Monday, 27 May 2019

The Isley Brothers - The Brothers: Isley (1969)

I've got to get myself together....

  

Released August 1969

Coming only four months after their first album since leaving Motown, The Isley Brothers continued on their journey into soul/funk as opposed to soul/pop. This a is most Stax-influenced cooker of an album. Again, it has been considerably overlooked, which is a shame as both the sound quality and the material is excellent. What is with the bizarre cover though? The brothers are pictured in shocking pink monks' habits and hoods, with bright white ties. Very odd.

TRACK LISTING

1. I Turned You On
2. Vacuum Cleaner
3. I've Got To Get Myself Together
4. Was It Good To You?
5. The Blacker The Berrie
6. My Little Girl
7. Get Down Off The Train
8. Holding On
9. Feels Like The World                                  

"I Turned You On" is a funky, Stax-esque opener in the Rufus Thomas style. "Vacuum Cleaner" - "my love is like a vacuum cleaner...", despite its strange lyric, is a pounding, cookin' horn-driven piece of soul/funk. "I've Got To Get Myself Together" is a delicious, Memphis-style ballad. "Was It Good To You?" sees the punchy, brassy soul return. "The Blacker the Berrie (sic)" is a kind of reverse discrimination in praise of dark-toned ladies. It is full of sexual innuendoes about eating fruit. Musically, it is excellent, with some impressive saxophone.

"My Little Girl" is a very Otis Redding-influenced number with a bit of Drifters soul in the vocal, and Gary "US" Bonds for that matter. It is an excellent piece of horn-powered soul. "Get Down Off The Train" is also very Redding-like in its vocal delivery. The upbeat "Holding On" is fabulously funky and a joy to listen to. "Feels Like The World" is a bit of an unremarkable ballad to end on but that doesn't detract from the fact that this is an excellent album of late sixties soul. If you like soul from that era, this is well worth checking out.

Judy White's version of "Vacuum Cleaner" which is included as a bonus track on the latest edition is simply superb, as is Rudy & Judy's "I've Got To Get Myself Together".

B-

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