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Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Hump Day Slow Jam of the Week: Isaac Hayes, "Walk on By"

Posted By on Wed, Mar 4, 2009 at 3:46 PM

The Singer: Stax recording artist, Shaft theme singer, King of New York, voice of South Park's Chef and Scientologist: Isaac Hayes amassed quite the rap sheet before his death last year. He started as a songwriter for Stax Records and became a singer in his own right in the late '60s. Today's cut comes from 1969's Hot Buttered Soul, though the album's 12-minute version of "Walk on By" is truncated here.

The Song: Originally a hit for Dionne Warwick, the Bacharach/David composition "Walk On By" gets slowed down and funked up in Hayes' hands. The fuzz-bombed, doppler-effect guitar line gives the song a little touch of menace, and the female back-up singers give a nod to Warwick's original. But it's Hayes' bottomless voice that gives the song both emotional and sonic depth. 

The Video: This mimed performance comes from the television program Music Scene and features a sunglasses-bedecked Hayes walking amid the show's geometrically fascinating set. Hipster Cachet: Belgian trip-hop group Hooverphonic made fine use of the song on its hit "2wicky." The clip is below:


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