Craft Recordings Announces New Isaac Hayes’ Retrospective Release Date, Specs

Courtesy: Craft Recordings/Concord Music Group/Rhino Entertainment

Craft Recordings, a division of Concord Music Group, is paying tribute to music legend Isaac Hayes with a brand new box set.

The company announced this week that it will release The Spirit of Memphis (1962 – 1976) on Sept. 22.  The four-CD collection presents a number of the songs that made Hayes so popular from his early days up to his days as an international superstar.  Those songs include a number of previously unreleased compositions.

The first of the set’s four discs features a number of Hayes’ most well-known and beloved songs crafted with David Porter while Hayes was a producer and songwriter.  Those songs include Carla Thomas’ ‘B-A-B-Y,’ which was recently featured in the blockbuster movie Baby Driver, and Sam & Dave’s ‘Soul Man,’ which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year.

The set’s second disc focuses on Hayes’ work as a solo artist and includes songs such as ‘By The Time I Get To Phoenix,’ ‘Never Can Say Goodbye,’ ‘Do Your Thing’ and the title track from the Shaft soundtrack.

The collection’s third disc is entitled Cover Man and, as it hints, is a collection of some of Hayes’ greatest covers.  Its set list includes Hayes’ take on ‘Windows of the World,’ ‘Stormy Monday,’ ‘Stormy Monday,’ ‘I Stand Accused,’ ‘The Ten Commandments of Love’ and other songs.

Jam Master, the fourth of the set’s primary discs, features extended takes and demos of songs from his classic albums.  The most notable of the disc’s jams is a 33-minute take on ‘Do Your Thing’ while the demos include takes on ‘You’ve Made Me So Very Happy,’ ‘Ain’t No Sunshine’ and the previously unreleased Shaft soundtrack composition ‘Black Militant’s Place.’

Along with its primary four-disc presentation, the forthcoming box set will also feature a replica 7” vinyl single of Hayes’ very first recordings and a hardcover 60-page book.  The book, which is its own retrospective on Hayes’ career, features pictures from that career and an essay titled Respect Yourself: Stax Records and the Soul Explosion by author Robert Gordon.

The book also features interviews with well-known Stax figures Deanie Parker and Jim Stewart and contributions from Floyd Newman, Mickey Gregory, Sam Moore (of Sam & Dave fame), and compilation producer Joe McEwan.

The Spirit of Memphis (1962 – 1976) is a collaborative effort between Concord Music Group and Rhino Entertainment, and is part of a year-long celebration by Stax Records to celebrate the company’s 60th anniversary.  Pre-orders are open now via Amazon.

The full track listing for The Spirit of Memphis (1962 – 1976) is noted below.

