Isaac Hayes – “Walk On By” from Hot Buttered Soul (1969)
I don’t love Isaac Hayes — at least not his gold-chain shaved-head solo career. His singing doesn’t usually do it for me — he often lacks poise and urgency. Few of his molasses-thick string arrangements hit the sweet spot. While his keyboard work tends to be quite good, I wish he let the funk grooves carry the songs. There’s a cheesiness to his music that tends toward the embarrassing.
All that said, his version of Bacharach/David’s “Walk On By” that opens the recently remastered Hot Buttered Soul is damn awesome. It’s a great song, with a great organ sound, a cool string melody, a funky bassline, spooky back-up singing, a simple in-the-pocket drumbeat, weird ringing noises, fuzzy guitar, triumphant brass, flutes, a helluva crescendo. And bad mixing toward the end that cuts and raises the volume of the song willy-nilly. Everything you want in a psych-soul masterpiece.
If you like your buttered soul appetizer sized, try the single edit:
Issac Hayes – “Walk On By (Single Edit)” (1969)
Dionne Warwick made the song famous — I believe that Burt Bacharach and Hal David wrote it for her. Check out her very different, very good version:
Dionne Warwick – “Walk On By” (single, 1964)
The Stranglers, too, apparently had a UK hit with a punk rock version:
The Stranglers – “Walk On By” (single, 1978)
Posted by Glenn