To his everlasting relief, Hayes was once again on a roll. Scarcely twelve months earlier the man dubbed " Black Moses " had his back against the wall with the fate of his career hanging in the balance.
Alongside James Brown , Hayes had been the preeminent star of black popular music in the first half of the In the process Hayes demonstrated unequivocally that, if allowed enough freedom in the studio, black artists could create albums that would sell in significant quantities.
Hayes 's success challenged the prevailing wisdom within the industry which held that the black populace could neither afford nor support the higher-priced album format.
The monster sales figures of albums such as " Hot Buttered Soul ", " To Be Continued " and " The Isaac Hayes Movement " led to a complete transformation of the political economy of black popular music, paving the way for classic album-lenght statements by the likes of Stevie Wonder , Marvin Gaye , Curtis Mayfield and Funkadelic. With " Shaft " Hayes had also pioneered the black soundtrack, while his recordings at large had pointed the way toward new possibilities for orchestration; fused elements of Soul, Jazz, Pop, Rock and Classical; introduced the concept of the spoken monologue; and had served to once again bring smooth, silky baritone voices into vogue.
At the midpoint in the decade things could have been all roses for Hayes , but unfortunately, the good ship Stax ran into financial troubles in and Hayes 's career, alongside those of a number of his labelmates, suffered accordingly.
By late summer , with his records selling in ever smaller numbers, he was forced to sue Stax for his release due to the company's inability to pay him the funds mandated in his contract.
With Stax owing him thousand of dollars, Hayes found himself in a precarious financial situation of his own. Flush with success, he had spent much of and expanding his empire, buying his own studio, starting his own label, and concomitantly expanding his payroll. By the time the spring of rolled around, Hayes hadn't had a real hit album in a year and a half, and his only steady source of income stemmed from live concerts and biannual songwriter royalties.
At times it appeared that more cash was going out than coming in. The welcome success of " Chocolate Chip " allowed Hayes room to breathe. Recorded in the second half of , the completely instrumental " Disco Connection " LP was released in December the same year. Appearing under the aegis of Isaac Hayes Movement, 's instrumental Disco Connection was sandwiched in between the mightily successful Chocolate Chip and the tongue-in-cheeky Groove-a-Thon , outstanding albums which defined Hayes ' mid-'70s sound.
Disco Connection, however, foundered in comparison, but still proved a hit with the fans, easily slipping into the Top 20 early in Focusing on groovy brass and blistering guitars, the album is best represented by the title track, which is an up-tempo disco jam punctuated by Charles Pitts' mighty picking and sweeping strings.
Elsewhere, and especially on "Aruba" and "St. Thomas Square," the set slides effortlessly into Hayes ' unmistakably classic instrumental arrangements, which are so definitive and derivative of that era. Disco Connection remains largely forgotten, though, as Hayes ' style slipped in and out of fashion.
This LP in particular was perhaps a little too easy on the ear with its light sounds and the lack of a blockbuster hit. But while it's true that there are far finer ways to experience Hayes in all his glory, Disco Connection remains a slick reminder of the finesse which drove the simple arrangements of guitar, strings, and brass to such sweeping ends.
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