Shaft Soundtrack To Be Reissued In Deluxe Version With Liner Notes From Questlove

Isaac Hayes’ soundtrack to Gordon Parks’ 1971 Shaft is being reissued in a deluxe version with liner notes from Questlove. The movie was one of the backbones to the blaxploitation film era. Hayes’ theme song for the film won an Academy award and proved to be the only competition to Curtis Mayfield’s Superfly score. The reissue is remastered and limited to 5,000 copies. Melvin Van Peebles’ Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song was considered by some as the independent pioneer of the blaxploitation movement when his film debuted in April in 1971. But Shaft was definitely the movie to bring the genre to the mainstream when it hit theaters in June of 1971.

The music from the film’s score and the album were not the same. The first songs were a series of instrumentals Hayes recorded at MGM’s studios in California. He returned to his base in Memphis and re-recorded the music at the Stax studios and those recordings became Shaft—Music From The Soundtrack.  The music heard in the film was released in a 2008 limited edition box set. The deluxe reissue will be the first time that both collections of songs are packaged together. Questlove notes, 

“Hayes was a specialist at mood music, in the sense that he knew how to employ orchestration and tempo to elicit emotions from his listening audience. ‘Bumpy’s Lament’ is sad and contemplative, a perfect match for Gunn’s gangster, worried about the fate of his daughter. ‘Walk to Regio’s’ approximates downtown energy with a pulsing bass and a chirping guitar that opens up into a fully orchestrated section. ‘Do Your Thing’ is another straightforward song, brassy and sultry.”

Isaac Hayes was already a hit songwriter for Stax and had become a solo star with the breakthrough album Hot Buttered Soul in 1969. Isaac Hayes was at the apex of his creativity and his performance of the theme at the 1972 Academy Awards ceremony is one of the most memorable. He also had a cameo in the film as a bartender. Parks’ Shaft became a trilogy of films including Shaft’s Big Score (1972) and Shaft In Africa (1973) the latter which was directed by John Guillermin. John Singleton rebooted the franchise in 2000 with Samuel L. Jackson in the role of John Shaft. Jackson returns in the sequel to the 2000 film on June 14th which is the same day the reissue will be released but it can be pre-ordered from Stax. 

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Disc 1 – Original Soundtrack
1. Theme From Shaft (4:40)
2. Bumpy’s Lament (1:49)
3. Walk From Regio’s (2:22)
4. Ellie’s Love Theme (3:15)
5. Shaft’s Cab Ride (1:07)
6. Café Regio’s (6:09)
7. Early Sunday Morning (3:47)
8. Be Yourself (4:27)
9. A Friend’s Place (3:21)
10. Soulsville (3:47)
11. No Name Bar (6:09)
12. Bumpy’s Blues (4:01)
13. Shaft Strikes Again (3:04)
14. Do Your Thing (19:31)
15. The End Theme (1:56)


Disc 2 – Film Score
1. Theme From Shaft [Film Version] (4:34)
2. Shaft’s First Fight (1:46)
3. Reel 2 Part 2 / Cat Oughta Be Here (1:43)
4. Bumpy’s Lament [Film Version] (1:44)
5. Soulsville [Film Version] (3:32)
6. Ellie’s Love Theme [Film Version] (3:23)
7. Shaft’s Cab Ride [Film Version] / Shaft Enters Building (1:38)
8. I Can’t Get Over Losin’ You (2:06)
9. Reel 4 Part 6 (1:37)
10. Reel 5 Part 1 (1:35)
11. A Friend’s Place [Film Version] (1:44)
12. Bumpy’s Blues [Film Version] (3:05)
13. Bumpy’s Lament (Reprise) [Film Version] (1:32)
14. Early Sunday Morning [Film Version] (3:05)
15. Do Your Thing [Film Version] (3:21)
16. Be Yourself [Film Version] (1:54)
17. No Name Bar [Film Version] (2:28)
18. Shaft Strikes Again [Film Version] / Return Of Shaft (1:36)
19. Café Regio’s [Film Version] (4:23)
20. Walk From Regio’s [Film Version] (2:27)
21. Shaft’s Pain (3:03)
22. Rescue / The End Theme [Film Version] (10:44)

R.I.P. John Singleton

Film director John Singleton passed today at the age of 51 after suffering a stroke April 17th and going into a comatose state. His family removed him from life support after considering his condition and prospects for recovery. Singleton’s innovative contributions to the film industry made him one of the most important directors of the 20th and 21st century. He unapologetically put his lens on Black life and brought seldom heard stories to the screen. His debut film, Boyz n the Hood made America look at violence in the neighborhoods from the perspective of humanity instead of exploitative stereotypes. He told NPR, 

“If you see the films I make and if they are in an urban setting, I basically have an agenda to not only entertain but for you to feel something and to say something. Because this is where I’m from, you know what I mean? I’m making you feel something for this environment. I’m not exploiting it.”

