Jelly Home

all the articles, back to 1995

what’s Jelly got to do with it?

The Jelly Jar
factoids, jokes & links

search / tips


Buy now at

Isaac Hayes
Chocolate Chip
Stax CD SCD-8601-2, 1975/1998 (40:33)

Isaac stretches out

Ben Ohmart

Except for the  Shaft theme (and I may be quite normal here), I'd never heard an Isaac Hayes song/album. Therefore, I requested this CD, intrigued. Thus, notes from a new Hayes-man.

It is of course repetitive R&B, but then, is there any other kind? This music is meant for dancing, not analyzing. Sitting at home in a swivel chair, with the "continuous play" going, it's easy to get enough of this 40 minute CD after seven or seventeen plays. But. The funky arrangements of spiking horns, wah-wah, wild bongo, and elastic bass make this CD a bit hard to come out of the player. Yes, I now understand the power of the Isaac movement.

According to the lengthy liner notes (possibly the best reason to buy this re-release), Hayes was a master of improv, which is how he created everything on this album, staying up from midnight until late morning with all his jammers, trying out new sounds, stealing from each other, starting off with the groove from the drum man. Highly interesting learning.

Seven songs, perhaps the best being the title cut "Chocolate Chip," maybe because it's on the CD twice–with an instrumental following the vocal– the power of intense repetition getting to me. However, the lyrics are fun (I had to read them; just listening to them would've told me nothing). The kind of words a poor white guy like me better not ever attempt.

"Come Live With Me" is so soulful, you'd expect to hear it on the radio today. Though the vocals would have to be a bit more in front of the mike. That's right, I can hardly hear Isaac on this album. He's like a friendly ghost left in the next room, and he can't pass through the door portal, so he's making love to his love by booming from the next plane, next door. Confused? Okay, let's just say you'll need a lyric sheet, unless you make your living out of publishing code books.

Good stuff. I'd recommend it if you're into soul. If you're not, the curiosity value of this living legend should be enough to grab it.

performers  Isaac Hayes, acoustic and electric piano, RMI keyboard computer, concert bells, vocals Lester Snell, Fender Rhodes, RMI keyboards; Charles "Skip" Pitts, guitar; William "Boots" Vaughn, second guitar; Erroll Thomas, bass; Willie Hall, drums; Willie Cole, percussion, drums; Masqueraders, backing vocals; Jimmy "Congalou" Thompson, congas; Tommy Lee Williams, Lewis Collins, Darrel Smith, Emerson Able, Bill Easley, Floyd Newman, Jackie Thomas, Jack Hale, Mickey "Shine" Gregory, William "Nookie" Taylor, Ben Cauley, miscellaneous horns;

songs  That Loving Feeling · Body Language · Chocolate Chip · Chocolate Chip (Instrumental) · I Want to Make Love to You so Bad · Come Live With Me · I Can't Turn Around

Copyright © 2000 Peppercorn Press. All rights reserved.