If you’ve been wondering what DJ Platurn was about to create next in his bag of clever remixes and edits, here’s the new. He takes on “Walk On By”, Isaac Hayes’ cover of the Dionne Warwick classic and turns it into not only an edit, but an “extended edit”. You can obtain the song by clicking to the Soundcloud page directly, perfect for listening, including in radio shows or DJ sets. You’ll make it work, trust me. The edit includes the “Name Your Price” option so show support and give what you feel the mix deserves.
This one I noticed a few weeks ago, and with the two new installments of Covered I posted tonight, I was reminded of this. Isaac Hayes released a double album in 1971 called Black Moses, which was released four months after his soundtrack to the movie Shaft. Hayes was high and mighty with popularity during this time, so naturally people flocked to Black Moses to see and hear what he would do next.
Last week, production duo Blue Sky Black Death and rapper Nacho Picasso released an album through Bandcamp called Exalted. When I saw the cover, I immediately thought of Black Moses. A few of you may be looking at this and going “I don’t see it”. Here’s the deal.
When you bought the original double album for Hayes’ Black Moses, its gatefold cover would unfold with four more panels, revealing the shape of a cross, with Hayes showing himself as a holy man. What Nacho Picasso has done was pay homage to this cover by doing the same thing, but adding a few new graphics while retaining the suggested power of the original. In Nacho’s case, he simply applied his face to the actual Hayes cover, as the hands, rope, and belt are exactly that of Hayes.
Nonetheless, for fans of laid back hip-hop that’s loose and funky, perhaps with a slight Lil’ Wayne vibe with a pinch of Divine Styler and Big Gipp, but done with a Seattle mindstate, you’ll like Exalted.
Good funk is good, great funk even better, and we all know that funk is its own reward. But occasionally there is a bit of mystery in the funk, especially when you’re not sure why it was made. Case in point, The Memphis Sounds.
There are a lot of soul and funk bands from around the world, showing their love of the music from the late 1960’s and throughout the 1970’s. Isaac Hayes is a legend, so it seems only fitting that the man is honored with what is essentially at tribute album. The Memphis Sounds are not from Memphis, but rather is a collection of musicians who normally find themselves in The Dap Kings, Antibalas, and El Michels Affair. It’s a mystery because the album cover looks like one of those cheapy cash-in covers Laff Records were known for, and nowhere on the cover does it indicate it’s an all-star album. In other words, you have to really dig deep to find out who The Memphis Sounds are.
Now that you know who the musicians are, perhaps it makes sense why some of these renditions would have fit perfectly on an Antibalas, El Michels Affair, or Dap-Tone LP, especially when things move into Afrobeat form. Some of Hayes’ best songs were merely renditions of other people’s songs, so what you are hearing here are new versions of Hayes’ own revisions. Sounds odd, but it works.
Sample junkies will find this album worthy, for there are enough funky moments that would be perfect for any new songs. It would be cool of someone released this album as a box set of 45’s, because it’s that cool. It’s the music of Isaac Hayes in rustic funk mode, and yes it is a bad mother.
Anyone who has listened to hip-hop for the last 20 years knows about the influence the Stax catalog has had on hip-hop production, whether it’s Albert King‘s “Cold Feet”, Sam & Dave‘s “I Thank You”, or Rufus Thomas‘s “Sophisticated Sissy”. While there have been a small number of unofficial compilations honoring this exchange, including all of the Shaolin Soul compilations that examine the songs used by The RZA, Stax is finally doing something about it by releasing Stax: The Soul Of Hip-Hop Vol. 1. An older generation may not realize that their classic songs have been reinterpreted into brand new songs, and it has been that way for the last 20 years or so. This comp taps into some of those sources so that both young and old audiences, as well as future heads, will know where these sounds came from. Here’s the official track listing:
1. 24-CARAT BLACK – “Ghetto: Misfortune’s Wealth”
2. THE EMOTIONS – “Blind Alley”
3. BOOKER T. & THE MGs – “Melting Pot”
4. THE BAR-KAYS – “Humpin’”
5. THE DRAMATICS – “Get Up and Get Down”
6. ISAAC HAYES – “Hyperbolicsyllabicsesquedalymistic”
7. ISAAC HAYES – “Hung Up On My Baby”
8. DAVID PORTER – “I’m Afraid the Masquerade Is Over”
9. WENDY RENE – “After the Laughter (Comes Tears)”
10. CHARMELS – “As Long As I’ve Got You”
11. THE SWEET INSPIRATIONS – “Why Marry”
12. RUFUS THOMAS – “Do the Funky Penguin (Part 1)”
13. LITTLE MILTON – “Packed Up and Took My Mind”
14. WILLIAM BELL – “I Forgot To Be Your Lover”
If you know your tracks, you can see that a few of them were chosen because of their Wu-Tang Clan usage, such as Wendy Rene‘s “After The Laughter (Comes Tears)”, Charmels‘s “As Long As I’ve Got You”, and The Sweet Inspirations‘ “Why Marry” (the latter of which was used for Raekwon‘s “Criminology”:
The CD will be released on April 28th and is available from CD Universe
My review of the two new Isaac Hayes remasters is up and running at Okayplayer, take a look.
Vinyl junkies should already have these albums, maybe multiple copies, but Concord (who purchased the entire non-Atlantic Stax catalog years ago) will be reissuing two classics by soul legend Isaac Hayes on February 24th.
Black Moses is the classic 1971 2-record set, known for its great music as much as it is known for its cover art. Upon ripping the cellophane, you could unfold the panels into a cross, showing Hayes in his robe as the holy man of music. This new 2CD reissue, newly remastered and featuring liner notes by Rob Bowman, will duplicate the original panels. The album featured a number of classics, including his renditions of “Never Can Say Goodbye”, “(They Long To Be) Close To You”, “Going In Circles”, “Never Gonna Give You Up”, and “I’ll Never Fall In Love Again”, some of which have become sample fodder for countless hip-hop DJ’s and producers in the last 20 years. No bonus tracks unfortunately.
Juicy Fruit (Disco Freak) is the album he recorded when Stax finally closed shop, moving over to ABC with his own boutique label, Hot Buttered Soul. It wasn’t as popular as the albums he did in the first half of the 1970’s, but it did pave the way for what he would do for the remainder of the decade. It may have turned off a few diehard soul and funk fans, but time has allowed it to simmer a bit so that people can take in the flavors from afar. This is the first time the album has been released on compact disc, and it features liner notes by Bill Dahl.
You can pre-order both of them right now through the following links, courtesy of CD Universe: