One of the better and more thoughtful Isaac Hayes compilations, Ultimate Isaac Hayes: Can You Dig It? is a three-disc (two CDs and one DVD) set that covers his years on Stax. There's a wide range of material here, from singles to deep album cuts, that provide a very representative look at these years, and Stax is even wise enough to include "I Stand Accused" and "Walk on By" in their full 12-minute versions. Only minor quibbles could be made with the selections. The third disc, a DVD, contains three songs performed by Hayes at Wattstax. And then there's the cherry -- er, some other spherical object -- on top: Hayes' performance of Chef's "Chocolate Salty Balls."
Isaac Hayes' 1969 solo debut Hot Buttered Soul set a soulful tone for the decade that followed, influencing innumerable artists and turning on a more conventional audience to the genre. Therefore it comes as no surprise that three quarters of that record are included on this compilation from his 1968-‘77 Stax Records resume (though they are heavily edited to fit the 32-song, two-CD format). Renowned as one of his generation's greatest songwriters and arrangers, Hayes punctuates his creations with hints of r&b, funk, jazz and soul. Examples here include the indelible "Theme From Shaft," a funked-up cover of Burt Bacharach's and Hal David's "The Look of Love," the slow-grooving "Do Your Thing" and a previously unreleased gospel standard, "His Eye Is on the Sparrow." The inspired packaging includes a four-track DVD that features a trio of Hayes' performances from the 1972 WATTSTAX Festival at the Los Angeles Coliseum--providing as much evidence of the magnitude of Hayes' esteem as this starter set for anyone seeking an introduction to a legendary artist.
01. Theme From "Shaft" 3:15 02. Precious, Precious 2:44 03. Hyperbolicsyllabicsesquedalymistic 9:36 04. Ain't That Loving You (For More Reasons Than One) 4:22 05. Never Can Say Goodbye 3:36 06. By The Time I Get To Phoenix 6:45 07. Soulsville 3:47 08. Wonderful 3:37 09. Help Me Love 5:21 10. Need To Belong To Someone 5:15 11. Good Love 5:15 12. The Look Of Love 3:20 13. Do Your Thing 3:19 14. For The Good Times 5:20 15. I Stand Accused 6:50
01. Walk On By 12:02 02. Joy (Part 1) 4:41 03. His Eye Is On The Sparrow 4:20 04. Brand New Me 8:36 05. If Loving You Is Wrong (i Don’t Want To Be Right) 4:45 06. Someone Made You For Me 4:05 07. Baby I'm-A Want You 4:42 08. Let's Stay Together (Instrumental) 3:35 09. Theme From "The Men" (Instrumental) 4:00 10. I Can’t Help It (If I’m Still In Love With You) 4:22 11. Title Theme "Three Tough Guys" 2:32 12. Run Faye Run 2:45 13. Chocolate Chip 3:46 14. Come Live With Me 3:30 15. Disco Connection 3:38 16. Rock Me Easy Baby (Pt. 1) 3:31 17. By The Time I Get To Phoenix/ I Say A Little Prayer
01. Rolling Down A Mountainside 02. Theme From Shaft 03. Soulsville 04. Chocolate Salty Balls
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