Personnel includes: Isaac Hayes (vocals, acoustic & electric pianos, organ, keyboards, vibraphone, marimba, xylophone, triangle, tambourine, finger cymbals, bells); Barry White (vocals, keyboards, bass, drums); Michael Toles, Charles Pitts (guitar); Lester Snell (electric piano, Fender Rhodes piano, keyboards); Randy Waldman (keyboards); James Alexander, Ronald Hudson (bass); Willie Hall (drums, tambourine, percussion); Gary Jones (bongos, congas); Hot Buttered Soul Unlimited, The Masqueraders (background vocals); The Bar-Kayes, The Memphis Strings & Horns.
Producers include: Al Bell, Marvell Thomas, Allen Jones, Barry White, Isaac Hayes.
Compilation producer: Dana G. Smart.
Includes liner notes by Steven Ivory.
Digitally remastered by Erick Labson (Universal Mastering Studios-West).
Personnel: Isaac Hayes (vocals, piano, electric piano, organ, vibraphone); Charles "Skip" Pitts, William Vaughn, Kim Palumu, Michael Toles, Otis Williams (guitar); Emerson Able, Bill Easley (alto saxophone); Darrell Smith, Tommy Lee Williams, Lewis Collins (tenor saxophone); Floyd Newman (baritone saxophone); Mickey Gregory , William Taylor , Ben Cauley (trumpet); Jackie Thomas, Jack Hale (trombone); Lester Snell (electric piano, Fender Rhodes piano, keyboards); Barry White (keyboards, drums); Travis Biggs, Jesse Butler, Gene Page, Cedric Lawson, Bill Purse, Marvell Thomas, Randy Waldman (keyboards); Willie Hall (drums, tambourine, percussion); Gary Jones (congas, bongos); Jimmy Thompson (congas); Daniel Ben Zebulon (percussion); Diane Davis, Rose Williams, Debra Carter, Pat Lewis, The Masqueraders (background vocals).
Recording information: North Star Studios, Master Sound Studios, Atlanta, GA; Stax Records, Ardent Recording Studio, Hot Buttered Sou.
Arranger: Johnny Allen.
ULTIMATE COLLECTION culls 16 of Isaac Hayes's best-known tracks, including, of course, the magnificent SHAFT theme. With its wah-wah guitar-driven rhythm and too-cool conversational phrasing, "Theme from SHAFT" has become a template for Blaxploitation fare, but it is the song's tastefully arranged strings and stabbing horn charts that truly indicate Hayes's aesthetic. A composer and arranger of remarkable skill, Hayes (with long-time associate Johnny Allen) brought an elegant flare to everything he touched.
This is evidenced on funky Hayes originals "Do Your Thing," with its smoldering downtempo vibe, and the love song "Joy--Pt. 1." But Hayes is equally adept as an interpreter of others' material, and his readings of Clifton Davis's "Never Can Say Goodbye" and the Bacharach-David-penned "Walk on By," for example, bear the distinctive Hayes-Allen production stamp, placing Hayes's versions of these songs among the best. That Hayes is just as comfortable reworking a James Taylor song ("Don't Let Me Be Lonely Tonight") as he is dueting with Barry White ("Dark and Lovely [You Over There])" is testament to his range and confidence as a stylist. ULTIMATE COLLECTION is a fine place for the uninitiated to get their feet wet before exploring more of Hayes's discography.