Living Blues - p.62
"JUICY FRUIT is one of the few Hayes albums written entirely by Hayes and includes several noteworthy songs including 'Let's Don't Ever Blow Our Thing,' 'The Storm Is Over' and 'Music To Make Love By.'"
Record Collector (magazine) - p.943 stars out of 5
-- "1976's JUICY FRUIT (DISCO FREAK) reveals an artist still capable of capturing the times."
This is the follow-up to his successful 1975 album Chocolate Chip. But what was so enduring and skilled on that effort doesn't show up here. By 1973, Hayes' hitmaking skill became streaky. On this effort, he seems to be in a holding pattern. Hayes doesn't make any significant strides forward and fails to expound on the melodic richness of Chocolate Chip. This starts off with the title track. "Juicy Fruit (Disco Freak) is just one of those songs that had to happen. The song has no shame and features a two-minute intro of Hayes and his bandmembers at a "disco," whooping it up with some loud woman. Although this is the unquestionable nadir, with lyrics like "They say disco music is here to stay/And it will never go away," Hayes' trademark arranging skills bailed him out. By this time, Hayes' fans could tell one of his lackluster efforts from miles away. This is one. The ballad "Let's Don't Ever Blow Our Thing" clocking in at 6:08 is probably too long-winded for even his biggest fans. Being one of the more talented and underrated artists, Hayes was going to get one or two prime moments. The album's best track is the haunting "Lady of the Night." The song has Hayes perplexed and falling in love with a prostitute as he sings, "How many Johns have come and gone/I wonder but I really don't want to know." That track is about as interesting as Hayes is going to get here. This album was oddly reminiscent of his mid-'70s disappointments Tough Guys and Truck Turner. Hayes sounds a little distracted throughout, and without any big hits, this album quickly came and went. [Stax issued a remastered edition of the album in 2009.] ~ Jason Elias