THE ISLEY BROTHERS - AT THEIR VERY BEST
Cat. no: USLP1180
Release Date: 16th October 2020
The Isley Brothers “Knowledge is power. I’m a witness to that. Our parents wanted us to have a complete musical education. They exposed us to everything, classical to country, standards, show tunes.” Ronald Isley, Mojo Magazine, 2000
The Isley Brothers have delighted audiences since the 1950’s and are celebrating their eighth decade in show business. Morphing from their roots in gospel and doo-wop through funk, rock and then, finally, into slow-jam R&B, the Isley Brothers remain one of the most fascinating groups of all time.
This album contains some of the most life-affirming music ever recorded: Ronald Isley’s keening yelp offering strength and sensitivity as it is supported by brothers Rudolph and O’Kelly. Our collection picks up their story in 1969. By this time, they had been recording for 12 years for many legendary labels, from RCA, to Atlantic, to Motown.
The brothers decided to go it alone on their own label, T-Neck. The repurposed Isleys broke onto the scene with the US R&B No.1/Hot 100 No. 2, ‘It’s Your Thing’. The album of the same name was a Top 30 smash and the group’s decision was vindicated. ‘It’s Your Thing’ marked a meeting point of influences: Sly Stone, James Brown, gospel and one-time group member Jimi Hendrix, laying the template for the Isleys’ next decade, from the gritty rock covers of Givin’ It Back to the era-defining ‘3 + 3’ (with the formal addition of the two younger Isleys, Ernie and Marvin, plus brother-in-law Chris Jasper).
After the 1972 release of ‘Brother, Brother, Brother’ (featuring the classic ‘Work To Do’) T-Neck moved to CBS leading to their first Platinum-selling album (1973’s ‘3+3’). Produced with Malcolm Cecil and Robert Margouleff, ‘3+3’ was practically prescribed to every soul boy in the UK (witness Wham’s cover of ‘If You Were There’). For the Isleys to take their old R&B hit, ‘Who’s That Lady’ and turn it into hard-rocking psychedelic soul was a blazing statement of their intent. Their version of Seals and Croft’s pretty ‘Summer Breeze’ became one of their biggest hits, with Ronald and Ernie stamping their authority on the ballad.
A period of phenomenal success followed. For every standout ballad (‘For The Love Of You’, or ‘The Highways Of My Life’), there was strident, take-no-prisoners political funk - as typified by ‘Fight The Power’, a US R&B No. 1 in 1975. It was written by Ernie on the same day as another of their greatest moments, ‘Harvest For The World’.
This collection is a beautiful overview to the group, a most fabulous re-introduction
to old friends. This era is affectionately known by the Isleys as the ‘gold and platinum years’ - one listen and you will understand why.
Tracks: It’s Yout Thing ( 02:46 ) / Work To Do ( 03:12 ) / That Lady - Parts 1 & 2 ( 05:34 ) / Summer Breeze - Parts 1 & 2 ( 06:12 ) / Harvest For The World (03:51 ) / Live It Up - Parts 1 & 2 ( 06:15 ) / Hello It’s Me ( 05:32 ) / Groove With You ( 04:50 ) / Fight The Power - Parts 1 & 2 ( 05:19 ) / Hope You Feel Better Love - Parts 1 & 2 ( 06:06 ) / For The Love Of You - Parts 1 & 2 ( 05:38 ) / The Highways Of My Life ( 04:17 ) / Footsteps In The Dark - Parts 1 & 2 ( 05:06 ) / It’s A Disco Night ( Rock Don’t Stop ) - Parts 1 & 2 ( 05:15 ) / Say You Will - Parts 1 & 2 ( 05:27 ) / Between The Sheets ( 05:39 )