Personnel: Isaac Hayes (vocals, piano, keyboards).
After 1975's classic Chocolate Chip and a strong production job for the Masqueraders album Everybody Wanna Live On, Hayes' subsequent work with ABC was often poorly executed and conceived, save for the one or two tracks that properly displayed his melodic genius. With his last ABC effort being a live album with Dionne Warwick that just didn't sell, some changes had to be made. This is the first effort for Polydor and it turned out to be successful partnership. With a new label, Hayes also began to record at Master Sound in Georgia rather than his studio in Memphis, Hot Buttered Soul. Both the label and locale switch seemed to freshen up his musical approach. This album didn't start off on the best footing, though. Hayes' ghastly disco-fied cover of "Stranger in Paradise" shows little trace of his arranging skills or song-picking abilities. The other dance tracks are markedly better. "Moonlight Lovin' (M‚nage … Trois)" has him doing Barry White one better by bringing an extra woman into the mix. With its playful rhythm and sweeping changes, he sang gleefully about the "the rendezvous of me and you and you" and said m‚nage … trois enough times that his "dates" thought it was their idea. On New Horizon Hayes turns in two of his best ballads. The meditative "Don't Take Your Love Away" has him going for more subtle surroundings in a style that suffered the most on his post-Chocolate Chip work. On "It's Heaven to Me" he displays a winning vulnerability, and it is easily one of the prettiest songs he ever recorded. Although some of the best tracks on New Horizon are available on compilations, the entire album is worth seeking out. ~ Jason Elias