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The Isley Brothers – The RCA Victor & T-Neck Album Masters: 1959-1983 (2015) [Official Digital Download 24bit/96kHz]

The Isley Brothers – The RCA Victor & T-Neck Album Masters: 1959-1983 (2015)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96 kHz | Time – 20:34:19 miniutes| 24,4 GB | Genre: Soul, Funk, R&B
Studio Master, Official Digital Download – Source: Qobuz | © Epic – Legacy

The Isley Brothers: The RCA Victor and T-Neck Album Masters (1959-1983), a monumental 23-disc box set collection chronicling the sonic evolution and abiding achievements of the unprecedented R&B ensemble, The Isley Brothers. Features newly remastered versions of The Isley Brothers’ 21 albums, nearly all of which are expanded with rare mixes and tracks making their CD and digital debuts. This box set follows The Isley Brothers through their transformation from a 1950’s doo-wop/gospel vocal group into the world’s preeminent R&B Rock’N’Soul powerhouse party band. Includes 84 rare and previously unreleased bonus tracks including the “Great Lost Isley Brothers Album” – Wild In Woodstock: Live At Bearsville Sound Studio 1980, a live studio double album now newly restored.

In a way, the Isley Brothers have been taken for granted. Part of that is the group’s unwitting doing because they were exceptionally steady. From 1966 through 1983, the Isleys placed at least one single on the Billboard R&B chart each year. They were always present, frequently at or near the top. For an extended period, they were among the most progressive groups, whether they were mixing gospel, soul, and rock, incorporating synthesizers without sacrificing the funk, covering pop hits and often surpassing them, or epitomizing quiet storm. When they retreated from the fore, they adapted with ease. Another factor in their undervalued status is that their vast discography has been reissued in chunks by various sources across the decades. The RCA Victor & T-Neck Album Masters: 1959-1983, released by the Sony catalog’s Legacy division, is a corrective measure in the form of a compact 23-disc box set. It doesn’t cover the Isleys’ brief ’60s stints with Wand, United Artists, and Tamla, but it is remarkably generous with dozens of bonus tracks — mono versions, single edits, instrumentals, and so forth — and LP-replica sleeves for each album. As an extra enticement for those who dutifully rounded up those late-’90s Legacy and early-2010s BBR reissues, there’s Wild in Woodstock, a previously unreleased recording of the Go All the Way-era band performing at Bearsville Studios. Intended for release with overdubbed crowd noise that was thankfully never applied, the set alternates between blistering and gliding and deserves a release outside the box.

The Isley Brothers – Shout! (1959/2015) [Disc 1]
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96 kHz | Time – 52:45 minutes | 1020 MB
Studio Master, Official Digital Download | Artwork: Front cover

“Shout” is like a tent revival gone haywire, with the merest scraps of a song — a groove and a few phrases — igniting a soul explosion the likes of which had never been heard on record. The song was only a minor hit, but has been granted immortality for its exuberance and influence. The album of the same name, the Isley Brothers’ full-length debut in 1959, shows what a gulf existed between the Isleys and their old-school producers. The menu of standards and white rock & roll songs like “Rock Around the Clock” may have worked well for someone like Brook Benton, but the Isley Brothers sound tense on these songs, like they want to break loose.

01 – When the Saints Go Marching In
02 – St. Louis Blues
03 – Yes Indeed!
04 – How Deep Is the Ocean
05 – Ring-A-Ling-A-Ling (Let the Wedding Bells Ring)
06 – Rock Around the Clock
07 – He’s Got the Whole World In His Hands
08 – That Lucky Old Sun (Just Rolls Around Heaven All Day)
09 – Respectable
10 – Without a Song
11 – Shout, Pts. 1 & 2
12 – Turn to Me (Mono) [Bonus Track]
13 – Not One Minute More [Bonus Track]
14 – I’m Gonna Knock On Your Door (Mono) [Bonus Track]
15 – Shout, Pt. 1 (Mono) [Bonus Track]
16 – Shout, Pt. 2 (Mono with Extended Fade) [Bonus Track]
17 – Respectable (Mono) [Bonus Track]
18 – Gypsy Love Song (Slumber On, My Little Gypsy Sweetheart) [Bonus Track]
19 – Open Up Your Heart [Bonus Track]
20 – Tell Me Who [Bonus Track]
21 – Say You Love Me Too (Rehearsal) [Bonus Track]
22 – Say You Love Me Too [Bonus Track]

