Dave Godin, Blues & Soul Magazine
[from the original back sleeve notes]
There is something unclear about this album released by Stax in 1975, the vast majority of Isaac Hayes' discographies I was able to find on the Internet don't even mention it...
In 1974 Hayes was released from his recording and production contracts with Stax and the next year his new album entitled "Chocolate Chip" was out on the newly estabilished Hot Buttered Soul imprint, owned by Hayes himself, through ABC Records.
At the same time, some big head at the Stax headquarters decided to release a selection of shelved and mostly unreleased tracks probably recorded in the early 70s, one of the last moves before the label was forced into involuntary bankrupcy later the same year...
"Use Me" comes in a nice cover illustrated by Mike Farrell and contains the following tracks:
01. Use Me (5:49)
02. I'm Gonna Have To Tell Her (4:07)
03. The Ten Commandments of Love (6:02)
04. Good Love 6-9969 (5:13)
05. Feel Like Makin' Love (13:38)
All tracks were remastered from the original vinyl in October/November 2011 and are available in FLAC lossless format or high-quality 320 Kbps MP3 files, both formats include completely restored PDF artwork. Please have a look at the comments for the download links.
A live version of the title track written by Bill Withers had already appeared in 1972 on the "Live at the Sahara Tahoe" double vinyl. "Good Love 6-9969" had already been released as part of the "Black Moses" album back in 1971, and was also re-released as a 7" single backed with the fine ballad "I'm Gonna Have To Tell Her" in 1975.
"The Ten Commandments of Love" is Hayes' take on the 1957 doo-wop classic by The Moonglows, while the epic thirteen minutes version of Roberta Flack's "Feel Like Makin' Love" (a song written by Eugene McDaniel), thanks to its deliciously overblown treatment with funky licks, insistent bass line and smooth female backups, is probably the best track of the album.
Original magazine advert for "Use Me"
In 1978 Fantasy Records, which had bought out Stax, took four of the five tracks from the original LP, replacing "Good Love 6-9969" with the previously unreleased synth-driven instrumental "Hobosac and Me", and re-issued them with a brand new artwork as "Hotbed". This album is commonly listed in discographies instead of "Use Me". "Feel Like Making Love" was divided in two parts and released on a 7" single the same year.
Compared to the originals, the tracks on "Hotbed" have been slightly remixed/reworked, but there are no dramatic differences between those versions released three years later and the source material.
Althougth a personnel list is not included on "Use Me", "Hotbed" lists the following credits:
Produced by Isaac Hayes
Isaac Hayes - vocals, keyboards
Lester Snell - keyboards
Sammy Watts, Charles Pitts - guitars
Sidney Kirk - keyboards
Errol Thomas, William Murphy - bass
Jimmy Lee Thompson - congas
Willie Cole, Gary Jones - percussion
Plus the Memphis Horns and String
Isaac Hayes and Pat Evans
Discogs reports about two different pressings of "Use Me" (US and UK). I noticed that most of the second-hand copies of the album that are available for sale on the Internet are advertised as being made in the UK; I wasn't able to find any copy for sale that is clearly advertised as a US pressing, so I speculate that the album may be a UK only release. This would explain why it is often omitted from official Hayes album discographies in favour of the more widely available "Hotbed"; of course I could be wrong about this.
By the way, the back sleeve of "Use Me" presents four long quotes taken from different issues of the famous British weekly music magazine Melody Maker published in the early 70s, in my opinion this adds another point to my theory.
Needless to say that my copy of "Use Me" is a UK pressing. The vinyl looks black, but when held in front of a strong light it appears to be very dark wine red. Some copies of the album came with a "Pye Records Group" sticker on the front sleeve.
If you have any other useful information about "Use Me" - especially corrections and improvements to what I wrote above - or if you own a US pressing, just get in touch with me at stereocandies [at] hotmail [dot] com or leave a comment in the box below, thank you!