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From the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.

Shaft

Isaac Hayes

1971

Shaft

Album Summary

Shaft is a double album by Isaac Hayes, recorded for Stax Records' Enterprise label as the soundtrack LP for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer's 1971 blaxploitation film Shaft. The album mostly consists of instrumentals composed by Hayes as score for the film. Three vocal selections are included: "Soulsville", "Do Your Thing", and "Theme from Shaft". A commercial and critical success, Shaft is Hayes' best-known work and the best-selling LP ever released on a Stax label.In 2014, the album was added to the National Recording Registry by the Library of Congress for being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant."

Wikipedia

Rating

3.2

Votes

5833

Genres

  • Soul
  • Funk
  • Jazz
Reviews
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View Author
Thu Jun 24 2021
2

Oh yeah. Quick aside, if soundtracks are allowed on this list, then where's Saturday Night Fever? Because Saturday Night Fever is a 5. Also, the Spotify link here does NOT include the entire album, it only allows you to hear 4 songs from the album. If you intend to listen to Spotify, make sure you listen to the remastered Deluxe Edition, which has all 16 songs. Theme from Shaft (the song) is an all-time classic. The rest? Well, it's not Saturday Night Fever. Since I was already familiar with the theme song, the rest of it made me a bit disappointed. It's fine overall. I'm not sure it belongs on the list. It could get kicked off to make room for, gee, I don't know...Saturday Night Fever maybe?

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Thu Apr 29 2021
3

Je me réveillai hier matin avec la même curiosité quotidienne : qu'allait me proposer aujourd'hui ce généreux générateur ? Mon doigt tapa soudain le lien de ce dernier dans la barre de recherche et, une fois ma critique de l'album précédent rédigée ainsi que les quelques étoiles attribuées, l'album Shaft apparut au milieu de l'écran. Je cliquai sur le lien Spotify lorsque je fus pris d'effroi ; seuls trois chansons étaient disponibles. YouTube fut dès lors ma seule alternative. Après quelques minutes d'écoute, la supercherie se découvrit progressivement : il s'agissait de la bande son d'un long-metrage. Je laissai échapper un long soupir amer. C'est désemparé que je poursuivis tout de même l'écoute. "Comment as-tu trouvé la musique ?" me demanderiez-vous si j'étais en face de vous. "Pas mal" vous répondrais-je avec assurance. J'ai seulement regretté les trop nombreuses similitudes avec la bande-son du film Amélie Poulain, personnage qui intervient d'ailleurs à de nombreuses reprises dans le morceau de 19 minutes. Une belle collaboration en somme.

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Thu Apr 29 2021
3

Vivement les 1001 comptines à écouter avant de s'endormir

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Mon Jun 14 2021
4

I mean, it's Shaft, right? Baby, if you can't groove on this at least a little bit, I don't know if we can jive, dig? This is prime, buttered funk. But ... well, it's a bit dated at this point, you know? For example, "Cafe Regio" sounds like it should be playing in an elevator at some resort in Miami. Still a great album filled with sick grooves, though.

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Wed Feb 17 2021
3

This was a funky album. But also... my life doesn’t need to have shaft music in the background? I’m not a black man with an Afro wearing a purple coat and a Steve Harvey mustache...

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Wed Feb 23 2022
2

There is no way this album should be on this list to me. It’s not because I hate the music. The music is fine…for a soundtrack. You know…where there is a visual presentation ongoing simultaneously. This album is devoid of much meaning on its own. Admittedly, I’ve never seen Shaft. So maybe the album would feel more tactile if I had the memory of the action to harken back to while listening. From the sound, I can tell that songs like Ellie’s Love Theme and Early Sunday Morning fit the mood the song title implies. To me, an album shouldn’t be on this list if it is only impactful when paired with its movie. This album would be better fit for a list of movies with great soundtracks you must see/hear before you die, assuming it fits that mold. I’ve definitely had a vastly more profound negative visceral reaction to some other albums on the list (The Cramps, System of a Down I’m thinking of you), but at least I can understand how someone can get into them. This album it’s hard for me to understand how this is a go to listen for someone without the movie. And it does not do anything to make me want to see the movie either. I don’t get it.

