The Austin Chronicle

Phases and Stages

Reviewed by Margaret Moser, April 24, 2009, Music

Isaac Hayes

Black Moses (Stax)

Isaac Hayes

Juicy Fruit (Disco Freak) (Stax)

By 1971, Stax Records' Isaac Hayes had written and produced more than 200 soul classics for the likes of Sam & Dave and Carla Thomas, then retooled the genre with 1969's Hot Buttered Soul and Shaft two years later. That same year, Black Moses explored the disco precursor's string-laden studio soul, wading into Burt Bacharach's treacly, overlong "Close to You" and an artificially soulful "Part Time Lover." It's not that the 2-CD Black Moses isn't without merit but rather that it was intended for water-bed sex under that poster of the astrological-sign sex positions. 1976's Juicy Fruit (Disco Freak) is as flimsy as its dreadful title. Hayes was literally and musically bankrupt, so Juicy's seven hot-'n'-heavy tracks ("Love Me or Lose Me," "Music to Make Love By") rank it in the dubious genre of soundtracks for the hopelessly horny. These recordings aren't highlights of Hayes' distinguished career, but they're music of the day, and Black Moses' crosslike foldout makes South Park's Chef look like a biblical Toulouse-Lautrec.

(Black Moses) **

(Juicy Fruit) *.5

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