*Denotes previously unreleased material
Soul Songwriter, Soul Producer
1. Floyd Newman – Sassy
2. David Porter – Can’t See You When I Want To
3. Carla Thomas – How Do You Quit (Someone You Love)
4. Booker T and the MGs – Boot-leg
5. The Astors – Candy
6. Danny White – Can’t Do Nothing Without You
7. Johnnie Taylor – I Had A Dream
8. Sam & Dave – Hold On! I’m A Comin’
9. Ruby Johnson – I’ll Run Your Hurt Away
10. Carla Thomas – Let Me Be Good To You
11. Mable John – Your Good Thing (Is About To End)
12. Homer Banks – Fighting To Win
13. Carla Thomas – B-A-B-Y
14. William Bell – Never Like This Before
15. The Mad Lads – Patch My Heart
16. Johnnie Taylor – Little Bluebird
17. Charlie Rich – When Something Is Wrong With My Baby
18. Charlie Rich – Love Is After Me
19. Judy Clay – You Can’t Run Away From Your Heart
20. Sam & Dave – Soul Man
21. The Charmels – As Long As I’ve Got You
22. Sam & Dave – I Thank You
23. The Soul Children – The Sweeter He Is (Parts I & II)
24. Billy Eckstine – Stormy
25. David Porter – Can’t See You When I Want To
26. The Emotions – Show Me How
Volt & Enterprise Singles
1. Sir Isaac and The Do-Dads – The Big Dipper
2. Sir Isaac and The Do-Dads – Blue Groove
3. Isaac Hayes – Precious, Precious
4. Isaac Hayes – By The Time I Get To Phoenix
5. Isaac Hayes – The Mistletoe & Me
6. Isaac Hayes – Winter Snow
7. Isaac Hayes – I Stand Accused
8. Isaac Hayes – The Look Of Love
9. Isaac Hayes – Never Can Say Goodbye
10. Isaac Hayes – Theme From “Shaft”
11. Isaac Hayes – Do Your Thing
12. Isaac Hayes – Let’s Stay Together
13. Isaac Hayes and David Porter – Ain’t That Loving You
(For More Reasons Than One)
14. Isaac Hayes and David Porter – Baby I’m-A Want You
15. Isaac Hayes – Theme From “The Men”
16. Isaac Hayes – Rolling Down A Mountainside
17. Isaac Hayes – Joy (Part 1)
18. Isaac Hayes – Wonderful
19. Isaac Hayes – Someone Made You For Me
20. Isaac Hayes – Title Theme (From “Three Tough Guys”)
21. Radio Spot – “You Gotta Have It To Really Be In”
22. Radio Spot – “The Rapper Is Back”
Cover Man
1. Isaac Hayes – When I Fall In Love
2. Isaac Hayes – Walk On By
3. Isaac Hayes – I Just Don’t Know What To Do With Myself
4. Isaac Hayes – Man’s Temptation
5. Isaac Hayes – Never Gonna Give You Up
6. Isaac Hayes – Windows Of The World*
Recorded Live at Operation PUSH Black Expo,
International Amphitheatre, Chicago, IL – October 1, 1972:
7. Isaac Hayes – The Ten Commandments of Love*
8. Isaac Hayes – Just Want To Make Love To You / Rock Me Baby*
9. Isaac Hayes – Stormy Monday*
10. Isaac Hayes – I Stand Accused*
11. Isaac Hayes – If Loving You Is Wrong
12. Isaac Hayes – His Eye Is On The Sparrow
Jam Master
1. Isaac Hayes – Ike’s Mood I
2. Isaac Hayes – You’ve Made Me So Very Happy*
3. Isaac Hayes – Black Militant’s Place*
4. Isaac Hayes – Ain’t No Sunshine*
5. Isaac Hayes – Hung Up On My Baby* (Extended Jam)
6. Isaac Hayes – Groove-A-Thon* (Extended Jam)
7. Isaac Hayes – Do Your Thing (Extended Jam)
7″ Single
Laura, We’re On Our Last Go-Round
C.C. Rider

More information on The Spirit of Memphis (1962 – 1976) and other titles from Concord Music Group and Craft Recordings is available online now at:










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Stax Records Re-Issues A Dozen Classic Hayes Albums

Stax Records has reintroduced audiences to the work of one of the music industry’s masters.

The famed label re-issued on Friday 12 classic Isaac Hayes recordings. The records span Hayes’ career from 1969 – 1976.  The albums, including albums, soundtracks and live recordings, were re-mastered entirely from their original analog recordings.  The albums featured in the re-mastered catalogue include: Shaft, Black Moses and Hot buttered Soul.  They area available now in 19/24 and 96/24 hi resolution audio formats.

All 12 re-mastered recordings have been mastered for iTunes and can be found now via Hayes’ new iTunes artist page. Hi-res formats will be available on HD Tracks.

Courtesy: Stax Records

Courtesy: Stax Records

The task of restoring Hayes’ classic recordings was headed by award-winning engineer Dave Cooley (M83, J-Dilla, Madlib) at his Los Angeles, CA-based Elysian Masters studio.  Colley explained what makes the newly restored recordings stand out in a recent interview, saying differences can be heard both on a micro and macro scale.

“Every effort was undertaken to retain both the original production team’s intent, and the most natural and truthful spatial imaging of Isaac’s voice and instrumentation,” Cooley said. “For the first time you can plainly hear details as small as the subtle coloration of variations between the studio original studio setups and tape formulations from album to album. There’s renewed resolution around instruments.  But you can also dive into the zoned-out atmospherics, and listen comfortably for hours as an entire body of work.

The importance of re-working Haye’s songs was not lost on Cooley.  He said he was dedicated to getting each recording right so the next generation of Hayes fans would best be able to understand the importance of Hayes’ work and appreciate his work, too.

“There was an immense pressure to get it right,” Cooley said.  “Having grown up transcribing the very piano licks and grooves that were sampled by such hip hop luminaries as Public Enemy and others, I was well acquainted with Isaac’s legacy as a revolutionary enigma spanning multiple generations.  Remastering the catalog was a call to re-ignite that with even more transparency and a deeper pulse for the next group of listeners.”

