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Charted: July 12, 1969

Rating: 4.929 (average of 7 ratings)

Genre: R&B

Quotable: “One of soul’s timeless, landmark albums.” – Jason Birchmeier, All Music Guide

Album Tracks:

  1. Walk on By [12:02]
  2. Hyperbolicsyllabicesque- dalymistic [9:36]
  3. One Woman [5:07]
  4. By the Time I Get to Phoenix [18:42]

Sales (in millions):

sales in U.S. only 0.5
sales in U.K. only - estimated --
sales in all of Europe as determined by IFPI – click here to go to their site. --
sales worldwide - estimated 0.5


peak on U.S. Billboard album chart 8
peak on U.K. album chart --

Singles/Hit Songs:

  • Walk on By [edit] (8/23/69) #30 US, #13 RB
  • By the Time I Get to Phoenix [edit] (8/30/69) #37 US, #37 RB


Rated one of the top 1000 albums of all time by Dave’s Music Database. Click to learn more.

Hot Buttered Soul
Isaac Hayes
“By 1969, black artists were following rock’s lead and recording extended epics. At the forefront of such experimentation was big bad Isaac Hayes, coauthor of countless Stax classics and an artist in his own right.” BH With Hot Buttered Soul, his second album, he “set the precedent for how soul would evolve in the early ‘70s.” JB

“With the release of this album, Motown suddenly seemed manufactured and James Brown a bit too theatrical.” JB Hayes stretched songs “far beyond the traditional three-to-four-minute industry norm,” JB most notably with “two MOR-pop benchmarks, Burt Bacharach’s Walk on By and Jimmy Webb’s By the Time I Get to Phoenix.” BH He “spins them out into slow-building sermons lasting 12 and 18.5 minutes apiece.” BH

With “its lengthy monologue,” JB “Phoenix” “slowly eases you toward the climactic, almost-orchestral finale.” JB Meanwhile, “Walk on By” is “true perfection, its trademark string-laden intro just dripping with syrupy sentiment, and the thumping mid-tempo drum beat and accompanying bassline instilling a complementary sense of nasty funk to the song; if that isn’t enough to make it an amazing song, Hayes’ almost painful performance brings yet more feeling to the song, with the guitar’s heavy vibrato and the female background singers taking the song to even further heights.” JB

Such length works also meant “long instrumental stretches where the Bar-Kays stole the spotlight.” JB On “the 10-minute Hyperbolicsyllabicsesquedalymistic, Hayes and his backing band the Bar-Kays wind up sounding, bizarrely, like a black Crazy Horse” BH as they trade in “in sappy sentiment for straight-ahead funk, highlighted by a stomping piano halfway through the song.” JB

One Woman is the least epic moment, clocking in at only five minutes, but stands as a straightforward, well-executed love ballad.” JB

The “heavily romantic” BH nature of the album “introduced a new, iconic persona for soul with Hayes’ tough yet sensual image,” JB and predated “by two years Barry White’s symphonic adventures in the same style, revolutionizing soul music in the process.” BH

“Though not quite as definitive as Black Moses or as well-known as Shaft, Hot Buttered Soul remains an undeniably seminal record.” JB It is “one of soul’s timeless, landmark albums, the album that transformed Hayes into a lifelong icon.” JB

Review Source(s):

By the Time I Get to Phoenix (live, cuts off)

Hayes discusses how the monologue in “Phoenix” came about.

Walk on By (live)

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Last updated August 20, 2010.