Hot Buttered Soul

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Hot Buttered Soul
Studio album by
ReleasedJune 1969[1][2]
RecordedMarch - May 1969
ProducerAl Bell, Marvell Thomas, Allen Jones
Isaac Hayes chronology
Presenting Isaac Hayes
Hot Buttered Soul
The Isaac Hayes Movement
Singles from Hot Buttered Soul
  1. "Walk On By" / "By the Time I Get to Phoenix"
    Released: July 1969

Hot Buttered Soul is the second studio album by American soul musician Isaac Hayes. Released in 1969, it is recognized as a landmark in soul music.[5][6] Recorded with The Bar-Kays, the album features four lengthy tracks, including a 12-minute version of the Burt Bacharach/Hal David cover "Walk On By" and an almost 19-minute long version of Jimmy Webb's "By the Time I Get to Phoenix"; both songs were edited significantly and released as a double A-side single in July 1969.[2]


Hayes' 1968 solo debut, Presenting Isaac Hayes, had been a poor seller for the record label Stax Records, and Hayes was about to return to his behind-the-scenes role as a producer and songwriter, when the label suddenly lost its entire back catalog after splitting with Atlantic Records in May 1968.[7]

Stax executive Al Bell decided to release an almost-instant back catalog of 27 albums and 30 singles at once, and ordered all of Stax's artists to record new material, encouraging some of Stax's prominent creative staff, including Hayes and guitarist Steve Cropper, to record solo albums.[7]

After feeling burned by the retail and creative flop of his first album, Hayes told Bell that he would not record a follow-up or any other album unless he was granted complete creative control. Since Bell had encouraged Hayes to record Presenting... in the first place, he readily agreed.[7]


Produced by Al Bell with Allen Jones and Marvell Thomas, the record was tracked by engineer Terry Manning at the Ardent Studios location on National Street in Memphis. The Bar-Kays were the tracking band, supplemented by pianist and co-producer Marvell Thomas (son of Rufus Thomas). Isaac Hayes played Hammond organ and sang the vocals live while conducting the tracking band at the same time. Much of the later production was done as part of the package of products brought to Detroit by producer Don Davis to expedite the production process. The strings and horns were arranged by Detroit arranger Johnny Allen and were recorded at United Sound Studios by engineer Ed Wolfrum with vocals and final mix at Tera Shirma by engineer Russ Terrana.[7] The producers were looking for a sweeping orchestral sound that would enhance the rhythm tracks. The pre-delay reverberation technique, recorded in part by Terry Manning on the tracking session, had been used at Artie Fields productions in Detroit in late 1950s, and at Columbia Records; it was also used by Wolfrum and others for numerous productions and commercials previous and after the release of this project including the Marvin Gaye What's Going On project, with orchestration also recorded at United. Russ Terrana went on to the engineering staff of Motown Records and was responsible for the recording and mixing of many hits on that label.[7]


Professional ratings
Review scores
Robert ChristgauC[8]
MusicHound[citation needed]
Pitchfork Media9.2/10[11]
Rolling Stone[13]
Stereo Review(favourable)[14]

The album was released in June 1969 and peaked at number 1 on the top R&B chart, and at number 8 on the Billboard 200.[1][15]

Contemporary and retrospective reviews of the album were highly positive. AllMusic ranks Hot Buttered Soul as perhaps the best record of Hayes's career, second only to 1971's Black Moses, and said the album pioneered new developments in R&B music for the 1970s.[5] In 2020, Rolling Stone ranked the album at number 373 in their list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.[16]

American punk rock musician Henry Rollins has frequently referred to Hot Buttered Soul as one of his favorite albums.[17][18] Rollins interviewed Hayes for his book Do I Come Here Often?[19]

Track listing[edit]

Side one
1."Walk On By"Burt Bacharach, Hal David12:03
2."Hyperbolicsyllabicsesquedalymistic"Isaac Hayes, Alvertis Isbell9:38
Side two
3."One Woman"Charles Chalmers, Sandra Rhodes5:10
4."By the Time I Get to Phoenix"Jimmy Webb18:42