Hayes began his career at Stax Records, working with partner David Poter on hits such as Sam & Dave’s ‘Soul Man’ and ‘Hold On! I’m Coming.’  Hayes released his debut solo album, the aptly titled Presenting Isaac Hayes.  Its follow-up, Hot Buttered Soul (1971) was the record that turned him into a star.  Later that same year he released another of his hit albums Black Moses.  He would continue to write and record songs and albums throughout the 70s, 80s and 90s.  He also voiced the beloved character Chef for Comedy Central’s hit animated series South Park.

Along with the new digital re-issues of Hayes’ classic albums, Stax is also planning a year-long schedule of re-issues including vinyl re-issues of the same albums and a complete retrospective box set.  More information on Stax Records’ upcoming Isaac Hayes will be announced early in the new year.  The albums schedule for re-issue are noted below.


Hot Buttered Soul, 1969

The Isaac Hayes Movement, 1970

…To Be Continued, 1970

Black Moses, 1971

Shaft (Music From The Soundtrack), 1971

Joy, 1973

Live At The Sahara Tahoe,1973

Truck Turner (Original Soundtrack), 1974

Tough Guys (Original Soundtrack), 1974 (already available)

Chocolate Chip, 1975

Groove-A-Thon, 1976

Juicy Fruit (Disco Freak), 1976*only available in MFiT


More information on Hayes’ re-issues is available online now at:










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Take Me To The River Hits All Of The Right Notes At All Of The Right Times

Courtesy:  Shout! Factory

Courtesy: Shout! Factory

Music, it is often said, is the universal language. It is a language that bridges cultures and transcends generations. Even with audiences’ varying tastes music still does more to bring together the world’s people than any politician could ever do. That includes not just American politicians but politicians in general. That has been proven time and again throughout the music industry’s rich history. It has helped make some of America’s best moments even better. It has also helped the country get through some of its most trying times. That ability to get America through its best and worst times shows its immense power. In 2014 director Martin Shore presented audiences with just one example of that power in the documentary Take Me To The River. The roughly hour and a half documentary follows the collaboration of a number of legendary Memphis musicians and modern artists in the creation of a new album that resurrects the songs of said legends. While that presentation lies at the heart of the documentary it is just one aspect of the program’s story. There is far more to the documentary than that process. And thanks to Shout! Factory, audiences will get to see just how much more there is to the story when Take Me To The River will finally be released in stores and online next week. That story is just one part of what makes the documentary worth the watch, too. The music that audiences get to hear throughout the course of the documentary is just as important to the program as its multi-faceted main presentation. Rounding out the documentary’s presentation is its bonus interviews and recording session featuring the recording of ‘Be Like Me’ with The Bar-Kays and rap duo 8Ball and MJG. Each element plays its own important role in the whole of Take Me To The River. Altogether, they make it a documentary that even not being new per se, still hits all the right notes at all the right times from beginning to end even almost two years after its original debut.

Nearly two years after its theatrical debut, director Martin Shore’s music documentary Take Me To The River is finally coming home. Why it took so long for it to finally be released on DVD and Blu-ray is anybody’s guess. Regardless of why it took so long, it can still be said that it is a welcome “new” release for music lovers even if audiences were not lucky enough to see it in its original theatrical release. This is proven primarily through the program’s multi-faceted main story. At the heart of that story is the recording process for an album that was meant to celebrate the relationship between some of Memphis’ most legendary performers and the artists who were influenced by those legends. Audiences will be interested to see the broad spectrum of acts that were influenced by the Memphis music scene of days gone by. On a related note, the respect shared between the two groups exhibited in the recording process is just as impressive. Of course that portion of the program’s main story is just one part of its whole. Along with that story Shore also presents the story of Stax Record, which was based in Memphis and its role in not just the Memphis music scene but in the nation’s history in whole. That story is the real story. Viewers learn about the founding of Stax and how its founding was influenced by the racial tensions of the day. Despite said tensions, it became a refuge of sorts; a place where artists white and black alike could record their music together. And as is revealed in the extended interview with Snoop Dogg and William Bell, it was much more than that. It played just as much of a role in the music industry at the time as it did in the nation’s culture and history. There is even a lesson on the artists that made Stax so great then and still does today as the recording process for the album proceeds. Audiences get to learn about William Bell, Bobby “Blue” Bland, Booker T, Charlie Musselwhite, and a number of other legends of the Memphis music scene. The combined music history lessons and recording documentary that are presented within the main presentation of Take Me To The River show clearly together why the program’s central story is key to its overall presentation.