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Mon Mar 15 2021
1

I see no reason to listen to these songs other than if you are actually watching the movie...

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Fri Feb 12 2021
5

Gotta be my next find at the record store.

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Mon Jan 18 2021
5

Instantly a classic. Fucking phenomenal, soulful and yet the times of psychedelic rock start showing near the end.

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Sun Apr 04 2021
5

Amazing album overall can not believe it had such a cultural impact as the score for a film 4.8

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Wed Apr 21 2021
5

You know that Shaft is one bad mother... (Shut your mouth!) But I'm just talkin' about Shaft! (We can dig it)

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Tue Dec 14 2021
5

Such a soulful album. The use of horns and strings alternates between peeping you up and mellowing you out, much like Shaft himself when he’s on the job. I forgot how much gospel influence there is as well. Use of vocals is smart and timely without overdoing it. I loved this album!

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Tue Jul 06 2021
4

I was expecting this to be a "this is pretty good but not really my thing" type of review but I really ended up digging this. Do Your Thing is an epic jam. Most everything on here is ultra-groovy and funkalicious. 4 stars.

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Thu Jun 24 2021
4

Very cool 70's vibes, feels like this must've been what set the tone for this to be riffed off so much. Love the theme, the rest is good, but still a movie soundtrack. Bumping up to a 4 for the influence.

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Wed Jun 23 2021
4

Chef from South Park is such a smooth, sensual, caring lover. I often dress up as Shaft for children's parties. They love it. I love it.

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Sun Aug 29 2021
3

Ja shaftar din mamma!!

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Wed Feb 23 2022
2

I feel bad giving this a 2 considering the cultural significance and the fact that the sound is perfectly pleasant. The problem for me lies in the fact that it was designed to be background to what was happening on screen. It is not designed or intended to be digested on it's own.

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Wed Feb 23 2022
2

Shaft was a bad mother (shut your mouth), but you wouldn't know if just from listening to Isaac Hayes' soundtrack. This album felt like chillin' in the jazz club, not chasing down some mobsters or risking his neck for his brother man. There were some cool guitar elements on "Cafe Regio's," but overall I was surprised by the lack of excitement, pace, and action implied in most of these instrumentals, you dig? Does most of the movie "Shaft" involve scenes of Shaft lying in bed relaxing with a good book or a post-coital cigarette? Or walking through the park on a sunny day? The energy finally picks up at the end of "No Name Bar," and "Do Your Thing" does a lot of different things, some of which are pretty great.

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Wed Feb 17 2021
1

I..what..I don't understand. Maybe it was just too sexy for me.

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Tue Mar 30 2021
5

Can you dig it? Best track: Theme from Shaft

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Thu Feb 04 2021
5

Never heard anything but the Shaft theme by Hayes. Some really good background vibing tunes.

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Thu Jan 14 2021
5

Amazingly good.

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Thu Jan 21 2021
5

Good funk, Elevator music.

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Thu Feb 18 2021
5

Knew and loved many of these tracks already. This was surprisingly fun to work to, and I expect I'll be coming back to it on occasion.

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Wed Apr 21 2021
5

soundtrack music is the best, why isn't there more

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Thu Jun 24 2021
5

Holy hell this album is groovy.

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Sun Jun 20 2021
5

Прекрасный саундтрек. Осталось посмотреть фильм.

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Sun Aug 29 2021
5

Funky, soulful and keeps it up for the whole double album (though it could be one disc if not for "Do Your Thing"). You can't go wrong with it.

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Sun Sep 19 2021
5

Spotify was missing about 9 songs from this album sadly. Still a wonderful album!

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Tue Sep 28 2021
5

The album that really shows the godlike genius that is Isaac Hayes. The arrangements are the equal of Per Sounds.

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Wed Oct 13 2021
5

only brilliant. Loved it

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Tue Oct 19 2021
5

Great soundtrack!

