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The Premier Blaxploitation soundtrack?
on 3 April 2010
Not the first blaxploitation soundtrack, (that was Melvin van Peebles with Sweet Sweetback's Baaadaass Song, according to experts), but the Daddy of them all, from before the genre had been named, and mined to extinction.
Isaac Hayes previous included a songwritng partnership with David Porter at Stax, where they gave Sam and Dave a string of hits, a distinctive live show, and a couple of solo albums, the second of which, "Hot Buttered Soul", catapulted him to the top of the Soul tree. When Gordon Parks wanted a soundtrack for his "black private dick" movie, he knew where to go, and Hayes didn't disappoint.
From those opening hihats to that funk/rock workout which closes "Do Your Thing", there's everything from Jazz to the Blues, languid instrumentals to Rock solos, and a dose of social comment. If Hayes had helped rewrite the Soul album format, then here he throws in the kitchen sink to create the album soundtrack that would win an Oscar. The title track remains one of the most instantly recognisable around and the rest of the album is a snapshot of the state of Black music as the 70's kicked in.
To be fair, there's a couple of unremarkable tracks - this is a soundtrack after all - but other than the tital track, stand-outs include; Cafe Regio's a jazzy mid tempo instrumental, Soulsville, Isaac Hayes bitter commentary on ghettto life and "Do Your Thing", which kicks off on a sensuous groove, which builds and builds over nearly 20 minutes, with the aformentioned kitchen sink appearing about half way through !!.
All in all, a very significant album, not least because of it's place in the domination that Black music achieved in the early/mid 70's, and one which no self respecting Soul music fan should be without