Singleton and Spike Lee were the first major directors to use rappers in film roles with Boyz n the Hood and Jungle Fever being released a month apart in 1991. Ice Cube would get his acting start in Singleton’s feature and Queen Latifah broke into the acting world in the role of a Black woman critical of interracial relationships. Singleton’s story about gang violence was a national event that had people leaving the theater in droves with tears in their eyes. 

Boyz n the Hood made him the youngest director and first African-America to be nominated for a Best Director Oscar. He would finish the ’90s with the epic Poetic Justice that co-starred Tupac Shakur and Janet Jackson, Higher Learning and Rosewood. Michael Jackson utilized Singleton’s talents for his famous 1991 video “Remember The Time.” His movies were one of the places where several Black Hollywood stars got their first film roles including Regina King, Morris Chestnut and Janet Jackson. His movies always dealt with racism such as the on-campus skinhead violence of Higher Learning or the destroyed Black communities of The Rosewood Massacre that took place in 1923. 

In the 2000s, he paid tribute to Gordon Parks by remaking Shaft and directed Baby Boy which starred then-newcomers Taraji P. Henson and Tyrese as a dysfunctional mother and son in their first film. He later moved into a new lane with the action films 2 Fast 2 Furious and Four Brothers. Singleton had plans to make a movie about his old friend and colleague Tupac Shakur but there were delays that stopped it from becoming a reality. In 2017, he co-created the FX series Snowfall about the rise of crack cocaine in Los Angeles during the ’80s. The success that he experienced throughout his career did not stop him from being critical of Hollywood studios who he said did not want Black people directing films about Black people. 


Media Questions Of The Week


Is the anonymous female Academy voter right that “There Is No Art To Selma?”


Was Monique blackballed after winning the Oscar for Precious?


Who will play the lead in the third reboot of Shaft by New Line Cinema?

VH1 Classic And VH1 Soul To Air “Wattstax” In Honor Of Isaac Hayes

NEW YORK, August 12, 2008 – VH1 Classic and VH1 Soul will air The Golden Globe nominated documentary “Wattstax” on Wednesday, August 13 at 8:00PM* in honor of soul singer Issac Hayes. Filmmaker Mel Stuart captured the August 20, 1972 Wattstax music festival known as “the black Woodstock” at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in this epochal documentary. Memphis’s Stax Records commemorated the seventh anniversary of the Watts riots with this festival featuring powerful performances by Isaac Hayes, Albert King, Rufus and Carla Thomas, the Staple Singers, the Emotions, the Bar-Kays, and other greats of soul, R&B, and gospel—plus biting humor from a then little-known comedian Richard Pryor.

Wattstax brought out a rapt audience of 100,000 in a celebration of music, soul and the 1970’s “black is beautiful movement.” The documentary features exclusive interviews with Richard Pryor and Ted Lange among others and told the story of the 70’s Black experience through topical street interviews throughout Watts. The documentary closes with one of the most seminal moments in soul history, the late Issac Hayes performance of his classics “Theme from Shaft,” “Soulsville” and “Rolling Down A Mountain.”

VH1 Soul’s Isaac Hayes Tribute programming beginning Wednesday, August 13 – Sunday, August 17 will include:

· WATTSTAX – airs on Wednesday, August 13, Friday, August 15 and Sunday, August 17 at 8PM* each night

· SOUL DEEP “Southern Soul” – airs on August 13, 15 and 17 at 8PM* each night 2PM* and 10PM* each night

· Isaac Hayes video block following both programs


In the summer of 1967, Otis Redding performed in front of a 200,000-strong, mainly white, crowd at the Monterey Pop Festival. Five years after walking into Stax Records studio in Memphis as an unknown singer, he was now breaking into the mass white market and seducing its counter-culture without diluting his sound. This episode follows both Redding’s rise, as he became the embodiment of Sixties soul music, and that of Stax Records as it crossed the racial divide at a time of segregation.

The sound of the South began to influence other labels. New York-based Atlantic Records’ Jerry Wexler would bring his musicians south whenever they needed inspiration. Wilson Pickett’s huge hit “In the Midnight Hour” resulted from a night in the Lorraine Motel in Memphis with Stax songwriter Steve Cropper and a bottle of “Jack”. Once Wexler teamed performers Sam and Dave up with Stax writers Isaac Hayes and David Porter, classic hits emerged from their collaborations including “Soul Man” and “Hold On, I’m Comin’.” A new black sound was on its way!

*All Times ET/PT