A staff songwriter with the legendary Stax label, Isaac Hayes, with partner David Porter, composed material for many of the company's artists, including Sam And Dave, Carla Thomas and Johnnie Taylor. Frustrated with this backroom role, he began recording in his own right, and with Hot Buttered Soul, redefined the notion of soul music. Although the tracks were lengthy, there was no sense of self-indulgence, each one evolving over sensual rhythms and taut arrangements. Hayes' vocal anticipated the 'rap' genre of Barry White and Millie Jackson without slipping into self-parody, lending an air of sophistication to a highly influential collection.
ReviewsBy 1969, black artists were following rock's lead and recording extended epics. At the forefront of such experimentation was big bad Isaac Hayes, coauthor of countless Stax classics and an artist in his own right. On this, his second album, Hayes takes two MOR-pop benchmarks, Burt Bacharach's "Walk On By" and Jimmy Webb's "By the Time I Get to Phoenix," and spins them out into slow-building sermons lasting 12 and 18.5 minutes apiece. Heavily romantic, they predate by two years Barry White's symphonic adventures in the same style, revolutionizing soul music in the process. Meanwhile, on the album's third epic, the 10-minute "Hyperbolicsyllabicsesquedalymistic," Hayes and his backing band the Bar-Kays wind up sounding, bizarrely, like a black Crazy Horse. --Barney Hoskyns