The Isley Brothers – It’s Our Thing (1969/2015) [Disc 2]
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96 kHz | Time – 49:49 minutes | 951 MB
Studio Master, Official Digital Download | Artwork: Front cover

A very important album for the Isley Brothers, 1969’s It’s Our Thing found Ronald, O’Kelly and Rudolph Isley reviving their T-Neck label and marked the beginning of their association with Buddah (where they would remain until moving T-Neck to Epic/CBS in 1973). Creatively, this excellent LP put the siblings in the driver’s seat — they did all of the producing and songwriting themselves — and they enjoyed the type of artistic freedom that they could only dream about when they were with Tamla/Motown from 1965-1968. At Tamla/Motown, Berry Gordy’s team of producers and songwriters called the shots, but at T-Neck/Buddah, the Isleys’ own vision was allowed to flourish. And that creative freedom made It’s Our Thing a commercial triumph as well as an artistic one. The funky title track soared to number two on the R&B charts, and equally invigorating gems like “Give the Women What They Want” and “I Know Who You Been Socking It To” also went down in history as soul classics. Nor are tough, gritty album tracks like “He’s Got Your Love” and “I Must Be Losing My Touch” anything to complain about. It’s Our Thing made it clear that Tamla/Motown’s loss was Buddah’s gain.

01 – I Know Who You Been Socking It To
02 – Somebody Been Messin’
03 – Save Me
04 – I Must Be Losing My Touch
05 – Feel Like the World
06 – It’s Your Thing
07 – Give the Women What They Want
08 – Love Is What You Make It
09 – Don’t Give It Away
10 – He’s Got Your Love
11 – I Know Who You Been Socking It To (feat. Dave “Baby” Cortez) [Bonus Track]
12 – Somebody Been Messin’ (feat. Dave “Baby” Cortez) [Bonus Track]
13 – From the Beginning (feat. The Sweet Cherries) [Bonus Track]
14 – He’s Got Your Love (feat. Judy White) [Bonus Track]
15 – It’s Your Thing (Mono Alternate Fade) [Bonus Track]
16 – Somebody Been Messin’ (Mono) (feat. Judy White) [Bonus Track]
17 – Love Is What You Make It (Mono) (feat. The Sweet Cherries) [Bonus Track]
18 – Don’t Give It Away (Mono Alternate Mix) [Bonus Track]
19 – Somebody’s Been Messin’ (Mono Instrumental) [Bonus Track]

The Isley Brothers – The Brothers: Isley (1969/2015) [Disc 3]
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96 kHz | Time – 46:50 minutes | 990 MB
Studio Master, Official Digital Download | Artwork: Front cover

The late ’60s and early ’70s remain a favorite period in the Isley Brothers evolution. Ronald sung hard, and brothers O’Kelly and Rudolph supplied church-inspired backing whoops to his lead. The tunes had catchy titles and creative, rhyming lyrics. This recording is loaded with that rocking, “It’s Your Thing” style. “The Blacker the Berry the Sweeter Juice” isn’t about fruit but speaks of the desirability of dark-complexioned women. “I Turned You On” has a grinding, churning rhythm; “sock it to me” was a catch phrase at the time and the Isleys included the popular phrase prominently in the song. “Feels Like the World” is a slow morbid statement about one’s condition, while “Was It Good to You” is fast, fluid, and asks the universal lover’s question. A good period for the trio, Ron sung close to his natural register, which will please those who dislike the softer falsetto voice he fell in love with later.

