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Thursday, 14 July 2016
"The Brothers: Isley" by THE ISLEY BROTHERS (1997 'Legacy Rhythm & Soul Series' CD Remaster) - A Review by Mark Barry...
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"...Got To Get Myself Together..."
take one look at the three monks dressed in lurid pink on the cover on this
long forgotten T-Neck Records LP from late 1969 - and you know you're in the
presence of some serious dig-the-flowers-in-the-garden hippy-hoppity
transcendental psychobabble (with a Funky Soul twist).
then I think - what's wrong with that. And given the sonic evidence presented
on this fantastic-sounding June 1997 CD of "The Brothers: Isley" -
I'm down with the boys regardless of their garish garb. As a post Brexit
Theresa May would say – bring it on baby. Here are the details...
released June 1997 - "The Brothers: Isley" by THE ISLEY BROTHERS on
Epic/T-Neck/Legacy 487515 2 (Barcode 5099748751522) is a straightforward CD Remaster and is part of Sony’s 'Legacy's Rhythm & Soul Series'.
It plays out as follows (30:41 minutes):
I Turned You On
I Got To Get Myself Together
Was It Good To You?
The Blacker The Berrie (aka 'Black Berries')
My Little Girl [Side 2]
Get Down Off Of The Train
Feels Like The World
1 to 9 are their album "The Brothers: Isley" (their 2nd LP on T-Neck)
- released November 1969 in the USA on T-Neck Records TNS 3002 and June 1970 in
the UK on Stateside SLS 10300. Produced by Ronald, O'Kelly and Rudolph Isley -
it peaked at No. 20 on the USA R&B LP charts (didn’t chart in the UK).
for reissue by Leo Sacks – the 8-page inlay pictures label repro’s of American
T-Neck 45s – track by track credits – new liner notes from noted Soul writer
DAVID RITZ called 'The Pleasure Of Picking Berries' and the usual reissue
credits. The CD itself reflects the T-Neck label of old and the album's rear
sleeve is repro'd beneath the see-through CD tray. But the big news is a
fantastic CD Remaster by TOM RUFF at Sony Studios from original tapes – every
track kicking like a mule and full of energy - if not a little hissy in places
(bit only on some tracks).
the public's appetite - T-Neck pushed three 7" singles in 1969 - all of
them months prior to the LP's eventual release in November. First up came the
Side 1 opener "I Turned You On" b/w "I Know Who You Been Socking
It To" in May 1969 on T-Neck TN 902. The flipside was the opening track on
the preceding album "It's Our Thang" which peaked at No. 2 on the USA
R&B LP charts in May of that year - 1969."I Turned You On" was an obvious choice as a lead-off single -
a fabulous funky groove where Ronnie moans that he's 'turned her on' but 'he
can't turn her off' - especially when she socks it to him (you gotta feel for
the man). The remaster is incredibly muscular - a tiny bit of hiss for sure but
nothing that detracts from those amazing brass jabs that accompany the groove
right through to its slow fade end.
the LP's second 7" single issued August 1969 on T-Neck TN 906 - the label
took the near six-minute James Brown workout that is "The Blacker The
Berrie" and re-christened it "Black Berries - Part 1" and
"Part 2". The two-parter peaked at No. 43 on the US R&B charts
during an uncharacteristically-short four-week reign. Single number three was
"Was It Good For You?" - another neck-jerking groover that's busy with
guitars and brass. With "I Got To Get Myself Together" as its
flipside - it peaked at a modest No. 33 on the USA R&B charts (T-Neck TN
908). With the same track combo - this was the only UK released 45 from the
album - February 1970 on Stateside SS 2162 - but it did no business and was
worthy inclusions include the "My Little Girl" is 'dynamite' Side 2
opener and the mid-tempo "Get Down Off Of The Train" - Ernie's guitar
playing prominent throughout. "Holding On" could have been another
'fast' 45 - a very Blood, Sweat & Tears brass arrangement propelling it
along its Funky little path (fantastic Ronnie Lead Vocal while the boys chant
'you got me holding on'). The short late 60ts album ends on my fave -
"Feels Like The World". It's a slow ballad with great guitars and
vocal arrangements - Chris Jasper plinking away on the piano anchoring the
Soulful proceedings. I love this song - a slinky IB groove that manages to be
both Funky and Soulful at the same time. "Feels Like The World" sounds
like a lost classic you want to rave about as soon as possible. I'd admit that
in the opening minute the transfer is hissier than I would like - but the Lead
Vocal from Ronnie (he let’s rip at the end) and the musicianship quickly make
mincemeat of that minor quibble...
Brothers: Isley" is not a balls-to-the-wall masterpiece like say -
"Givin' It Back" - the covers album from 1971. But it is The Isley
Brothers on T-Neck during that hallowed period - and that's all the info I
the pink ponchos lads and get down with 'The Brothers: Isley'...