Collector’s Corner

Isaac The Great


Isaac Hayes' career comprised many roles: songwriting, singing, producing, acting, voice acting; but throughout these endeavors, one theme remained constant. Love, with its attendant highs and lows, figures prominently in nearly everything Hayes created. So it's fitting that the first track from the vinyl version of his Greatest Hit Singles, on Stax Records, is the Jimmy Webb-authored hit "By the Time I Get To Phoenix," which Hayes prefaces with his own spoken word tale about a rocky relationship. It's vintage Hayes, and the album goes on to cover more archetypal Hayes recordings about that trickiest of emotions.

The Burt Bacharach/Hal David hits "Look Of Love" and "Walk On By," Clifton Davis' "Never Can Say Goodbye," the Al Green/Al Jackson/Willie Green tune "Let's Stay Together," and other celebrated numbers are all here, alongside Hayes compositions such as "Do Your Thing" and his funk classic "Theme From Shaft." The range of feelings Hayes evinces from each of these songs-from passion, devotion, and lust to jealousy and infidelity-underscores the breadth Hayes displayed during his varied career. The album finishes with "Joy, Part 1," one of four Hayes-penned tunes featured, and it feels right to end on a funky high note.