Was there anyone less likely to buy Isaac Hayes’ soundtrack to “Shaft” in 1971 than me?
I was a sports- and music-obsessed ninth-grader from Sheboygan, Wisconsin, then a nice German/Dutch town with almost no black population. I doubt 14-year-old white kids were anywhere near the target audience.
But when I heard “Theme From Shaft,” the single, on WOKY, then the big AM top-40 station out of Milwaukee, I knew I had to have it. That was how kids like me got hepped to sounds like that. The Mighty 92 — my near-constant companion — mixed pop, rock, soul and R&B on its playlist. Hard to believe today, I know.
“Shaft” was only the third album I ever bought. I don’t recall where I bought it. Maybe the record department in the basement of Prange’s or maybe the record department in the Penney’s in the new mall.
I wonder what my parents thought. I never asked. They never said.
You know “Theme From Shaft.” You may not know the rest of the album. Most of the cuts are instrumentals — classic soul and R&B that still sounds just fine. These are a couple of my favorites:
Walk From Regio’s.
Both from the “Shaft” soundtrack, Isaac Hayes, 1971.