The multi-faceted story that lies at the center of Take Me To The River shows in itself quite clearly how this documentary hits all the right notes at all the right times. Of course it is just one element within the program’s presentation that proves this argument. The songs that are featured throughout the recording process are just as important to note as the story of the process of their recording. The songs–twelve in all–are classic pieces that have been re-worked with a modern touch. One of the best of the featured songs is ‘Ain’t No Sunshine.’ The song featured Memphis legend Bobby “Blue” Bland teaming up with rapper Yo Gotti for a piece that is one of the recording’s best numbers. Bland’s gentle chorus works with Yo Gotti’s verses and the song’s solid, infectious hip-hop style backbeat to make it a song that gives the classic tune a welcome update. ‘Wish I Had Answered’ is another great number. Audiences will find themselves tapping their feet in time as legendary singer Mavis Staples and North Mississippi All Stars work their magic in this bluesy/gospel hybrid. ‘If I Should Have Bad Luck’ is another impressive and enjoyable song that audiences get to see come to life. Charlie Musselwhite’s vocal delivery and harmonica work are the song’s magic elements. It’s just one more example of how the songs featured in the documentary make it more enjoyable in whole. It’s not the last example of the song’s importance to the documentary either. Any of the recording’s dozen tracks could just as easily be cited as examples of what makes th songs their own important element of the documentary. The songs, when coupled with the documentary’s central story, make even clearer why Take Me To The River hits all the right notes. They still are only a portion of what makes the program such a worthwhile watch. The bonus interviews that are included with the program give it even more interest.

The story at the center of Take Me To The River and the program’s featured songs are both equally important elements in its success. That is because together they tell a deep and engaging story that any music history buff will enjoy. For all of the importance of the program’s story and its featured songs those elements are but a portion of what makes it worth the watch. The bonus interviews that are included with the presentation round out the documentary. Audiences will be interested to learn how Al Bell came to write the hit song ‘I’ll Take You There.’ Even as Mr. Bell doesn’t allow himself to become choked up in telling the story, the same cant’ be said of audiences. That is especially the case as he notes that he “didn’t write the song, but that it wrote through him.” He explains in full depth to narrator/interviewer Terrance Howard (Hustle & Flow, Iron Man, Red Tails) how the violence of the era played a direct role in the song’s creation. That is the extent of what will be told here so as to not ruin the story for others. Needless to say th full story is truly moving and enlightening. On a related note, the interview with Snoop Dogg and William Bell is just as interesting. The pair’s discussion runs th gamut from the serious to the silly throughout. One of the most interesting discussions shared in this interview is the comparison of Stax Records to Motown. Snoop, whose real name is Calvin Broadus, and Bell discuss how Motown wrote songs more for the masses while acts signed to Stax made music more for the people so to speak. They weren’t trying to make money in other words. They just wanted to get their songs out there and share the struggles that everyone felt through their songs. Snoop Dogg’s affirmation of the importance of Stax both to itself and the culture in which it was founded and to the modern hip-hop industry is believable. He really sounds serious about its importance. At a later point in the interview, Bell and Broadus change gears and start talking about DJs and Soul Train of all things. It was completely off th topic. But it was also so natural in the bigger picture of things. And it is hardly the last of th discussions shared between th pair in its interview. There is far more for audiences to take in here. And audiences that purchase the program for themselves will discover just how entertaining and informative those other noted topics are. They will also agree in discovering this that the bonus interviews included alongside the central story of Take Me To The River and its featured songs round out the presentation, making it a presentation in whole that once again hits all the right notes at all of the right times.

Shout! Factory’s new home release of Take Me To The River is a presentation that hits all of the right notes at all of the right times. This is the case even with the documentary having originally debuted in theaters nearly two years ago. That is thanks in large part to its multi-faceted story. The program’s featured songs present their own interesting music history lesson. That lesson and the lesson taught in the program’s central story double up to show clearly why Take Me To The River hits all of the right notes at the right times. The bonus interviews included as part of the documentary’s home release round out the program. The background and bonus information that thy share rounds out the program and shows once and for all that while this documentary may not be new per se, it is still a piece that hits all of the right notes at all of the right times. Take Me To The River will be available next Tuesday, February 5th in stores and online. It can be re-ordered online now direct via Shout! Factory’s online store at More information on this and other titles from Shout! Factory is available online now at:




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