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Black Moses is the fifth studio album by American soul musician Isaac Hayes. It is a double album released on Stax Records' Enterprise label in 1971. The follow-up to Hayes' successful soundtrack for Shaft (also a double album), Black Moses features Hayes' version of The Jackson 5's hit single "Never Can Say Goodbye". Hayes' version became a hit in its own right, peaking at number 22 on the Billboard Hot 100. The album reached number one on the Billboard R&B album chart on January 15, 1972.

Black Moses
Studio album by
ReleasedNovember 1971
RecordedMarch 1971–October 1971
ProducerIsaac Hayes
Isaac Hayes chronology
Black Moses
Live at the Sahara Tahoe
Original LP
The LP's cover unfolds a poster-sized image of Hayes as "Black Moses". photo by Joel Brodsky[1]
The LP's cover unfolds a poster-sized image of Hayes as "Black Moses". photo by Joel Brodsky[1]
Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic3.5/5 stars[2]
Pitchfork Media(8.7/10)[5]
Record Collector5/5 stars[3]
Rolling Stone(unfavorable) 1972[6]
Rolling Stone4/5 stars 2008[3]
Uncut3/5 stars[8]


In addition to "Never Can Say Goodbye", other selections on Black Moses include covers of songs made popular by The Carpenters ("(They Long to Be) Close to You", Toussaint McCall ("Nothing Takes the Place of You"), The Friends of Distinction ("Going in Circles"), Dionne Warwick ("I'll Never Fall in Love Again"), and Little Johnny Taylor ("Part Time Love"). Hayes names Black Moses as one of his most personal works.[9]

The very same sample of "Ike's Rap II" was used in four tracks at about the same time in the mid-1990s: Hell Is Around The Corner by Tricky, Glory Box by Portishead, Jorge da Capadócia and Salve both by Brazilian rap group Racionais MC's.[9] Ike's Rap II was also sampled by Alessia Cara in her song "Here" recorded in 2014.

The album's title derives from Stax executive Dino Woodward's nickname for Hayes, which he bestowed upon the musician after comparing the effects of his music on black audiences to the leadership of the biblical figure Moses.[9] The then deeply Christian Hayes shied away from the nickname, finding it "sacrilegious",[10] although journalist Chester Higgins popularized the "Black Moses" nickname in an article he wrote on Hayes for Jet. Hayes came to see "Black Moses" as a symbol of black pride:

Black men could finally stand up and be men because here's Black Moses; he's the epitome of black masculinity. Chains that once represented bondage and slavery now can be a sign of power and strength and sexuality and virility[9]

Larry Shaw, head of marketing and publicity at Stax, came up with the idea to name Hayes' LP Black Moses.[9] He also devised, with the assistance of Bar-Kays member Ron Gordon, a gatefold album cover design which unfolded into a poster-sized image of Hayes, dressed in biblical-inspired attire as "Black Moses".[9]

Track listingEdit

Side one
1."Never Can Say Goodbye"Clifton Davis5:07
2."(They Long to Be) Close to You"Burt Bacharach, Hal David8:58
3."Nothing Takes the Place of You"Toussaint McCall, Alan Robinson5:29
4."Man's Temptation"Curtis Mayfield4:59
Total length:24:33
Side two
5."Never Gonna Give You Up"Kenneth Gamble, Leon Huff, Jerry Butler5:47
6."Medley: "Ike's Rap II" / "Help Me Love"Hayes, Johnny Baylor, Mickey Gregory, Luther Ingram, Tommy Tate7:31
7."Need to Belong to Someone"Curtis Mayfield5:15
8."Good Love 6-9969"Gregory, Hayes5:15
Total length:23:48
Side three
9."Medley: "Ike's Rap III" / "Your Love is So Doggone Good"Hayes, Difosco Ervin, Rudy Love9:15
10."For the Good Times"Kris Kristofferson5:20
11."I'll Never Fall in Love Again"Burt Bacharach, Hal David5:02
Total length:19:37
Side four
12."Part-Time Love"Clay Hammond8:30
13."Medley: "Ike's Rap IV" / "A Brand New Me"Isaac Hayes, Kenneth Gamble, Thom Bell, Jerry Butler9:40
14."Going in Circles"Jerry Peters, Anita Poree7:02
Total length:25:12

Note: Some of the vinyl pressings (and CD releases) have a non-standard arrangement of the sides : sides 1 and 4 are pressed on one disc along with sides 2 and 3 on the other. This practice, known as "automatic sequence", was intentional. [11]


  • Isaac Hayes - lead and background vocals
  • "Hot", "Buttered", and "Soul": backing vocals
  • The Bar-Kays, instrumentation: "(They Long to Be) Close to You" and "Going in Circles"
  • Instrumentation on all other tracks by The Isaac Hayes Movement:
    • Piano, vibraphone, organ, electric piano - Isaac Hayes
    • Bass - Ronnie Hudson
    • Bongos, congas - Gary Jones
    • Drums, tambourine - Willie Hall
    • Electric piano - Lester Snell
    • Guitar - Charles "Skip" Pitts
    • Piano - Sidney Kirk
  • Arranged by Isaac Hayes & Johnny Allen, except "(They Long To Be) Close to You" by Isaac Hayes & Dale Warren
  • Engineers: Ron Capone, William Brown, Henry Bush, Eddie Marion, Dave Purple
  • Remix engineers: Ron Capone, Dave Purple and Isaac Hayes

Covers and samplesEdit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Jason Ankeny. "Joel Brodsky | Biography". AllMusic. Retrieved 2015-08-29.
  2. ^ Planer, Lindsey (March 3, 2008). Review: Black Moses. Allmusic. Retrieved on 2010-12-28.
  3. ^ a b c Product notes – Black Moses. Muze. Retrieved on 2010-12-28.
  4. ^ Columnist (April 2, 2009). Review: Black Moses. Paste. Retrieved on 2010-12-28.
  5. ^ Deusner, Stephen M. (March 4, 2009). Review: Black Moses. Pitchfork Media. Retrieved on 2010-12-28.
  6. ^ Gersten, Russell (January 20, 1972). Review: Black Moses. Rolling Stone. Retrieved on 2010-12-28.
  7. ^ Hultkrans, Andrew (May 2009). "Review: Black Moses". Spin: 95.
  8. ^ Spencer, Neil (March 2009). Review: Black Moses. Uncut. Retrieved on 2010-12-28.
  9. ^ a b c d e f Bowman (1997), p.237–240
  10. ^ Morgan Neville, Robert Gordon, and Mark Crosby [directors, writers, producers] (2007). Great Performances - Respect Yourself: The Stax Records Story (TV documentary). New York City: Tremolo Productions, Concord Music Group, Thirteen/WNET New York.
  11. ^