It’s been exactly 5 days since I’ve done, well, anything. I contracted some alien virus while visiting Texas last week and the training plan just kind of fell apart from there. And while I’m on the mend and going to attempt an easy spin this evening, I also want to begin working out my muscles a bit this afternoon on my mat (in my underpants no less) with Tina the Cat who pretty much comes running now as soon as she hears the mat being unfurled. I think she just finds the whole yoga/underpants thing fascinating like “what the fuck is this dipshit human doing now?” Either that, or like every other female on the planet in the early 70’s, she is also drawn to a deep, sexy, baritone voice.
Anyway, the plan is just for a super-slow, relaxing yoga session in order to loosen everything up anticipating a return to my regular training plan this week. My mat session then is also set to something super-slow with another staple from the Stax Records archives, the ‘Joy‘ album by Isaac Hayes.
I fully recognize that my recent fascination for the bald, black soul singer with a penchant for wearing little else than revealing leopard print furs and gold chains might be a bit, well, weird. I get that. I truly do. But I just can’t deny this dude’s funky soulful allure is perfect for relaxing into whatever yoga pose I’m trying to pretzel myself into and, therefore, awesome.
Judge me if you want, however, with seven massive #1 records trailing in his wake, ‘ol “Black Moses” donned his stylin’, funky gold-chain link vest once again and capped 1973 with this album, a set which might have proven the lucky-streak breaker – it missed the top spot by one place – but still waded into gold-record waters with ease.
‘Joy‘ itself (the title track), of course, was the album’s crowning glory, a gargantuan 15-minute piece which essentially devoured side one of the album while the accompanying ‘I Love You That’s All‘ is merely an afterthought. Heady, smoky, ubiquitous – an instrumental and vocal foray into the land of good grooves – it was sexy and sassy, with strings and innuendo stripped bare and smoothly built to lead anyone within earshot toward a classic climax. The song continued to impact via sampled revitalization from as far afield as TLC and Massive Attack among others.
However, ‘Joy‘ is an entire album, with Hayes continuing his silky vocal assault across a further three slow, simmering songs on Side Two. The best, and perhaps most interesting, is the closing ‘I’m Gonna Make It (Without You)‘. Markedly as “un-steamy” by adoring Hayes’ fans, the song finds him trading in his come-ons, choosing instead to open up and lay himself down in the wake of a broken romance. It’s the album’s most touching moment by far, equally on par with the opener. Indeed, with those two glorious bookends, this album becomes a must-have for any ’70s soul aficionado.