Sorry Children, No More Love Gravy

August 11, 2008 at 12:15 pm (That's not funny..., Waxing Nostalgic)

Stan: “Ow, wow. I guess Chef is really dead.”

Soul music icon Isaac Hayes passed away yesterday at age 65. He was found by family members in a bedroom, collapsed at the base of a treadmill. While I fully expected him to die in a bedroom, (of lead poisoning, shot full of it by a jealous husband) I did not foresee the exercise angle. Horizontal exercises, Ike.

I’ve been a fan since 1972 or so, when the Theme from Shaft populated the airwaves. Even though there was cussin’ in it, (“You’re damn right…”) Mom gave this one a pass. Not content with the 45 rpm single, I wanted the whole freaking double album. Mother Hubbard’s Records? Nope. Longhair Music? Nada. For What It’s Worth? Nuh-uh. I wouldn’t stumble across Music Millenium for another couple of years. Where would I find it? Everyone in the know said it was out of print. This was before eBay, or the internet even. The hunt went on for about a year.

Then one day, as Mom & Dad were shopping at Sears in northeast Portland where the Convention Center now resides, I flicked through the stacks of wax. Rock, soul, soundtracks. WHAT IS THIS!? The complete shebang, double album still factory sealed. $6.99. Pricey, but I’d wanted it for so long…

Of course M & D wouldn’t fork over $7 for a record that I already had the 45 to. I didn’t expect them to buy it for me, but either to loan me the money or let me work it off. (I didn’t get an allowance. Working it off meant either stacking or chopping wood, or shoveling gravel on the various driveways.) I didn’t care. I wanted that record. They wouldn’t finance me this particular occasion, so I took the album and moved it to the back of a stack of Easy Listening records for safe-keeping. I’m betting it’s the only time Isaac Hayes cozied up to the backside of Perry Como.

I returned by bus as soon as possible, probably the next day. I was crushed to find the album missing from its hiding spot, but it was back in the soundtrack section where it belonged. Since others were aware if its existence, I must buy it today!

I still have that album. It’s one of the few I have kept for almost four decades.

He put out another album, Hot Buttered Soul, that I can’t listen to anymore. It carried me through the worst relationship breakup ever, and even thinking about it makes my heart hurt and my eyes well up. Maybe if I need a really hard cry I will bust it out…

Of course, along came South Park. I loved the show from its inception, but the icing on the chocolate-salty cake was Isaac Hayes voicing the character of Chef. Having the resident love machine as the bastion of common sense and reasoning seemed odd at first, but like so many things in South Park, it mirrored real life. Get your advice from someone who’s been there/done that. Certainly Chef (and Isaac Hayes) qualified.

Mr. Hayes recently played Portland at the Waterfront Blues Festival. Now I wish I’d taken the night off, fought the crowds and went. So what if he was 40 minutes late, and sounded a bit off his game? He was 65 years old, a stroke survivor, and playing to a crowd that was probably conceived to his music. I REALLY should have been there.

It seems I’ve been writing a lot of ‘celebrity obituaries’ lately. Guess it comes with the territory. My cousin recently mused that you buy a suit that gets used for weddings the first half of your life, then funerals during the second half. Things like this help us prepare for when those close to us go. I have relatives who are getting closer to that time, and have friends with loved ones who are sickly. I stop for a minute and send some positive energy their way, because I know they are going to need it. I hate dreading the inevitable, so it’s best to enjoy them while they are here.

And I certainly enjoyed you, Mister Hayes. From your music to your cartoony humor to your badass appearance as Truck Turner, I have always been a fan.

Maybe tonight, after work, I will bust out Hot Buttered Soul and have a good hard cry. Sometimes it’s best to get these things out of your system.

Cartman: “Maybe he’s not dead yet? Because I hear the last thing you do before you die is crap your pants-…” Pflaaaffft! “-Never mind…”

R.I.P. Isaac Hayes, 1942-2008

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1 Comment

  1. gee-no said,

    Man, that has to be the worst thing about dying.
    crappin’ our pants…..

    I’m fasting before I die…..

    seriously.

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