By Lorraine Kay
LANCASTER, CA — Best known for the title song recording to the movie Shaft, Isaac Hayes performed last Saturday night at the Lancaster Performing Arts Center (LPAC). The 30+ year veteran musician delighted his fans with fresh renditions of tunes spanning the 30-year career.
The 90 minute concert featured tunes from the album “Hot Buttered Soul”, including “Walk on by” and “Hyperbolicsyllabicsesquedalymistic”, and other Hayes hits. Later tunes included “Don’t Let Go” and “Joy”. The soulful renditions performed in the deep sensuous voice had the audience swooning and reminiscing and begging for more. Of course, the number everyone was waiting to here was the award winning “Theme From Shaft”. It brought a standing ovation. For this tune, Hayes rose from behind his keyboard to direct the 12-piece band in a way that only Hayes can do.
Other highlights of the performance were some excellent solos by various members of Hayes’ band, some who have been with him over 30 years. The band included three keyboardists in addition to Hayes, two guitarists – both who have been with Hayes for over 30 years, a percussionist, a drummer, and bassist and three back-up singers. All were given a showcase to strut their stuff and add to the excitement.
One slight side step from the traditional Hayes show was in the form of an introduction. According to Hayes, what he loves most is getting together with family and friends and hosting a feast to feed the body and nourish the soul! So in an effort to introduce his latest release – “Cooking with Heart and Soul”, a cookbook of his favorite recipes and related anecdotes, to the audience, Hayes slipped into his character of Chef from the South Park animated television series.
In a short dialogue between Hayes and Chef, with Hayes playing both parts, they talked about the new book and began reading a recipe from the book as Hayes broke into the song “Chocolate Salty Balls”. The song is from the “Chef Aid: The South Park Album” that went platinum. The song itself was a number one hit in the United Kingdom. The album is currently certified double platinum in the United States and triple platinum in Canada and Australia.
The book of recipes, which Hayes says comes from the “southern country food of his youth – and the lessons learned at his grandmother’s side in the kitchen”, also features recipes of the healthy cuisine that he prefers today. This wide-ranging collection of recipes is more than a cookbook. It is seasoned with stories from Isaac’s life, and garnished with his reflections about home and family and living well. The book is being published by Penguin Putnam.
Coinciding with the release of the cook book, Isaac has joined other celebrities like Paul Newman by bottling one of his own recipes, IKE’s “I Like Barbecue” sauce which is being sold in stores nationwide.
When he has time between promoting his book and the barbecue sauce, Hayes continues to play the music that his fans love to hear. Saturday night in Lancaster, proved that there are still many people out there that prefer that smooth romantic music and the way that Hayes delivers it.