When he first made his name in the second half of the 60s, Isaac Hayes was known as one half of the mighty songwriting partnership with David Porter that created Stax classics such as Sam & Dave’s “Soul Man” and “Hold On, I’m Comin.’’’ But by 1969, Hayes had started down a solo career path that made him one of the biggest R&B superstars of the era. That sequence was still in full effect around Christmas 1970 with his fourth album, …To Be Continued.
The composer-performer had failed to make the desired impact with his 1968 solo debut, Presenting Isaac Hayes, but returned a year later with an awesome new sound on the Hot Buttered Soul album. The jazzy flavors of the first LP were superseded by an ultra-romantic, dead-slow soulfulness, spread over just four songs, including expansive covers of “Walk On By” (12 minutes) and “By The Time I Get To Phoenix” (an extraordinary 18).
The album was a turning point in late 60s soul and a crossover smash, topping the R&B chart for ten weeks and reaching No.8 in the pop charts. It was followed in the spring of 1970 by The Isaac Hayes Movement, which hit the same pop peak and ruled the R&B bestsellers for seven weeks. Then, towards the end the year, the man from Covington, Tennessee, delivered another dose of the deepest soul in the world with …To Be Continued, and the album lived up to its name.
Even without the aid of big singles this time, the album took precisely two weeks to top the R&B survey, moving to No.1 on the chart for December 26, 1970. It spent an aggregate of 11 weeks there, contesting the top spot from February onwards with Curtis, by the other champion of the sophisticated new soul for the decade just dawned, Curtis Mayfield. This time, Isaac reached No.11 in the pop market.
…To Be Continued had Hayes returning to the Bacharach-David songbook for an 11-minute take on “The Look Of Love.” He opened with his own “Ike’s Rap” to the recipe, on a record that also included his take on “Our Day Will Come” and a 15-minute medley blending his own ”Ike’s Mood” with “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin.’’
Two more consecutive R&B No.1s would follow in 1971, and another two by 1975. America’s loving feeling for Isaac Hayes was abundant.
Buy or stream …To Be Continued.