Sunday, April 23, 2017

Isaac Hayes – Moonlight Lovin’ (Ménage à trois)

Most Wanted! Isaac Hayes – Moonlight Lovin’ (Ménage à Trois) (Polydor)

‘Moonlight Lovin’ is one of those ultra rare stand alone pieces of art that paved the history of contemporary music…
First of all, as built up like a (modern) opera bridging various acts into one piece. Second, because of its outstanding production, with Tom Moulton‘s mixing work coming up as the icing on the cake. And third, due to the nature of its lyrical content.

Quite avant-gardist for the time being (1975), at a period when sexual freedom was taking the world by storm, this 10 minute opus introduced the ‘Ménage à trois’ as an experience enhancing open-mindedness.
No need to say how the conservatives considered it as provocation in the meantime. Just the way they did in France, in front of certain themes which Serge Gainsbourg developped on his side.

Overview
One of the most brilliant talents of his generation, Covington, TN born Isaac Hayes heavily contributed shaping the sound of Memphis Stax Records. Hard of course not to think of ‘Shaft’ when evoking his memory, although the man has done so much more than this.

Ike was undoubtedly found of flamboyant orchestral arrangements such as demonstrated on his debut-album – ‘Hot Buttered Soul’ – which saw the day back in 1969. An album where he literally appropriated for himself the 1964 classic ‘Walk On By’ which Bacharach & David wrote for Dionne Warwick. Eventually doing the same soon after with gems such as ‘Never Can Say Goodbye’, ‘The Look Of Love’. Not to mention ‘(If Loving You Is Wrong) I Don’t Want To Be Right’.

Hayes eventually embraced the Disco sound in 1975. As Isaac Hayes Movement on ABC Records. But also on his own with the highly memorable ‘I Can’t Turn Around’ from his ‘Chocolate Chip’ album. A song which Steve Silk ‘Hurley’ and Farley Jackmaster Funk eventually turned into an early Chicago House classic years after.

Countless financial problems sadly got him in the obligation to sell his copyrights out of everything he’d done so far. This leaving him almost homeless by the mid-70’s. He never lost the faith though, eventually signing with Polydor. The first release from this new deal being his 1977 ‘New Horizon’ album featuring ‘Moonlight Lovin’. The funktified ‘Don’t Let Go’ standing as another essential track of his later on.

Ike only released 2 albums for Columbia in the 80’s, and would get briefly back to the grips in the mid 90’s after a 7 year hiatus. ‘Branded’, his before last studio album, giving us the opportunity to meet back then…

Ike got found unresponsive in his home located in the East of Memphis, TN on Aug. 10, 2008. He was proounced dead a few hours later at the Baptist Memorial Hospital. The cause of his passing was a recurrence of a stroke which he suffered from two years before.

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