The Hayes of Our Lives

Isaac Hayes was a pop icon who wasn’t afraid to mock himself as he did as Chef on South Park. His smooth, sometimes syrupy, soul romanticism wasn’t big with many on the east coast so I didn’t really get into him until I moved to Toronto. I found a used copy of the double lp Shaft soundtrack at Cheapies & really liked all of it. Jazzy, soulful, plus that strutting Blaxploitation wahwah. 

I have an mp3 collection his Very Best Of that includes things like I just Don’t Know What To Do With Myself. That deep sensual voice of his is hard to resist despite the heteronormative content of his lyrics. On this cd I includes Barry White’s Ultimate Collection another deep sexy voice that owes everything to Hayes. Here also is Carl Douglas’s Kung Gu Fighting – too bad he got trapped by that big hit.

 

On this cd is also The Jackson’s Destiny & Michael Jackson’s Off The Wall – prime disco & beyond, that is full of fun dancing memory for me. As is Marky Mark’s You Gotta Believe. Can Marky rap? I don’t know but he sure has a great six-pack and excellent taste in producers, as the samples that drive this album are amazing. Let’s here it for Loleatta Holloway for making Good Vibrations a classic that will outlive Marky’s six-pack.

Speaking of Blaxploitation I have a mp3 cd that includes Hayes wonderful Shaft soundtrack, as well his soundtracks for Tough Guys and Truck Turner (which he stars in). Funky with a dash of that Hollywood smoothness. It also has Soundtracks for Shaft’s Big Score by Gordon Parks; and Shaft in Africa by Johnny Pate. More wahwah with slightly different flavouring but not up to Hayes work. Finally a real jazz lp Jack McDuff – a funky organist in the Booker T mold. Here is his Sophisticated Funk & it is a delight.

Delight

‘Just what is this supposed to mean?’ Jill pointed to the inscription I had put in the book of Symbolists’ poetry I had given her.

‘What do you think it means?’

‘That you don’t value all the work I do to improve myself.’

‘It does not.’

‘Perhaps you have forgotten what you wrote – it says ‘Jill, you will find more in here about spiritual matters than in any self-help book.’ You mean to say that isn’t putting down all the good I get out of self-help books.’

‘Jill, it means that poetry comes from the heart, speaks to the heart – those self-books come from the head and speak to the head. The spirit is in the heart not the head.’

‘At least I can understand those books. This poetry doesn’t speak to me at all.’

‘Try reading it out loud. The delight is often in the sound of the words and not in any meaning.’

‘Then what’s the point?’

‘Are you so sure the spirit wants to have a point or is it merely to be experienced.’

‘You are talking in circles.’

‘Good. If you get dizzy enough maybe you can shut of your chattering monkey mind and just enjoy the sensation of being dizzy.’

‘What’s the point?’

‘There isn’t a point. Let go of the need to have a point. That’s what poetry can do for you. Savour it – what is the point of … say … the taste of food. Do you eat chocolate because it is nutritious or because it tastes so good. Poetry tastes good to the soul. Try it.’

‘It’ll rot my mind.’

‘As if that’s ever stopped you from eating candy.’

‘So now I have an eating disorder too. Is that it?’

‘Jill, you have to get rid of the notion that the mind does the work. If you want to open to spirit you have learn to let go of the mind. I said let go, not throw away. Surrender to the power of the images in the poetry. Picture them without need to understand them and perhaps then you may even begin to understand them.’

‘Easy for you to say.’

‘No easier than for you. I’ve just more practice at it. I had to start somewhere. Once I let go of the idea that understanding would do me any good I began to actually understand.’

‘But without understanding what good is the mind, knowledge.’

‘Both are good things and I said this isn’t throwing away the mind or knowledge but letting go of the notion they are all there is. They are the key not the door. You can do it. Try these poems. Take them. One a day. Read them out loud. Feel foolish doing that and eventually something will happen. Just don’t try to explain them. All they mean is what they the words pull out of your heart, not some articulate explanation of what they mean.’

‘Forget it.’ She handed me back the book. ‘I’ll stick to what I know.’

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