on 5 June 2003
This album is almost completely forgotten about, coming around the time of Hayes's 'great' albums, 'Hot Buttered Soul', etc., but it still has its' moments, including (in my opinion) his greatest work, 'That Loving Feeling'. I get excited just hearing the opening bars of that song. The rest is fairly standard Hayes. 'Chocolate Chip' might actually remind you of his (don't laugh) 'Southpark' work, but all in all, well worth a listen for any Isaac Hayes fan.
When Isaac Hayes parted company with Stax records in September 1974 he began a recording and production contract with ABC records that gave him some degree of autonomy . ABC would distribute all albums recorded under the deal but they would all be released on Hayes own Hot Buttered Soul label. Furthermore they would be recorded in his newly refurbished and self owned Memphis studio also called Hot Buttered Soul. Chocolate Chip was the first album released under this new deal and while it,s not his best album it,s still well worth owning..it is Isaac Hayes after all.
Hayes hooked up with his usual rhythm section "The Movement" which had been blessed with consistent personnel for over four years and knew all about his somewhat unorthodox recording style. Hayes would usually stroll in around midnight , that,s if he turned up at all , with a bevy of beautiful women who he thought kept the players on their toes but were probably more of a distraction. Often the band would get bored while Hayes fiddled around so would break into spontaneous jam sessions. Once he was in the mood Hayes would organise the various players part lines until he systematically built up the song Whatever the method there is no doubt the results are often stunning.
From the first few throbbing bass notes on "That Loving Feeling " you know this is an Isaac Hayes album and the song is silky opening track .The more funky "Body Language" roils with suppressed sexual tension .The title is more straight down the line funky with bold bursts of brass , twitchy bass and flagrant wah wha. The instrumental version is great but you could argue that coming straight after the vocal version isn't the best of ideas . Maybe it would have been better as an abridged album closer? "I Want To Make Love To You Sop Bad" doesn,t have the rhythmic dynamism of the previous tracks and is led more by piano than the previous tracks with some unfurling fuzz guitar breaks. "Come Live With Me" is a return to the lugubrious soul of the opening track . A beautiful ballad , velvety and tender it features Hayes on the xylophone and is heartfelt exhortation to some lover to commit more to him. Closing track "I Can,t Turn Around" (The horn line was adapted for the 1986 Farley Jackmaster Funk classic "Love Cant Turn Around") revels in its polyrhythmic groove -the horns in one groove with the bass rumbling in another.
Chocolate Chip was another step forward for Hayes in that it saw him ditch the usual highly reworked cover versions that dominated previous albums for an album made up completely of his own compositions. He had started this with the "Joy" album in 1973 but Chocolate Chip is a far more enjoyable and successful album judged as the work of a singer/songwriter. It also shows an artist who would never stand still artistically from album to album .There is always something different going on from album to album and it,s always worth hearing. Chocolate Chip is in no way an exception