Wednesday, 18 July 2012

ISAAC HAYES MOVEMENT "DISCO CONNECTION" (1975)

"More than the great majority of his soul-soaked Stax contemporaires, Isaac Hayes adjusted admirably to the disco onslaught of the mid-1970s. That should have come as a surprise to no one, since the keyboardist's monumentally influential soundtrack to the 1971 film Shaft had played a mammoth role in the genre's invention. Isaac's funk-drenched rhythms, expertly spiced with wah-wah guitar and loose hi-hat, and the lush symphonic soul backdrops that rendered his megasexy bottomless croon irresistible to a legion of swooning female fans, were now being borrowed on a daily basis by countless producers, too often in far less imaginative ways. But as the disco era exploded, Hayes was no longer working his soul-steeped magic at Stax. In 1974, he estabilished hiw own recording studio on Chelsea Avenue in his hometown of Memphis, christening it Hot Buttered Soul in tribute to the groundbreaking album that has made Isaac an instant R&B luminary half a decade earlier. When Stax couldn't come up with enormous royalties he was due later that year, Black Moses confidently stroke away from the company where he had flourished for so long. Hayes estabilished his own record label, also baptized Hot Buttered Soul, affiliating it with ABC Records and getting right back down to creative business."

Bill Dahl, November 2008
[from the liner notes of "Juicy Fruit (Disco Freak)" CD re-issue]



In the waning days of 1975 Isaac Hayes had cause to feel satisfied. His first album on his own Hot Buttered Soul label, "Chocolate Chip", had been released in May and had stormed its way to the top of the R&B charts while also breaking through into the Pop Top 20.

Two singles from the album, "Chocolate Chip" and "Come Live With Me", had proven to be bonafide R&B hits. To his everlasting relief, Hayes was once again on a roll.

Scarcely twelve months earlier the man dubbed "Black Moses" had his back against the wall with the fate of his career hanging in the balance. Alongside James Brown, Hayes had been the preeminent star of black popular music in the first half of the 1970. His seminal recordings for the Stax Records subsidiary, Enterprise, had accomplished the unprecedented feat of simultaneously charting R&B, Pop, Jazz and Easy Listening.

In the process Hayes demonstrated unequivocally that, if allowed enough freedom in the studio, black artists could create albums that would sell in significant quantities.

Hayes's success challenged the prevailing wisdom within the industry which held that the black populace could neither afford nor support the higher-priced album format. The monster sales figures of albums such as "Hot Buttered Soul", "...To Be Continued" and "The Isaac Hayes Movement" led to a complete transformation of the political economy of black popular music, paving the way for classic album-lenght statements by the likes of Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, Curtis Mayfield and Funkadelic.

With "Shaft" Hayes had also pioneered the black soundtrack, while his recordings at large had pointed the way toward new possibilities for orchestration; fused elements of Soul, Jazz, Pop, Rock and Classical; introduced the concept of the spoken monologue; and had served to once again bring smooth, silky baritone voices into vogue.




At the midpoint in the decade things could have been all roses for Hayes, but unfortunately, the good ship Stax ran into financial troubles in 1973 and Hayes's career, alongside those of a number of his labelmates, suffered accordingly.

By late summer 1974, with his records selling in ever smaller numbers, he was forced to sue Stax for his release due to the company's inability to pay him the funds mandated in his contract. With Stax owing him thousand of dollars, Hayes found himself in a precarious financial situation of his own. Flush with success, he had spent much of 1973 and 1974 expanding his empire, buying his own studio, starting his own label, and concomitantly expanding his payroll.

By the time the spring of 1975 rolled around, Hayes hadn't had a real hit album in a year and a half, and his only steady source of income stemmed from live concerts and biannual songwriter royalties. At times it appeared that more cash was going out than coming in. The welcome success of "Chocolate Chip" allowed Hayes room to breathe.

Recorded in the second half of 1975, the completely instrumental "Disco Connection" LP was released in December the same year. Althought Isaac was credited with writing all the tracks, the album was issued under the moniker Isaac Hayes Movement.

Here's how Hayes himself remembered his working method in the liner notes of the "Groove-a-Thon" CD re-issue in 2002; that album was virtually recorded at the same time of "Disco Connection", and released just a few months later in spring 1976:

"I was aiming at disco, dance shit... I used to play games with the guys, they wouldn't know what the hell I was doing. I'd say 'Bass player, play this. Drummer, you play this.' I drilled them on it. When everybody got their individual parts down, I'd say, 'Now, let's everybody play together.' Boom! They'd say, 'Wow!' See I'd have it in my head so I could imagine what it would sound like. I'd keep it secret from them because I'd want them to learn their part and not depend on anything else. When they've learned it, they get a feel of what it is then they can groove with it."

Bass player Erroll Thomas confirms: "The guy was a genius when it came to putting stuff together, you never did know exactly which way his mind was gonna run. Sometimes if we laid a basic track, we really wouldn't know how it would come out, especially the top parts of it, the horn lines and stuff. All we would hear would be rhythm. He would hear the whole song!"


