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Soul/Funk/R&B - Released August 21, 2015 | Epic - Legacy

Hi-Res Distinctions 4F de Télérama - The Qobuz Ideal Discography - Pitchfork: Best New Reissue
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Funk - Released August 21, 1973 | Epic - Legacy

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Soul/Funk/R&B - Released August 21, 1969 | Epic - Legacy

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Soul/Funk/R&B - Released August 3, 2004 | Epic

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 /TiVo
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Soul/Funk/R&B - Released August 21, 1975 | Epic - Legacy

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Soul/Funk/R&B - Released August 21, 1977 | Epic - Legacy

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Rock - Released July 28, 2017 | Legacy Recordings

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Ever committed, Carlos Santana and the Isley Brothers locked themselves in a studio to produce this Power Of Peace album that combines soul, funk, blues, rock, jazz and pop with true craftsmanship. Made up of covers for the most part, this album, co-signed by the famous guitarist of Mexican origin and the masters of funk, includes titles by Stevie Wonder (Higher Ground), Billie Holiday (God Bless The Child), Curtis Mayfield (Gypsy Woman), Marvin Gaye (Mercy Mercy Me – The Ecology), Burt Bacharach (What The World Needs Now Is Love Sweet Love) and Willie Dixon (I Just Want to Make Love to You). A perfect selection, at the heart of which shines an original song, I Remember, written and performed by Cindy Blackman, i.e. Mrs Santana … © CM/Qobuz
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Soul/Funk/R&B - Released August 21, 1959 | Epic - Legacy

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Soul/Funk/R&B - Released August 21, 1971 | Epic - Legacy

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Soul - Released January 1, 2007 | Def Jam Recordings

The Isley Brothers' I'll Be Home for Christmas, like Patti LaBelle's Miss Patti's Christmas, was released on Def Soul Classics and produced by Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis. The two albums are both ten songs in length, feature many of the same musicians, and are based mostly on interpretations -- so they go hand-in-hand, whether the intention was there or not. Sleigh bells excepted, "I'm in Love" could be mistaken for an Isley Brothers song on a normal studio album, and it sounds like it wants to break into "Harvest for the World." The other original, "What Can I Buy You," won't be threatening to replace regularly played Christmas classics anytime soon, but it doesn't seem to out of place next to the likes of "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" and "Winter Wonderland." There's a good balance between secular and spiritual material, so the disc should appeal to just about any Isley Brothers fan who doesn't want to hear the same tired holiday music year in, year out. © Andy Kellman /TiVo
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Soul/Funk/R&B - Released May 1, 1976 | Epic - Legacy

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Soul/Funk/R&B - Released August 21, 1983 | Epic - Legacy

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Soul/Funk/R&B - Released February 2, 1999 | Epic

Seldom do compilations, best-of collections, or even box sets capture the big picture on an artist in a way that's as definitive as the music they are attempting to chronicle. There's always something missing: a tape that didn't turn up and no decent vinyl copies around to copy from, or the licensing of a couple of essential tracks from another company fell through the legal cracks and didn't make the final lineup. Bottom line: definitive collections or box sets seldom are. But this one is. The Isley Brothers have been part of the musical landscape for such a long time, it's almost as if they had existed forever. Their musical history runs the gamut from early doo wop to proto-soul to funk to present-day R&B. Their reputation as a house-wrecking live act is superseded only by James Brown and a handful of other R&B performers. Their influence extends to the Beatles and to Jimi Hendrix, who served time in the Isley Brothers' band when he was still a scuffling youngster. They brought church music to the street and infused it with a pop sensibility that never lost its soulfulness. On this three-disc box set, listeners hear the story of that music and see an innovative group finally getting its due. Although the music on this set is cross-licensed from numerous companies and runs the entire scope of the Isley Brothers' career, it is not sequenced chronologically, or at least not on the opening disc. The earliest doo wop sides cut for a series of labels owned by George Goldner show up late in the game on disc one, which opens with the Brothers building up to a live version of "Shout" recorded at Yankee Stadium, followed by the original studio version of the classic. But nice examples of their work from their stints with RCA Victor, Wand, Motown, Atlantic, Cindy, Mark X, and Teenage set the stage perfectly for their own label masterworks on T-Neck. The true bonus of the early tracks on disc one are two tracks featuring Hendrix on guitar. Hearing 1965's "Move Over and Let Me Dance" is not unlike hearing Elvis Presley's Memphis Recording Service demos; the man is not yet a star, yet all the pieces are in place, waiting to happen. Disc two -- covering 1971-1975 -- is where the Brothers hit their stride. They still crank out hits and take on unlikely tunes, truly making them their own. That the Isleys could take on material like the Seals & Crofts weenie "Summer Breeze" and make an R&B masterpiece out of it is still a marvel of creativity over form. Likewise, what they do with material from James Taylor, Todd Rundgren, and Stephen Stills is utterly transforming; they don't cover these songs so much as totally reinvent them in their style. The third disc picks up the story from 1976-1996, chock-full of great original material and loads of devastating guitar from Ernie Isley, a Hendrix disciple who learned it firsthand and almost single-handedly kept the style alive after Hendrix's death. As great and influential as the Isleys and their music have been these many decades, they have unfortunately never achieved the crossover success of Motown artists and other lesser lights of R&B. Their contribution to American music and to African-American culture is writ on this deluxe set, a box that should end up in every serious American music collection out there. Even if you already have some Isley Brothers in the stack, trade 'em in, because this one is the set you really need. © Cub Koda /TiVo
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Soul/Funk/R&B - Released October 17, 2000 | Epic - Associated - Legacy