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Fri Nov 05 2021
5

Groovy as hell and smooth as a motherfucker

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Sat Nov 06 2021
5

Holy crap, Do Your Thing just GOES OFF. The rest of the album is pretty smooth and funky, but that track is GOLD.

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Tue Nov 09 2021
5

Excellent. Added to list of favorites

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Mon Nov 29 2021
5

Really fun album. Great score

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Thu Dec 02 2021
5

Awesome album. Classic for a reason.

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Tue Dec 14 2021
5

Anyone who doesn’t like this album doesn’t know 1) what great music is 2) how to have fun.

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Wed Dec 15 2021
5

Surprised by how much I’m enjoying these funky jams. Great music to focus on work to as well.

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Wed Dec 22 2021
5

I *love* this album. Every track. Sure, everybody knows the theme song, but the real good stuff is on the B side.

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Thu Jan 06 2022
5

Really awesome jazzy funk. Instant classic.

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Sat Jan 15 2022
5

It's amazing.

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Thu Jan 20 2022
5

Шафт!!!!!!!!

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Fri Jan 28 2022
5

Every. 👏🏼Fucking. 👏🏼 Track. 👏🏼

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Wed Feb 02 2022
5

Fun and groovy. Watch yo' mouth!

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Tue Mar 29 2022
5

Awesome soul/funk music. It’s weird to listen to Isaac Hayes because I always think of Chef from South Park, but the dude is legitimately talented. This album is a bop.

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Thu Apr 28 2022
5

A masterclass in soundtracks. Character-driven melodies and arrangements, so much pace and movement, long-form instrumentals and vocal pieces, and that chunky, solid full orchestral backing. Spot on.

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View Author
Thu Apr 28 2022
5

Every bit as cool as its reputation – and maybe even cooler. “Do Your Thing” is elevated and epic – just about as good as rock/soul/pop music can be. The title track completely unmistakable, truly one of a kind The instrumentals work every bit as well as those cuts where the nonpareil voice (casual, knowing) comes. Awesome in every way as it can be. 4.8 / 5

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View Author
Mon May 09 2022
5

Smooth

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View Author
Mon May 16 2022
5

Along with 1993, the 1001 randomizer has recently gifted me with soundtracks. This one I have actually heard before. It is a double album and mostly instrumental and was scored by Isaac Hayes. The album was #1 on the charts, had a #1 song on the charts and won an academy award. It incorporated using R&B and soul into a soundtrack and was highly successful. Due to this, it had a huge influence on both soundtracks and R&B music (Curtis Mayfield, Marvin Gaye). Hayes recorded the rhythym tracks with the Stax Studio band The Bar-Kays in one day, the orchestral tracks the next day and then the vocals on the third day. The songs were later re-recorded at Stax Studios. This album is one of those added to National Recording Registry by The Library of Congress for being culturally, historically or aesthetically significant. The album starts out with iconic "Theme from Shaft". Got to love the intro with guitar and cymbals. For the next set of songs, it sounds like a soundtrack, with Hayes doing a great job combining jazzy guitar and rhythm with horns and strings to sound like a cinematic score. A great song in this set is "Cafe Regio's." The ability of Hayes to do this should come as no surprise if you've ever listen to his "Hot Buttered Soul" from 1969. The second half of this album is where it really takes off and separates itself from other soundtracks; I did think I was listening to "Hot Buttered Soul." It starts with "Soulsville" which is one the few songs with vocals. Next is "No Name Bar" with a great groove mixing in horns and strings and then "Bumpy Blues" with its piano and bluesy feel. And then...the highlight for me " Do Your Thing" which is a total R&B, soul and psychedelic jam. At 19 minutes long it didn't seem long enough. The guitar solo alone is epic, seemingly clocking in at 10 minutes. Who doesn't also love an organ solo? The song ends in like a psychedelic haze.... Amazing. The album ends with an instrumental of the "Shaft" theme. It's been awhile since I've seen the movie but after listening to this, I need to see where all these songs fit in.

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Fri Jul 08 2022
5

Even though most of this is instrumental, it is fantastic. I love the Theme from Shaft.

