeless effort. This is no doubt one of the quintessential 1970s album releases, and this song is one of the many reasons why so. The guitar solo here is really scorching and insane, and is so well played you’d be confusing Isaac Hayes and co. for The Jimi Hendrix Experience. A really great, timeless and awesome listen, this is really excellent sonically. Although it is quite clear the length of this song is to mainly show the world how the electric guitar can (and arguably should) be played, the rest of the band back up the sonic environment here nicely. Excellent piece of music that progresses very nicely. This is a superb piece of music that just sounds really great. Listen to this with an open mind. Really excellent and gifted music and musicians are here to listen to, so do yourself a favour and hear this today. All the band members here are on fine form. The song title is chanted here at times, for dramatic effect. In the second half, things go subtle and a bit odd, before launching into a fairly weird piece of song section here. A really cool piece of music is here for your pleasure in listening, and although the second half of this piece is quite weird, it is still a really cool listen. Great stuff, the wah-wah guitar here is so brilliantly done that it rivals anyone else who has played around with wah-wah, before or since. An excellent and very interesting piece of music. The whole thing goes subdued towards the end, before slowing right down and some pseudo-sexual sounds are here. The guitar then kickstarts a frenzied outro to this piece, and just sounds energetic and brilliant. Some cool guitar harmonics then are played, before some fuzz bass and organ sounds finish this off. A great piece of music, without a doubt. It ends with a scratched vinyl sound.
The End Theme is a return to the title track, albeit briefly. It’s only two minutes long, but refreshingly good to hear and closes the album quite nicely. Great stuff, this sounds really good and marvelous, once again. Good tune.
Theme From Shaft is another take on the brilliant title track, which honestly needn’t be here, yet again. Still, it sounds fresh and energetic, if not a little rough for listening to, this take. By now, it is easy to hear why this album is an instant classic in the history of music. Great stuff, and is a good take on the classic song. Excellent music overall, and a good quality listen of an album.
If you like Funk, Soul and Disco all meshed into one brilliant soundtrack that isn’t Saturday Night Fever, this is your album. Recognised as an instant classic upon release, Shaft went to #1 in the USA and was the peak of Isaac Hayes’s career. Do not delay, check this out if you are keen on this sort of mixing pot of music.
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