Monday, 27 May 2019

The Isley Brothers - Brother, Brother, Brother (1972)

Put a little love in your heart....


Released May 1972

This was a soulful album from The Isley Brothers, and it was the last in their series of late sixties/early seventies transitional albums from Motown pop via soul to funk. The album tapped into the laid-back aware grooves of artists like Marvin Gaye and The O'Jays. Of course, the title, "Brother, Brother, Brother" was a quote from Gaye's "What's Going On". The sound quality is also excellent on this little-mentioned, but really enjoyable album.


1. Brother, Brother
2. Put A Little Love In Your Heart
3. Sweet Seasons
4. Keep On Walkin'
5. Work To Do
6. Pop That Thang
7. Lay Away
8. It's Too Late
9. Love Put Me On The Corner                              

Carole King's "Brother, Brother" is given a soulful "What's Going On" treatment. Jackie DeShannon's "Put A Little Love In Your Heart" is perfect early seventies pop/soul. "Sweet Seasons" is a delicious Northern Soul meets the Staple Singers groove with a Curtis Mayfield-style falsetto vocal in places. There is a hint of Paul Weller's "Out Of The Sinking" to it, if that doesn't sound too far-fetched. The track morphs seamlessly into the effortless, appealing gospelly funk of "Keep On Walkin'". In turn, this merges into the funky soul of "Work To Do", which has a few hints of later material, such as on the "3 + 3" album.

"Pop That Thang" is as solidly funky as the title may imply. The groove on so many of the tracks on this album is irresistible. "Lay Away" continues in the same vein, one of classic early seventies funk/soul. These Isley Brothers albums from this period are really quite unfairly overlooked. I know I keep labouring the point, but this album is a pleasure from beginning to end, if you like this sort of thing, that is.

As well as punchy funky soul, the early seventies was known for extended, slowed-down sensual numbers. The mood is therefore cooled down for late-night with a deep, soulful cover of Carole King's "It's Too Late", slowed down to walking pace, featuring some killer Ernie Isley guitar interjections. It has an Isaac Hayes feel to its slow rhythm, also in its ten minutes of running time. "Love Put Me On The Corner" is another lengthy and very Hayes-esque slow burner, with a deep bass line and excellent vocal. While these last two tracks are impressive slow soul numbers, it is, for me, the funky vibrancy of the earlier material that really makes the album.


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