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Thu Jul 28 2022
5

This is great walking around the city music

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Sat Jul 30 2022
5

This is the good stuff

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Wed Aug 17 2022
5

Iconique

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Mon Aug 29 2022
5

five stars, for a brother man

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Wed Sep 07 2022
5

Awesome awesome album. One of the first on this list I agree with!

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Mon Sep 26 2022
5

I’ve never seen the movie Shaft, but I do remember watching the Academy Awards the night that Isaac Hayes won 2 Oscars - one for the now legendary theme song & one for the best dramatic score. Hayes was a mainstay of Stax Records during the 60’s - a great musician & composer and he had started a solo career in 1968. Four solo albums preceded Shaft but there’s no doubt that his career peaked with the soundtrack. Hardly surprising. A double album, it is thoroughly engaging, whether you’ve seen the film or not. It is soulful, funky and jazzy. Hayes enlisted the great Stax band The Bar-Kays to provide the instrumentation. I listened to the album from go to whoa & loved it. Here was a man who was only the 3rd Black American to win an Oscar, with a style of music that the Academy had never celebrated before. And 25 years before Salty Balls.

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Tue Oct 18 2022
5

9/10. This was really nice, an improvement on the other Isaac Hayes album by virtue of the fact he is singing a bit more sparsely

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Mon Dec 05 2022
5

classic

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Sat Dec 31 2022
5

Solid! 5 stars!!

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Wed Jan 11 2023
5

Interesting to have a soundtrack on this list - most of the tracks are instrumental and it's very easy to imagine them as background pieces. I've not seen Shaft the movie, but am aware of it's cult. As for the music, it's insanely groovy - itchy guitar hooks aplenty; deliciously mellow at times. I've always felt Isaac Hayes was like a much cooler Barry White. Such a shame that he fell in with the Scientologists; for South Park to offer a tender tribute rather than an all-out character assassination speaks volumes. A fantastic composition.

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Tue Jan 17 2023
5

It's a soundtrack, so it's literally designed to be background music... ...but, this is Isaac Hayes, so I'm totally unsurprised that 'Shaft' rules. Putting aside the iconic theme song, the other pieces are the audio equivalent of an indulgent dessert - there's a delicious voluptuary about the arrangements. Plus, this is pungent music, invoking particular times, moods and atmospheres with ease. Of course, it wouldn't be Hayes if there wasn't a track jammed out to last almost one side of vinyl. Here, it's 'Do Your Thing', a kickass hunk of soul-funk with one of the sickest guitar solos around. It's the Blaxploitation 'Freebird'!

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Wed Mar 17 2021
4

It's a little strange to see a soundtrack on this list, but fuck it starts out strong. After that it just kind of chills out and fades into the background the way a soundtrack is supposed to. It's really good though. 4/5

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Tue Jul 13 2021
4

Sexy, cool.

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Tue Jul 20 2021
4

Excellent example of an effective motion picture soundtrack. Cafe Regio makes me feel like I'm at a late 60s Californian pool party.

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Fri Jan 22 2021
4

Slaps

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Sat Jul 17 2021
4

hehee shaft

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Tue Mar 30 2021
4

Guess it would be good but album not available

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Mon Jan 18 2021
4

Love Stax

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Sat Mar 27 2021
4

soooo smooooth

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Mon Mar 15 2021
4

Classic

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Sat May 29 2021
4

Never listened to this whole soundtrack before. It was a nice listen! Great vibes, of the era.

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Fri Feb 05 2021
4

Wasn't expecting a soundtrack. They're not typically my favorite, but I thought this was still pretty groovy tho ngl

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Tue May 04 2021
4

Soul progresivo. Muchos temas instrumentales. Bastante bueno.

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Mon Jul 12 2021
4

Theme from Shaft is rad. 3 songs in and I am hooked! Great song structure, interesting motifs, and a sense of grounding and authenticity in the sound. Man what a pleasure to listen to.

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Wed Jan 27 2021
4

Sex

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Thu Jun 24 2021
4

Its a good album but odd that a movie soundtrack made this list. I think the importance of the album speaks to its high ranking. Had head Theme From Shaft before and its interesting to learn more about it. 3.5 but rounding up for influence.

