This is the first of a couple of Hayes releases that I took a listen to this month and this particular album was released in ’78 on the Polydor label. For the Sake of Love was Hayes second studio album for the label and reached #15 on the US R&B album chart.
Just the Way You Are kicks off the album but the first three minutes of the tune are taken up with a breathy, spoken word (admittedly over a funky laidback instrumental) introduction before Hayes launches into his version of the well loved, and well known, Billy Joel classic proper. It’s a lush string lead and slow moving version that’s a real perfect vehicle for Hayes’ velevety vocal style and this is the style that continues through the next track, the Hayes’ penned and gospel tinged Believe In Me.
If Ever We Needed Peace finishes off side one of the original vinyl record and is a really beautifully arranged tune with electronic piano chords, gorgeous strings and a heavenly backing vocal supplied by Hot Buttered & Soul Unlimited.
Things take a decided step for the livelier with Shaft II with incessant hats and kick, funky guitar, horns and strings and this is right up my funky street…as is Zeke The Freak, though the latter is somewhat less lively in tempo.
Don’t Let Me Be Lonely Tonight takes the mood back to a slow and smoochy style of the record’s first three tracks and is a lovely laidback tune with a nice and dreamy sax line that really gets your mind wandering – it’s a beautiful tune and perfect for when the sun is shining and all is good with the world.
Overall I quite enjoyed this rerelease but certainly heavily preferred the second half. The two remixes on the CD (Shaft II and Zeke The Freak are welcome additions and as usual with BBR the liner notes are a good and informative read.