It's Your Thing: The Story of the Isley Brothers
IT'S YOUR THING is a superb three-CD overview of one of the most influential, adventurous, and consistent R&B bands in history. Music lovers who only know the group from the delicious acid-guitar groove of "That Lady (Part 1 & 2)" or the funky "Fight the Power" are in for a soulful tour de force; the music here covers more than 40 years and embraces everything from doo-wop to funk, and from Motown pop to psychedelic soul. The first disc includes the band's two breakthrough classics: "Shout," the pop-gospel screamer revived in the film "Animal House," and a barn-burner later covered by the Beatles, "Twist and Shout." Two tracks feature the young Jimi Hendrix, his flashy guitar lines not yet adorned with the distortion and volume that was to come. The group's brief tenure at Motown is represented by two great tunes ("This Old Heart of Mine" and "Take Me in Your Arms") in which the Isleys are backed by the label's fiery
house band. The Isleys' post-Motown career spawned thier biggest pop hits, including the superfunky "It's Your Thing" and "That Lady (Part I & 2)," with its brilliant, blistering Hendrix-meets-Clapton guitar substituting for the Jimmy Smith-like organ that informed the band's earlier take on the tune (which was initially titled "Who's That Lady?"). By the 1970s, the Isley's were equally comfortable crafting funky dance numbers ("Live It Up"), elaborately produced soul tunes ("Harvest for the World"), and finding quiet-storm melodies in the pop-rock songbooks of James Taylor ("I Don't Want to Be Lonely Tonight"), Seals and Crofts ("Summer Breeze"), and Todd Rundgren ("Hello It's Me"). It's a wild crazy quilt of a repertoire, and one that works because this is a band defined by great singing, sharp instrumentals, and a whole lot of soul.