The greatest album ever?

Well to me it’s always been a toss-up between Isaac hayes – To be Continued and Lamont Dozier – Black Bach with Hayes usually winning out.

Of Course, most folk who recall Hayes will do so because of his legendary film score Shaft but he was far more than a writer of music for films.

Both the Hayes and Dozier albums are all but perfect with no duff tracks at all, but To Be Continued is just that little bit more perfect to me. It was released in late 1970 (this is confirmed by my LP copy although my CD copy says 1971) with just 4 long tracks including significant instrumental segments. The tracks?

* You’ve lost That Lovin’ Feelin’ – probably the best track – www.youtube.com/watch?v=pzj1y4cXEZk
* The Look Of Love
* Our Day Will Come
* Runnnin’ Out Of Fools

Hayes was a pioneer in bringing together strings and horns to create a deeper more soulful sound. His long instrumental segments were unique back in the day and no one has really managed to copy his style many years later.

I first heard the album in Andrew Beattie’s Pimbley Grove West, Maghull house back in 1971 or 72 and it blew me away. Andrew was a big lover of music, particularly soul but he had quite a wide range of musical tastes actually. He’s no doubt responsible for my love of soul and smooth jazz. Andrew would spend his last penny on buying albums as a teenager and well into his working years and I recall that his Mum Audrey would be telling him off for buying so many records. It led to him squirrelling new albums away so she would not know!

Anyway, back to Hayes and To Be Continued. Andrew had heard the album being played on BBC Radio 1 and it being raved about by the DJ. Of course he had to have it and it started a love of Isaac Hayes music in both Andrew and me. Andrew died in 1999 and I have his LP copy (see photo above) as a treasured momento of our friendship.

It topped the R&B charts for 11 weeks and for my money it represents Ike at his very best.

Note: I’m indebted to the book ‘All Music Guide to SOUL and Jason Birchmeier who reviewed the album