01 – I Turned You On
02 – Vacuum Cleaner
03 – I Got to Get Myself Together
04 – Was It Good to You
05 – The Blacker the Berrie (aka Black Berries)
06 – My Little Girl
07 – Get Down Off of the Train
08 – Holding On
09 – Feels Like the World
10 – Black Berries, Pt. 1 (Mono) [Bonus Track]
11 – Black Berries, Pt. 2 (Mono) [Bonus Track]
12 – I Turned You On (feat. Dave “Baby” Cortez) [Bonus Track]
13 – Vacuum Cleaner (feat. Judy White) [Bonus Track]
14 – I’ve Got to Get Myself Together (feat. Rudy & Judy) [Bonus Track]

The Isley Brothers – Live At Yankee Stadium (1969/2015) [Disc 4]
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96 kHz | Time – 66:18 minutes | 1,48 GB
Studio Master, Official Digital Download | Artwork: Front cover

Hot off the sales of their rocking, bouncing “It’s Your Thing” and a slew of R&B hits like “I Turned You On,” the Isley Brothers performed in concert at Yankee Stadium. They brought along some T-Neck Records underlings, such as Judy Clay and the Sweet Cherries, along with Brooklyn Bridge and the Five Stairsteps. All of the acts except the Five Stairsteps came out well on vinyl. The Stairsteps did “Don’t Change Your Love,” one of their weakest singles, and seemed to experience mike problems. Chirping an Isleys composition, “Love Is What You Make It,” the Sweet Cherries were three foxy devils who sang like birds. The ladies were pictured in hot sequined mini-dresses on the album’s cover. Judy White (Josh White’s daughter) did a rousing version of her T-Neck release “Somebody’s Been Messin’ With My Thang,” sounding sassy and sexy; Judy could belt ’em with the best of them. Blue-eyed soul singers Brooklyn Bridge, fronted by Johnny Maestro, got the crowd clapping with a spirited medley of Curtis Mayfield songs. The Isleys did a handful of their recent T-Neck sides, including “It’s Your Thing” and “I Know Who You Been Socking It To”; no mike problems for them — their funky brand of soul comes through loud and clear.

01 – The Isley Brothers – Introduction
02 – The Isley Brothers – I Know Who You Been Socking It To
03 – The Isley Brothers – I Turned You On
04 – The Isley Brothers – It’s Your Thing
05 – The Isley Brothers – Shout
06 – The Edwin Hawkins Singers – Jesus, Lover of My Soul
07 – The Edwin Hawkins Singers – Joy, Joy
08 – The Edwin Hawkins Singers – Oh Happy Day
09 – The Brooklyn Bridge – People Get Ready
10 – The Brooklyn Bridge – Talkin’ About My Baby
11 – The Brooklyn Bridge – It’s All Right
12 – The Brooklyn Bridge – Keep on Pushing
13 – The Brooklyn Bridge – You Must Believe Me
14 – The Brooklyn Bridge – I’m so Proud
15 – The Brooklyn Bridge – Amen
16 – The Five Stairsteps – Don’t Change Your Love
17 – Judy White – Somebody’s Been Messin’
18 – The Sweet Cherries – Love Is What You Make It

The Isley Brothers – Get Into Something (1970/2015) [Disc 5]
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96 kHz | Time – 56:28 minutes | 1022 MB
Studio Master, Official Digital Download | Artwork: Front cover

Another T-Neck release to receive reissue through Sony’s Legacy division in the late ’90s, Get Into Something boasts six Top 30 R&B chart hits. The first side serves up horn-inflected party jams, including the rousing title track and “Freedom,” the latter of which sums up the record’s overall uplifting theme of independence. The record isn’t without its missteps — the sexist lyrics of “Take Inventory” are highly questionable: “Don’t be so loyal and don’t be so true/ ’cause if you are boy, they’ll run over you.” “Bless” is an obvious re-write of “It’s Your Thing”; the Isleys would have been better off leaving that classic alone. A trio of ballads are offered up on the flip, including “I Got to Find Me One.” A song of devotion, it pleads for “one girl who believes in me and wants to marry me.” Call me crazy, but wouldn’t marriage render the taking of inventory an impossibility? Though not revolutionary or trailblazing, Get Into Something is every bit an excellent and vibrant funk/soul record.

