Wednesday, 2 November 2011

ISSAC HAYES "USE ME" (1975)

"For many years, Isaac Hayes was very much a backroom guy, writing hit songs for other artists to take into the limelight of the charts, and contributing also to their success through his accomplished musicianship as a STAX session man. Being wise after the event, it seems entirely logical and inevitable that he should eventually have emerged as a star in his own right, and from the viewpoint of today, the only surprising thing about it was that it took such a long time for it to happen! Since then however there has been no looking back, and Isaac Hayes has gone from strength to strength gathering en route a legion of devotees and admirers even from fields where people do not consider themselves to be Soul music fans. In this respect too, he’s cleared up a lot of misconceptions in the public consciousness as to what Soul is all about. Soul is not an easily described concept since music alone is its real language, but it is about feelings, emotions, love and simply being alive on earth in this present era. Isaac Hayes, like so many other gifted Soul performers, reflects contemporary moods to perfection, and in fifty years time when music historians want to capture the musical essences of this present time, this is one LP they will have to include in their thesis! Luckily, we don’t have to wait that long before we can appreciate the tremendous contribution Isaac Hayes has made to human happiness in the latter part of the twentieth century, but one aspect that might elude these researchers of tomorrow, is the fact that is patently obvious to us today that Isaac Hayes has that rare knack of making you think that he is performing for YOU and YOU alone! Maybe he is and who could tell? But that’s one secret that’ll keep between you and him. This is the sort of album that you’ll more than just enjoy. Isaac Hayes is that sort of Soul."

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!

7 comments:

  1. No sabia de la existencia de este album aunque los tracks fueron liberados posteriormente en otro album

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hello Felipe, thanks for your comment!

    En 1978 Fantasy Records, que habían comprado a Stax, se llevó cuatro de los cinco temas del LP original, reemplazando "Good Love 6-9969" con la inédita instrumental "Hobosac and Me", y los re-emitida como "Hotbed". Este álbum es comúnmente aparece en discografías en lugar de "Use Me". En comparación con los originales, los títulos de "Hotbed" han sido ligeramente remezclados, pero no hay grandes diferencias entre las versiones liberadas tres años después y el material de origen.

    ReplyDelete
  3. NEW DOWNLOAD LINKS

    FLAC: https://dfiles.eu/files/koegffyzt

    MP3: https://dfiles.eu/files/p973z9le6

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thanks a lot for sharing this with us.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Profundamente agradecido y gracias por tus comentarios adicionales, una pena que no venga Good Love 69969 es un temazo y una rareza dificil de encontrar

    ReplyDelete
  6. Many thanks for all the effort you put in to this release - much appreciated - I will definitely dig further into your blog

    ReplyDelete

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