Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Short Stack of Stax: Soul Sisters and Issac Hayes

When I worked in the restaurant business we used to sell an item called a short stack. This was two pancakes loaded with lots of whipped butter and hot sweet syrup.

Which is how you should think of these two selections tonight.  The first is a collection of absolutely top notch, Grade A southern Memphis soul, as defined by Stax Records of Memphis, by some of the hottest and sweetest female voices this side of Aretha.  You may or may not have heard their music before (I had only heard of Carla Thomas) but over the years these soul sisters have indeed become familiar companions.  There is pleading, justifying, ranting, hollering and lullabying a plenty in this collection!

         Track Listing: Stax Soul Sisters
          01 It Ain't No Fun [Shirley Brown]
02 Short Stopping [Veda Brown]
03 You Made Me a Woman [Barbara Lewis]
04 What a Man [Linda Lydell]
05 Guide Me Well [Carla Thomas]
06 Since I Fell for You [Mavis Staples]
08 Mr. Big Stuff [Jean Knight]
09 Running Out [Mabel John]
10 Your Sweet Lovin' [Margie Joseph]
11 You've Got a Cushion to Fall [Carla Thomas]
12 The Time [Inex Foxx]
13 You Think You're Hot Stuff [Jean Knight]


The buttery part of the short stack comes in the somewhat obvious selection  Hot Buttered Soul by the Stax producer, writer and ace superstar of the early 1970s, Issac Hayes.  It is always good to replay the classics from time to time and lately I can't get enough of the very cool Hyperbolicsyllabicsesquedalymistic.  The 70's had a lot going for them but the decade also brought us prog rock. And Issac Hayes, ever the experimenter and pioneer, seems determined to push/explore the limits of white pop (Walk on By; By the Time I Get to Phoenix) while flirting with the self indulgent prog rocker's sensibility of songs extending into the timeframes of a symphonic movement. The shortest track on this album clocks in at 5:11 minutes. 

This album was Mr Haye's foot in the door of the crack in the culture. No one has quite managed to make Jimmy Webb sound so brilliant and so edgy. Not to mention sweet, hot and buttery!

Pass the syrup please!

   Track Listing: Hot Buttered Soul
   01. Walk on By
   02. Hyperbolicsyllabicsesquedalymistic
   03. One Woman
   04. By the Time I Get to Phoenix


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