The Bar-Kays
  • Al Bell – Producer, supervising producer
  • Bill Dahl – Liner notes
  • Kate Hoddinott – Package redesign
  • Allen Jones – Producer
  • Johnny Allen - Arranger
  • Terry Manning – Engineer
  • Bob Smith – Photography
  • Joe Tarantino – Mastering
  • Russ Terrana – Remixing
  • Honeya Thompson – Art direction
  • Christopher Whorf – Cover design
  • Ed Wolfrum – Engineer, mixing


Region Certification Certified units/sales
United States (RIAA)[21] Gold 500,000^

^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Isaac Hayes Hot Buttered Soul Chart History". Billboard. Retrieved June 18, 2019.
  2. ^ a b According to the liner notes in the 2009 remastered CD booklet, the album debuted on the Billboard chart in July 1969, eventually peaking at number 1 on the R&B chart in August 1969, and number 8 on the Billboard 200 in October 1969. The liner notes also mention the release of a single for "Walk On By"/"By the Time I Get to Phoenix" after the album's successful release; the single issued in July 1969 as well.
  3. ^ Judge, Stephen (March 31, 2009). "Isaac Hayes – Black Moses". Blurt. Retrieved January 28, 2021.
  4. ^ Farber, Jim (February 20, 2018). "'I didn't give a damn if it didn't sell': how Isaac Hayes helped create psychedelic soul". The Guardian. Retrieved 2023-02-05.
  5. ^ a b c Jason Birchmeier. "Hot Buttered Soul - Isaac Hayes | Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 2015-08-30.
  6. ^ Easlea, Daryl (2009). "Isaac Hayes Hot Buttered Soul Review". BBC. Retrieved 4 February 2014.
  7. ^ a b c d e Bowman, Rob (1997). Soulsville, U.S.A.: The Story of Stax Records. New York City: Schirmer Books. ISBN 9780825672842.
  8. ^ "CG: isaac hayes". Robert Christgau. Retrieved 2015-08-30.
  9. ^ Easlea, Daryl (2009). "Isaac Hayes Hot Buttered Soul Review". BBC.
  10. ^ Deusner, Stephen M. "Isaac Hayes: Hot Buttered Soul". Retrieved 2015-08-30.
  11. ^ "Isaac Hayes: Hot Buttered Soul | Album Reviews". Pitchfork. 2009-06-29. Retrieved 2015-08-30.
  12. ^ Jon Pruett (1969-01-01). "Hot Buttered Soul by Isaac Hayes". Rhapsody. Retrieved 2015-08-30.
  13. ^ Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian David (2004). The New Rolling Stone Album Guide - Nathan Brackett, Christian David Hoard - Google Books. ISBN 9780743201698. Retrieved 2015-08-30.
  14. ^ Reed, Rex (October 1969). "Isaac Hayes: Hot Buttered Soul" (PDF). Vol. 23, no. 4. Stereo Review. p. 142.
  15. ^ "Isaac Hayes: Hot Buttered Soul (Billboard 200)". Billboard.
  16. ^ "The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time". Rolling Stone. 2020-09-22. Retrieved 2020-12-07.
  17. ^ Rollins was quoted in 2011: "My mother had this record. She let me have it so I could destroy it on my bad record player with my awful vinyl etiquette. I don’t know why it hit me so hard, so immediately, but it did. I was in 5th grade and listened to it all the time. I was kind of surprised by that myself."[1]
  18. ^
  19. ^ "Isaac Hayes". Wondering Sound. Archived from the original on 2015-09-30. Retrieved 2015-08-30.
  20. ^ Howe, Sean (November 15, 2017). "Meet the Musicians Who Gave Isaac Hayes His Groove (Published 2017)" – via
  21. ^ "American album certifications – Isaac Hayes – Hot Buttered Soul". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved 19 February 2024.