The Isley Brothers have had such a long and varied career that trying to sum up their highlights in a best-of package is bound to fall short of the mark. That hasn't, of course, kept people from trying to do so, in both single-disc and multi-disc sets. Although every song on this 17-song, single-disc anthology was a hit, it severely short-changes their vital (and extensive) pre-1970 output. The pre-"It's Your Thing" era is represented by just two tracks, "Twist and Shout" and "Shout," omitting not just bona fide hits like "This Old Heart of Mine," but great cuts like "Nobody But Me" and "Testify." As a survey of their 1970s and early-'80s hits, this does a more reasonable job. But still, few would agree that their cover of Seals & Crofts' "Summer Breeze," for instance, is among their best 17 songs, even if it did make number ten on the R&B listings in 1973. One good thing this collection does manage to do is include their cool 1971 cover of "Spill the Wine," which somehow did not make it onto the three-CD 1999 box set, It's Your Thing: The Story of the Isley Brothers. Other than "Spill the Wine," every song here appears on that box set, which is a recommended alternative if you can cough up a little more dough. Or better yet, try to find Rhino's two-volume, three-CD Story series, which not only has better selection and packaging than the Epic/Legacy collections, but sensibly divides the pre-"It's Your Thing" era and the post-"It's Your Thing" era into separate installments. © Richie Unterberger /TiVo
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Soul/Funk/R&B - Released August 21, 1978 | Epic - Legacy

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R&B - Released January 1, 2004 | Motown

A powerful set by the Isley Brothers, who tasted success with "Shout" and "Twist & Shout" before joining Motown. Brian Holland and Lamont Dozier produced the lion's share of tracks, and wrote most of them with the aid of Eddie Holland. An infectious "This Old Heart of Mine" took off -- its throbbing beat, memorable melody, and inspired vocals are as irresistible now as they were in 1966. The urgent "Take Some Time Out for Love," with its wailing vocals, made a little R&B noise; a creation of Robert Gordy and Thomas Kemp, it's one of two tracks not handled by Holland-Dozier-Holland. The other is the insightful, biblically titled "Seek and You Shall Find," done magnificently by Ron Isley, who sings the positive lyrics with understated fire. "I Guess I'll Always Love You" is a midtempo gem sung by Ron in his natural register, as he does all these songs; the sweet falsetto he used almost exclusively in the '80s and '90s is nowhere to be found. Isley versions of "Nowhere to Run," "Stop in the Name of Love," "Baby Don't You Do It," and "I Hear a Symphony" are comparable to, if not better than, the originals. © Andrew Hamilton /TiVo
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Pop - Released April 14, 2017 | Mon patrimoine musical

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Soul/Funk/R&B - Released August 21, 2015 | Epic - Legacy

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Soul/Funk/R&B - Released August 21, 1972 | Epic - Legacy

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Soul/Funk/R&B - Released September 7, 1974 | Epic - Legacy

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