Personnel includes: Isaac Hayes (vocals, arranger, keyboards); Barry White (vocals); Pat Lewis (background vocals); The Bar-Kays.
Producers include: Al Bell, Marvell Thomas, Allen Jones, Barry White, Jack Perry.
Compilation producer: Dana G. Smart.
Recorded between 1969 & 1991. Includes liner notes by Steven Ivory.
Liner Note Author: Steven Ivory.
Arrangers: Dale Warren; Isaac Hayes; Johnny Allen.
"Theme from Shaft" aside, Isaac Hayes' greatest successes have been in his ability to recast popular love songs into sensual epics of sexual tension and release, painting sonic masterpieces by skillfully mixing slow, funky rhythms with lush string and horn arrangements, all integrated with the sound of his ever-present Hammond B-3 organ. His versions of Burt Bacharach and Hal David's twin classics "Walk On By" and "The Look of Love" are perfect examples of Hayes' approach, as he breathes and half-talks his way through the slow-burning, atmospheric arrangements, totally redefining both songs into epic tales of lust and longing. Unfortunately, the version of "Walk On By" included on this collection is the single edit, which severely undercuts its effectiveness, but the version of "The Look of Love" included here is the 11-minute album track, and it shows how Hayes' vision completely recasts the idea of a torch song. Another good example of this epic revisionism is Hayes' take on Jerry Butler's "'I Stand Accused," which appears here in its extended album mix. "By the Time I Get to Phoenix," the nearly 20-minute re-imagining of Jimmy Webb's simultaneously helpless and hopeful love song, is unfortunately not on this compilation, probably because its long spoken word introduction makes it a difficult song to pare down for a single-disc release like this one, but it remains Hayes' most innovative arrangement, single-handedly paving the way for Barry White's career. White appears on the final track here, by the way, an extended duet with Hayes called "Dark and Lovely (You Over There)" from the 1991 album Put Me in Your Mix. Lacking "Theme from Shaft" and "By the Time I Get to Phoenix," this collection can't be considered a comprehensive introduction to the music of Isaac Hayes, but it stands as a remarkably cohesive collection of the most atmospheric and sensual music for a romantic evening you'll ever hear. ~ Steve Leggett