(2004) The Essential Isley Brothers

The Isley Brothers

... read moreTry as companies might, a perfect anthology framing the famous family of funk still manages to elude even the most fickle of aficionados. While 2003's Ultimate Collection is an expansive look at the group's career, it most certainly isn't as thorough as 1999's outstanding Rhino box set, which is...

02:21′:52″ 30 Songs

Disk 1

2
That Lady, Pts. 1 & 2
The Isley Brothers
5:34
3
What It Comes Down To
The Isley Brothers
3:53
4
Brown Eyed Girl
The Isley Brothers
4:06
5
For The Love Of You, Pts. 1 & 2
The Isley Brothers
5:38
6
Groove With You
The Isley Brothers
4:50
7
Brother, Brother
The Isley Brothers
3:16
8
Work To Do
The Isley Brothers
3:10
9
Harvest For The World
The Isley Brothers
3:52
10
Summer Breeze, Pts. 1 & 2
The Isley Brothers
6:12
11
Make Me Say It Again Girl, Pts. 1 & 2
The Isley Brothers
7:43
12
Live It Up, Pts. 1 & 2
The Isley Brothers
6:12
13
Fight The Power, Pts. 1 & 2
The Isley Brothers
5:18
14
Freedom
The Isley Brothers
3:36
15
Keep On Doin' (Mono)
The Isley Brothers
3:59
18
Shout (Pt. 1 & 2)
The Isley Brothers
4:22

Disk 2

1
It's Your Thing
The Isley Brothers
2:46
2
I Turned You On
The Isley Brothers
2:36
3
Lay Away
The Isley Brothers
3:19
4
Love The One You're With
The Isley Brothers
3:38
5
Pop That Thang
The Isley Brothers
2:52
6
Spill The Wine
The Isley Brothers
6:31
7
Take Me To The Next Phase, Pts. 1 & 2
The Isley Brothers
5:09
8
I Wanna Be With You, Pts. 1 & 2
The Isley Brothers
6:20
9
The Pride, Pts. 1 & 2
The Isley Brothers
5:31
10
Footsteps In The Dark, Pts. 1 & 2
The Isley Brothers
5:06
11
Voyage To Atlantis
The Isley Brothers
4:30
12
Don't Say Goodnight (It's Time For Love) (Part I & 2)
The Isley Brothers
5:45
13
Between The Sheets
The Isley Brothers
5:39
14
Caravan Of Love
The Isley Brothers
5:41
16
Down Low (Nobody Has To Know)
The Isley Brothers
4:48
Released 03 August 2004, Originally Released 1962 Wand, 1969, 1970, 1971 Sony Music Entertainment Inc., ℗ 1995 Zomba Recording LLC, 1996 The Island Def Jam Music Group, 1972-1980, 1983, 1985, 2004 Sony Music Entertainment

Review

Try as companies might, a perfect anthology framing the famous family of funk still manages to elude even the most fickle of aficionados. While 2003's Ultimate Collection is an expansive look at the group's career, it most certainly isn't as thorough as 1999's outstanding Rhino box set, which is simply too rich to satisfy the curious or casual listener. Quite simply, it's nearly impossible to include the group's greatest moments on one disc, and most two-disc sets have a tendency to become ripe with filler. While The Essential Isley Brothers is no exception to the rule, it certainly is the most accessible when measured against the aforementioned anthologies. The track sequencing is erratic but covers many of the group's anthems right away on disc one, the most jarring contrast being between the opening pre-fuzzed good times of "Twist and Shout" and the fuzz-guitar orgy that became "That Lady." Disc two covers every single permutation of the group's later years: from the '80s quiet storm of Isley/Jasper/Isley's "Caravan of Love" to Mr. Biggs' collaborative work with R. Kelly in the early part of the 2000s. To include these later projects serves to give the listener a comprehensive survey of the Isley family evolution over the past five decades, but not much else would warrant the inclusion of "Down Low," especially in contrast with so many of their ultimate anthems. Overlooking that fact, you'll find yourself subconsciously (or intentionally) head-bobbing or toe-tapping along with these discs through and through, and rightfully so, as this is a first-class compilation that casual listeners and loyal devotees will be more than satisfied with. ~ Rob Theakston