01 – Get Into Something
02 – Freedom
03 – Take Inventory
04 – Keep On Doin’ (Mono)
05 – Girls Will Be Girls, Boys Will Be Boys
06 – I Need You So
07 – If He Can You Can
08 – I Got to Find Me One
09 – Beautiful
10 – Bless Your Heart (Mono)
11 – Baby You Got It (Mono) [Bonus Track]
12 – Get Into Something, Pt. 1 (Mono) [Bonus Track]
13 – Get Into Something, Pt. 2 (Mono) [Bonus Track]
14 – The Brothers Three – Turn On, Tune In, Drop Out, Pt. 1 (Mono) [Bonus Track]
15 – The Brothers Three – Turn On, Tune In, Drop Out, Pt. 2 (Mono) [Bonus Track]

The Isley Brothers & Jimi Hendrix – In The Beginning… (1971/2015) [Disc 6]
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96 kHz | Time – 33:10 minutes | 632 MB
Studio Master, Official Digital Download | Artwork: Front cover

These are the first offerings from the Isley Brothers’ T-Neck record label, and many consider special because Jimi Hendrix played lead guitar on them. However, these tracks bombed as singles. “Testify” is noisy and congested, too much is going on. Hendrix’s guitar is prominent, and identifies him as conclusively as a DNA sample. The Isleys imitate popular singers Stevie Wonder, Ray Charles, and James Brown on “Testify,” but the imitations are weak and sound like clones of each other. “Move Over and Let Me Dance” has some of “Testify”‘s problems but works a little better, it has a danceable groove and a much better hook. The only soft selection is “The Last Girl,” which has an airy sound, and features a rare laid-back vocal from Ron Isley during this phase of his career. Hendrix fans will love this, but fans of the Isleys’ later stuff will not be impressed.

01 – Move Over and Let Me Dance, Pt. 1
02 – Have You Ever Been Disappointed, Pts. 1 & 2
03 – Testify, Pts. 1 & 2 (Mono)
04 – Move Over and Let Me Dance, Pt. 2
05 – Wild Little Tiger
06 – The Last Girl
07 – Simon Says (Mono)
08 – Looking for a Love
09 – Testify, Pt. 1 (Mono, Single Version) [Bonus Track]
10 – Testify, Pt. 2 (Mono, Single Version) [Bonus Track]

The Isley Brothers – Givin’ It Back (1971/2015) [Disc 7]
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96 kHz | Time – 54:56 minutes | 1,07 GB
Studio Master, Official Digital Download | Artwork: Front cover

