Isaac Hayes Wonderful
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- Released: January 10, 1995
- Originally Released: 1994
- Label: Stax
- 1.Ain't No Sunshine Listen Listen Listen
- 2.Rolling Down A Mountainside Listen Listen Listen
- 3.I Can't Help it (If I'm Still In Love With You) Listen Listen Listen
- 4.Wonderful Listen Listen Listen
- 5.Someone Made You For Me Listen Listen Listen
- 6.Ain't That Loving You (For More Reasons Than One) Listen Listen Listen
- 7.Baby I'm-A Want You Listen Listen Listen
- 8.The Mistletoe And Me Listen Listen Listen
- 9.Winter Snow
Song previews provided courtesy of iTunes
Personnel includes: Isaac Hayes (vocals, alto saxophone, keyboards).
Producers: Isaac Hayes, Al Bell, David Porter.
Recorded between 1970 & 1974. Includes liner notes by Lee Hildebrand.
Digitally remastered by Phil De Lancie (1994, Fantasy Studios, Berkeley, California).
Personnel: Isaac Hayes (vocals, alto saxophone, piano, keyboards).
Audio Remasterer: Phil DeLancie.
Liner Note Author: Lee Hildebrand.
Recording information: Los Angeles, CA (11/??/1970-08/20/1972).
Photographer: Norman Seeff.
Unknown Contributor Role: David Porter.
This odds-and-sods disc gathers nine cuts from a variety of non-LP sources -- including 7" 45 RPM-only releases and seasonal offerings, and kicks off with a quarter-hour-long reading of "Ain't No Sunshine," Isaac Hayes' contribution to the Wattstax (1973) Original Motion Picture soundtrack. As there are only a few vintage archival live recordings to feature Hayes' early-'70s work, every one is worthy of, at the very least, a cursory listen. The 112,000 gathered for Wattstax benefit can witness to the righteously funkified the Isaac Hayes Movementas the Black Moses of Soul headlined the day-long charity event. Prior to the release of his complete performance on the thoroughly excellent Isaac Hayes at Wattstax (2003), this show-stopping rendition was all that was available from that historic concert. Hayes includes a trademark spoken rap building up to the lyrics. His remarkable falsetto vocals during Sidney Kirk's (piano) solo take the track to another level, building in intensity, and is essential listening. Although Lee Hilderbrand's liner note essay claims that the redo of the Main Ingredients' "Rolling Down a Mountainside" is also from the Wattstax benefit, all aural evidence indicates that, while it may have been used in the documentary film and subsequently issued as a single, it is most likely, in fact, a studio recording. It features a four-on-the-floor pre-disco groove with a punchy horn and smart string arrangement. The achingly tender reworking of Hank Williams' "I Can't Help It (If I'm Still in Love With You)" -- featured on the flip side of "Never Can Say Goodbye," from the Black Moses set -- is worth the price of admission alone, as Hayes turns it into a rapturous, orchestrated tale of longing and unrequited love. This set takes it name from the chart-topping side "Wonderful," from the spring of 1974 -- which makes its debut on a Hayes' CD here. The seasonal single "The Mistletoe and Me" backed with "Winter Snow" is also nice to finally have in the digital domain. While Wonderful (1994) is a must-own for completist and serious enthusiasts, those looking for a definitive primer should point their attention toward Man!: The Ultimate Isaac Hayes 1969-1977 (2001). ~ Lindsay Planer
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