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Music Review: Isaac Hayes – Shaft: Deluxe Edition

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Although the 2000 quasi-remake/sequel film Shaft did very little to ingrain itself into our memories, it did boast an extremely poignant tagline that read, “Still the man.” Tagline in the bad, the theatrical Shaft from 2000 managed to possess only one other redeeming quality: it retained the original theme song from now-legendary (read: late) soul composer, Isaac Hayes. Even now, nearly forty years after its inception, the theme from the original Shaft is just as popular as it was back in 1971 — and just as great.

Hayes’ smooth voice still sounds like it is making sweet, burning love with the various instruments from each song — particularly as that brass section gets-a-going (not to mention that classic, good ol’ waka-chi-waka guitar riff). And now, fans of Hayes’ Shaft compositions can kick back and enjoy the soundtrack, which has been digitally remastered for a new “Deluxe Edition” from Stax Records. The immortal favorite — the epic “Theme From Shaft” — sounds better than ever. The new CD also revives the album’s other (lesser-known) vocal tracks (including the whopping 19-minute-plus “Do Your Thing”) as well as the incidental instrumental music that thoroughly set the mood for this blaxploitation masterpiece.

For this “Deluxe Edition,” all fifteen classic tracks have been given the 24-bit onceover by the folks at Stax Records. They have also given us a one-track round of dessert to the soulful meal by adding a new 2009 mix of the “Theme From Shaft” assembled by Bob Fisher. And for those of you in this world who still read liner notes (I know there are at least ten of you), there’s an insightful booklet featuring comments from author/NYU teacher, Ashley Kahn. The eighteen-page booklet also contains a number of photos that will interest any Hayes/Shaft fan.

Yeah, even after all these years, Shaft is still the man. But he’d be nowhere if it hadn’t been for the classic music of Isaac Hayes.

“Damn right.”

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About Luigi Bastardo

Luigi Bastardo is the disgruntled alter-ego of a thirtysomething lad from Northern California who has watched so many weird movies since the tender age of 3 that a conventional life is out of the question. He currently lives in Chico, CA with four cats named Groucho, Harpo, Chico, and Margaret. Seriously.