Givin’ It Back is as much a time capsule as an album. Not that it can’t be enjoyed on its own absolute musical terms by someone just off a boat who wasn’t even around in 1971, but to really appreciate how daring it was and how delightful it is, that side of its history should be known. Those who are old enough should recall the time whence it came, an era in which hatred and disunity over the Vietnam War, civil rights, school desegregation, the environment, and a multitude of other issues were threatening what seemed, potentially, like the beginning of a new civil war, this one not between states but between factions and ethnic and racial groups in 1,000 individual neighborhoods. The opening cut of Givin’ It Back, “Ohio/Machine Gun,” is a slap-in-your-face reminder of just how angry the times and the people were. The track evokes instant memories of the campus bloodshed of 1970, not just at Kent State but also the often-forgotten killings a few days later at Jackson State University in Mississippi, where the victims of a fusillade of sheriff’s deputies’ bullets were black students. More than that, the track itself is also a reminder of the divisions that existed on the left; to listen to pundits on the right, the anti-war and civil rights movements, along with the counterculture, were all part of one vast, organized, calculated left-wing conspiracy. The truth is that there was nearly as big a split, culturally and politically, between young blacks and young whites on the left and on college campuses as there was anywhere else in the population. Blacks reacting to years of oppression had little use for mostly middle-class white college students, however sympathetic many of them purported to be to their situation, while well-meaning white students and activists couldn’t begin to know what privation of the kind experienced by blacks and Hispanics in most American towns and cities was. In music, too, there was a lot of division; blacks usually didn’t resonate to the top artists in the white world and, in particular, were oblivious to (and even resentful of) the adoration accorded Jimi Hendrix by the white community. So, when the Isley Brothers — whose appeal among black audiences was unimpeachable — opened Givin’ It Back with a conflation of Neil Young’s “Ohio” and Jimi Hendrix’s “Machine Gun,” they were speaking to anger and bloodshed in the streets, but they were also performing an act of outreach that was about as radical as any they could have committed on record in 1971. That they incorporated a prayer into their reformulation of the two songs, amid Ernie Isley’s and Chester Woodard’s guitar pyrotechnics, turned it into one of the most powerful and personal musical statements of its era, and it’s worth the price of the album just for the one cut. Givin’ It Back is filled with virtues of that kind, however; it was the first Isley Brothers album to rely entirely on outside material, but the group’s reworkings of songs by James Taylor (“Fire and Rain”) and Stephen Stills (“Love the One You’re With”) show no lack of originality. They’re unafraid to take the song apart and rebuild it from the ground up, smoothing Bob Dylan’s “Lay Lady Lay” into a sensual soul ballad, turning the James Taylor number into a sweaty, earnest shouter, and transforming War’s “Spill the Wine” into an extended workout for voices, electric guitars (several layers deep), flute, and percussion. The album was also an early showcase for Bill Withers, whose funky blues “Cold Bologna” is covered by the group with the composer — who was about to emerge as a major star in his own right — on guitar. And the closer, “Love the One You’re With,” is sent soaring to heights that the Stephen Stills original could only gaze up at. Givin’ It Back is often held at arm’s length by soul listeners, who don’t regard it as central to what the Isley Brothers or their music are about; on the contrary, the group is so successful at remaking all of the songs here their own in style and approach and sending careful messages (alas, largely lost with the passage of time) in their selection as well as their content, that it really represents a lot of what the Isley Brothers and soul music were about in 1971, and it’s still great listening.

01 – Ohio / Machine Gun
02 – Fire and Rain
03 – Lay Lady Lay
04 – Spill the Wine
05 – Nothing to Do But Today
06 – Cold Bologna
07 – Love the One You’re With
08 – Warpath (Mono, Single Version) [Bonus Track]
09 – Spill the Wine (Mono, Single Version) [Bonus Track]
10 – Love the One You’re With (Mono, Single Version) [Bonus Track]
11 – Lay Lady Lay (Mono, Single Version) [Bonus Track]

The Isley Brothers – Brother, Brother, Brother (1972/2015) [Disc 8]
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96 kHz | Time – 41:56 minutes | 950 MB
Studio Master, Official Digital Download | Artwork: Front cover

With 1972’s Brother, Brother, Brother, younger brothers Ernie and Marvin Isley, along with in-law relative Chris Jasper, began to play major roles in the Isley Brothers’ sound. This also marked their first attempt to “Isley-ize” classics made famous by others. Their rendition of Carole King’s “It’s Too Late” rivals the original; Ron Isley sings the tender ballad in a softer voice then he used on previous recordings. An update of Jackie DeShannon’s “Put a Little Love in Your Heart” is an uplifter. They didn’t completely alienate fans of their harsher sound, the rocking, humorous “Pop That Thang” and “Lay Away” are fine examples of R&B and rock. “Pop That Thang” has a sloopy beat and biting lyrics, while “Lay Away” takes off on the popular buying option before the advent of the credit card. the Isley Brothers were big Carole King fans, in addition to “It’s Too Late,” they perform two other King songs, “Brother, Brother” and “Keep on Walkin'”; the latter is coupled with “Sweet Season.” Their own “Work to Do” is a stone rocker that has been recorded by many, including the Average White Band, who scored big with the cooker 3 years after its release, it remains one of the Isley Brothers’ most requested songs.