"Disco Connection" offers the following tracks:

01. The First Day of Forever (4:38)
02. St. Thomas Square (5:51)
03. Vykkii (4:55)
04. Disco Connection (6:16)
05. Disco Shuffle (8:12)
06. Choppers (4:32)
07. After Five (5:00)
08. Aruba (5:32)

All tracks were remastered from the original vinyl in June/July 2012 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 detailed description of the tracks released on "Disco Connection" is available on this post published in 2006 by Tommy at Disco Delivery; I wouldn't be able to write anything better than that, so I recommed you to visit the link above to read more about the album. Allmusic also has a nice page to offer.


Here's the credits and personnel list of "Disco Connection":

Rhythm by Movement:

Guitar: Michael Toles, William Vaughn, Charles Pitts ("Disco Shuffle", "Disco Connection" and "Aruba"), Anthony Shinault (solo on "Disco Shuffle" and "After Five")
Bass Guitar: Erroll Thomas
Drums and tambourines: Willie Hall, Willie Cole
Temple blocks: Willie Cole
Conga: Jimmy Thompson
Keyboards: Lester Snell, Sidney Kirk, Isaac Hayes
Synthesizer: Isaac Hayes

Horns by Movement, reeds and double on flutes:

Tenor Sax: Tommy Williams, Darnell Smith
Alto Sax: Emerson Able, Bill Easley (solo on "St. Thomas Square")
Baritone Sax: Floyd Newman
Trumpet and Flugel Horn: William Taylor, Ben Cauley

Additional brass:

French Horns: Richard Dolph, Bryant Munch
Trumpet and Flugel Horn: Johnny Davis, Edgar Matthews
Trombone: Bill Flores, Jackie Thomas
Bass Trombone: Gary Russell
Special thanks to The Memphis Strings

Produced by Isaac Hayes
Arranged by Isaac Hayes and Lester Snell, Johnny Allen ("Aruba")
Engineers: Roosevelt Green, Henry Bush
Re-Mix Engineers: Isaac Hayes, Roosevelt Green, Henry Bush
Mastering Engineer: Lanky Linstrot

Art Direction: Tom Wilkes
Design: Earl R. Klasky
Cover photo: Olivier Ferrand
Back cover photo: Ron Slenzak

All selections recorded at Hot Buttered Soul Recording Studios, 247 Chelsea Ave., Memphis, Tennessee 38107
Mastered at ABC Recording Studios, Inc., Los Angelese

(P) 1975 Hot Buttered Soul Recording Co., Inc.
(C) 1975 ABC Records, Inc., Los Angeles, California 90048, New York, New York 10019
Marketed by ABC Records, Inc.


Original ABC Records advert published on a 1975 issue of Billboard


A few more information about Isaac Hayes and "Disco Connection" is available here:

http://discodelivery.blogspot.it/2006/12/disco-delivery-30-isaac-hayes-movement.html

http://www.allmusic.com/album/disco-connection-mw0000845534

http://www.flwrpt.com/blog/2010/11/04/disco-connection/

http://www.discomusic.com/forums/showthread.php/23014-Isaac-Hayes-Movement-Disco-Connection

http://www.whosampled.com/sample/view/2242/Metal%20Fingers-Charnsuka_Isaac%20Hayes-Vykkii/

http://www.avclub.com/articles/isaac-hayes,13967/

...and here's stunning a video that shows Isaac Hayes directing his musicians on the single version of "Disco Connection". Yes, it is staged, but what a treat!




If you have any other useful information about Isaac Hayes and "Disco Connection" - especially corrections and improvements to this post - or if you spot any dead links, please get in touch with me at stereocandies [at] hotmail [dot] com or leave a comment in the box below, thank you!

15 comments:

  1. Thank you very much mr. Candyman!!!

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  2. Jedan od naj ako ne i najbolji disco lp,velko HVALA mr. Candyman!!!

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  3. thanks a lot Candyman, I've been looking for this CD...awesome!

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  4. Thank you Candyman, appreciate people like you keeping these classics alive!

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  5. Thank you sir i was searching for this for a long time! please keep up the good work

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  6. Awsome. Much better than the 7" I have! Thank you

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  7. Monster work by the late Mr. Hayes, truly a talent of epic proportions.
    Thank you very much for posting this gem in such great quality.

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  8. DOWNLOAD LINKS

    FLAC: https://mega.nz/#!JN9...

    MP3: http://www.mediafire.com/?dcn...

    If you download any of these files please consider leaving a comment, your feedback is important!

    Please let me know about any broken link and deleted or unavailable files: I'll do my best to quickly reupload them.

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  9. Superb remaster! Thank you so much - I've been after a decent version of this album for years!

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  10. Thank you very much The Candyman.

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  11. Thanks, I thought this album was awesome! (I had heard some of Isaac Hayes' singing albums, this was a revelation to me).

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Be nice, keep it clean, stay on topic, no spam, thank you!!!

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