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Wed Jul 14 2021
4

Best wel goede jazz muziek

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Tue Jul 20 2021
4

What a hoot. Thoroughly enjoyed this jazzy number

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Tue Jun 15 2021
4

Shoutout to making a soundtrack sound fun. I find that most soundtracks tend to fall into the background and have no life to them outside of the intended movie, but Hayes clearly wanted music that could be enjoyed at home as well. That kicks ass! Thank you Issac Hayes. The penultimate track Do Your Thing is also a certified 19-minute banger and deserves to be immortalized.

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Wed Feb 17 2021
4

Solid vibes for a Tuesday

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Wed Feb 17 2021
4

Bless up.

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Wed Feb 17 2021
4

groovy baby

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Tue May 18 2021
4

Some great, original sounds + music. Encumbered by it being a film soundtrack rather than an independent work of music.

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Wed Feb 17 2021
4

This soundtrack is not only an eclectic collection of sound, but an evolution of feelings - the ups, the downs, the bops, the orchestra. :chef’s kiss:

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Tue Apr 13 2021
4

Wahnsinns Soundtrack.

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Fri Jul 02 2021
4

really need to watch this movie. If it's half as good as the soundtrack it's 4.5 stars easy

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Mon Jul 05 2021
4

Groovy as hell, most of the songs aren't available on spotify though :(

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Thu May 06 2021
4

More of a passive listen, given that it's a film soundtrack. Even so, each track is dripping with funk and evocative beats. It all feels very iconic; weirdly so given that I've never actually watched the movie all the way through.

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Sun May 09 2021
4

Jazz

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Fri Jul 02 2021
4

So groovy. Enjoyed it quite a bit. I can't get over the fact that chef has such a great voice, but he did have some memorable songs on the show. Smooth and easy listen.

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Sun Jul 25 2021
4

I enjoyed this a lot. Every song was good. I think it's really good background music and i will be revisiting a lot of the songs again. 4/5 stars.

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Mon Jul 26 2021
4

-Cool bass in "Walk From Regio's" -"No Name Bar" is quite grooving -"Do Your Thing" has great guitar solos and awesome guitar throughout. The lyrics are nice as an addition. It keeps my interest well for a 19 minute song -This is a great album, lots of grooves and jams. Would probably be a 5 if it had lyrics. I get that it's a soundtrack, so it's not going to have many lyrics, but I just prefer music with lyrics. -Basically all of this album is going onto my study playlist

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Thu Aug 05 2021
4

81. De um tarolo para um tarolo. MotA: Theme From Shaft "Who's the black private dick that's a sex machine to all the chicks?"

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Mon Aug 09 2021
4

Heel gave muziek vandaag. Je voelt de soul en als je dan Samuel L. Jackson erbij bedenkt is het plaatje compleet. Ik heb ook wel iets met filmmuziek, ten minste een groot liefhebber van Ennio Morricone. Het is gewoon geniaal als je een bepaalde sfeer in je hoofd kan visualiseren door alleen de muziek te luisteren. Beste nummer uiteraard "Theme From Shaft" zelf die de sfeer meteen goed neerzet. Binnenkort de film nog eens kijken. ****

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Thu Aug 12 2021
4

Very Jazzy with a bit of the Isaac Hayes flair. I liked it.

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Fri Aug 20 2021
4

In summary, https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=b2_vbou3kxE

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Sun Aug 29 2021
4

jamming...

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Wed Sep 08 2021
4

I, like much of my generation, really only knew Isaac Hayes from South Park. Glad to have gotten this and checked out the record. Tight, funky, soulful music that's engaging to listen to despite it being background music for a film score. Favorite tracks: "Ellie's Love Theme", "No Name Bar", "Do Your Thing"

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Fri Sep 10 2021
4

My first time listening to anything beyond the theme song. It's impossible not to like this, right? The musicianship/swagger combo is almost unparalleled. It takes its time with each song building endlessly into such a masterpiece. Layers add at the end of each bar. No tambourine yet? Just wait 16 beats, or so...

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