Customer Review

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wasted on the movie, 12 Dec. 2006
This review is from: Shaft: Original Soundtrack (Audio CD)
One of my most listened to albums and still absolutely ace after all these years. It's miles better than the dull, dated and cliché-riddled movie for which it was written and was, apparently, the first soundtrack album to be more successful than the movie. The title track features that widely-known definitive wucka wucka electric guitar, with a fab recording too, at Stax Studios down in Memphis, and all written when he was only 28. Tracks such as Soulsville are just absolutely dripping with cool (man), whilst Cafe Regio's is an utter classic of its genre.

Mr Hayes produced and arranged everything (brilliantly), whilst the guest musicians include Lester Snell (electric piano), James Alexander (electric bass), Michael Toles and Charles Pitts (guitars ~ and many of the guitar passages are absolutely masterful), Willie Hall (drums & tamborine) and Gary Jones (bongos and congas). The brass section on a few tracks is ace as well, though who the musicians were isn't credited.

Side 4's 19'38" Do Your Thing wasn't in the movie at all, but somehow it's still an essential element of the album, criminally cut to a quarter of its original length for the otherwise excellent 24 bit DR edition on the Zyx label, almost certainly to accommodate the multi-media photos, artist info and video track stuck on at the end ~ which are okay, but certainly not worth what had to be sacrificed to make way for them.

The sound quality of the 2010 "expanded" edition, including Do Your Thing in its entirety, is a different remaster and the worst I've ever heard, so don't even consider buying that one.

But then, reggaedefender pointed me in the direction of a Stax reissue of Joe Tarantino's remaster, this one without all that spurious video footage and Do Your Thing in its full 19'38" glory ~ so that, without doubt, is the one to get (No. 0025218880220). It even has exactly the same jewel case insert as the Zyx edition (which states the running time of Do Your Thing to be 19'38", even though it plainly isn't). By comparison, the non-DR edition lacks detail, freshness and dynamics and, for a masterwork such as this, you really don't want to forego any of those qualities.

Interestingly (or, to some, perhaps not) a direct A:B comparison between the Zyx and Stax issues of Joe Tarantino's remaster reveals subtle differences in presentation and resolution, in part because each has been encoded at different levels (the Stax one is lower), and I marginally prefer the Zyx one. But there isn't much in it and the latest Stax reissue is without doubt the one to go for.

It's funny, but to this day I've never managed to hear more than the odd track from any other of his albums, except for Hot Buttered Soul which didn't inspire me at all (though Live At The Sahara Tahoe is reportedly very good). Somehow, none could ever measure up to this one. Shaft is a true and enduring classic.
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Showing 1-6 of 6 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 5 Aug 2010 20:30:14 BDT
Dave H says:
Thanks for the advice. I too bought the 'Expanded Edition' and returned it because of the poor re-master. Bought this one instead and it sounds great! Incidentally, 'Do Your Thing' on this release is the full 19 minute version so it's all good.

In reply to an earlier post on 11 Oct 2010 20:25:34 BDT
What's the catalogue number of the remaster with the full version of Do Your Thing on it?

Posted on 6 Nov 2010 04:30:10 GMT
Mackinnon says:
The full Do Your Thing is also found on a compilation called The Very best of.I.H. An oldie, the disc was released around 1990 I think, but superb sound and balance and fat, clear bass.. It's got seven tracks - Theme from Shaft, Walk On By, Do Your Thing and I Stand Accused (with the six-minute opening monologue) plus three shorter ones. I made a copy off a friend's disc, didn't note the catalog number or record company. It's not on Amazon, but try ebay or used records shops. Good luck! -Agree DYT is essential and isaac is a hero.

In reply to an earlier post on 8 Nov 2010 19:35:12 GMT
[Deleted by the author on 15 Nov 2010 20:03:30 GMT]

In reply to an earlier post on 1 Jul 2012 09:25:27 BDT
Dave H says:
Sorry, I only just noticed your question. I expect you've got the answer by now but just in case you haven't, it's Stax 0025218880220

In reply to an earlier post on 1 Jul 2012 17:14:57 BDT
No, I hadn't, so many thanks. I couldn't find this particular issue here, but I managed to elsewhere at a very reasonable price, so I should have it in a week or so. Is the remastering by the same engineer (Joe Tarantino at Fantasy Studios in Berkeley)?
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