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Monday, August 11, 2008

Isaac Hayes - 1942-2008



He will be missed.

I'm getting of the age where hearing the phrase "a musical legend/icon/giant/etc. has passed away" as a network news teaser fills me with dread, wondering who it is this time.

The clip is from the great film, Wattstax, which I heartily commend to your attention. Besides Hayes and the very young Jesse Jackson, there are appearances by the Staple Singers, an equally young Richard Pryor, Rufus Thomas doing an incredible Funky Chicken, Albert King, The Bar-Kays and many more Stax artists.  As a musical document you may find the many incomplete sets in Wattstax frustrating.  On the other hand, it's probably the best video document of what Watts was like in the early `70s.  I know.  I was there, teaching on 101st Street.

I didn't make it to Woodstock.  But I made it to Wattstax, and spent one of the best days in my life, 36 years ago come this August 20th, one of the few white faces in a sea of black faces, not scared, not even nervous, just boogeyin' to the music along with 10,000 other people.

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