01 – Brother, Brother
02 – Put a Little Love in Your Heart
03 – Sweet Seasons
04 – Keep on Walkin’
05 – Work to Do
06 – Pop That Thang
07 – Lay Away
08 – It’s Too Late
09 – Love Put Me On the Corner
10 – It’s Too Late (Single Version) [Bonus Track]

The Isley Brothers – The Isleys Live (1973/2015) [Disc 9]
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96 kHz | Time – 54:49 minutes | 1,21 GB
Studio Master, Official Digital Download | Artwork: Front cover

The Isleys Live is one of the finest funk/soul live albums ever recorded. The first eight tracks come from club gigs in 1971 and 1972, while the last three are from a 1969 show at Yankee Stadium. The group’s biggest and most identifiable hit, “It’s Your Thing,” is featured twice, each version extremely inspired. But the most interesting thing about The Isleys Live is the inclusion of several cover songs, such as Carole King’s “It’s Too Late,” Neil Young’s “Ohio,” Bob Dylan’s “Lay Lady Lay,” and Stephen Stills’ “Love the One You’re With.” The covers aren’t straight-ahead rock readings, either; the Isleys inject their own funk and soul into them, making the songs their own. The album is also a showcase for the talents of the woefully underrated guitarist Ernie Isley, who simply wails on a cover of Jimi Hendrix’s “Machine Gun,” and plays fantastically throughout.

01 – Work to Do
02 – It’s Too Late
03 – It’s Your Thing
04 – Pop That Thang
05 – Love the One You’re With
06 – Lay Lady Lay
07 – Lay-Away
08 – Ohio / Machine Gun

The Isley Brothers – 3 + 3 (1973/2015) [Disc 10]
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96 kHz | Time – 77:19 minutes | 1,63 GB
Studio Master, Official Digital Download | Artwork: Front cover

Recorded in 1973, 3 + 3 was a major turning point for the Isley Brothers. With this album, the Isleys moved their T-Neck label from Buddah to Epic/CBS (which became Epic/Sony in the early ’90s), and it was at Epic that they unveiled their new lineup. Lead singer Ronald Isley and his siblings O’Kelly and Rudolph remained, but the Isleys became a sextet instead of a trio when cousin Chris Jasper and younger brothers Ernie and Marvin were added. This new lineup was called 3 + 3, and the addition of Jasper on keyboards, Ernie on guitar, and Marvin on bass added exciting new elements to the Isleys’ sound. One of finest R&B bassists of the 1970s, the ever-so-funky Marvin is in a class with heavyweights like Larry Graham and Louis Johnson — and Ernie is a stunning guitarist who is heavily influenced by Jimi Hendrix but has a distinctive style of his own. the Isleys had always been lovers of rock, but with the addition of Ernie, their sound became even more overtly rock-influenced. Nonetheless, the rock and pop elements didn’t alienate R&B audiences, which ate this album up. The single “That Lady” (which is based on an Impressions-like gem they had recorded in 1964) was a major hit, and the Isleys are equally captivating on soul interpretations of Seals & Crofts’ “Summer Breeze,” James Taylor’s “Don’t Let Me Be Lonely Tonight,” and the Doobie Brothers’ “Listen to the Music.” With this superb album, the Isley Brothers sounded better than ever — and they gained a lot of new fans without sacrificing the old ones.

01 – That Lady, Pts. 1 & 2
02 – Don’t Let Me Be Lonely Tonight
03 – If You Were There
04 – You Walk Your Way
05 – Listen to the Music
06 – What It Comes Down To
07 – Sunshine (Go Away Today)
08 – Summer Breeze, Pts. 1 & 2
09 – The Highways of My Life
10 – That Lady, Pt. 1 (Single Version) [Bonus Track]
11 – Summer Breeze, Pt. 1 (Single Version) [Bonus Track]
12 – The Highways of My Life (Single Version) [Bonus Track]
13 – Sunshine (Go Away Today) (SQ-Quad Mix) [Bonus Track]
14 – Summer Breeze (SQ-Quad Mix) [Bonus Track]
15 – That Lady (Interview, Pt. 1) [Bonus Track]
16 – Listen to the Music (Interview, Pt. 2) [Bonus Track]
17 – Summer Breeze (Interview, Pt. 3) [Bonus Track]
18 – The Highways of My Life (Interview, Pt. 4) [Bonus Track]

The Isley Brothers – Live It Up (1974/2015) [Disc 11]
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96 kHz | Time – 48:47 minutes | 1023 MB
Studio Master, Official Digital Download | