Snoop may well be the Doggfather, but Isaac Hayes (pictured) is still one of soul music's Godfathers. Few songs show up in both the form of parody and sincere tribute as often as his "Theme from Shaft," and few rappers have personified Black Pride the way Hayes did in the early '70s, an ebony column of smoldering empowerment and even menace with his shaved head (back when shaved heads still made people say whoa) and shades. Although Hayes has grown older and mellower--his last album was disappointingly flaccid, and his live shows are uneven--he remains one of those folks you should see just so you can later say that you stood in his presence. If his performance is charged, so much the better.
The fact that the Heritage Music Festival is offering four other acts in addition to Hayes makes this a soul music must-see. The legendary Bobby Womack, one of American music's great under-appreciated treasures, penned two songs that would go on to become rock classics when covered by others--"It's All Over Now" (the Rolling Stones) and "Lookin' For a Love" (the J. Geils Band)--as well as countless R&B hits. As able a guitarist as he is a singer, Womack can be heard on a startling number of soul classics: Sly Stone's There's a Riot Goin' On, Wilson Pickett's "Funky Broadway," and Aretha Franklin's Lady Soul, to name but three. Unlike Hayes, his shows are dependably rockin'--able to swing from irresistible tailfeather-shakers to moody make-out music--and could well stand for a Soul Man's job description.
Did someone say "make-out music?" Marvin Sease sings stone lover-man soul; his long, sweaty workouts--often replete with moans and groans of female satisfaction--make "Sexual Healing" sound like a nursery rhyme. His Do You Need a Licker?--featuring a devilishly leering Sease on the cover--is the most bodaciously titled album since bluesman King Ivory's The Bitch Done Quit Me; like Womack, Sease is a master of seamless presentation. Denise LaSalle and the original Manhattans--best known for definitive examples of Philadelphia soul like "Kiss and Say Goodbye"--round out the bill.
The Heritage Music Festival--with Isaac Hayes, Bobby Womack, Denise LaSalle, the Original Manhattans and Marvin Sease--will be at the Dallas County Convention Center Exhibit Hall A on Saturday, February 8.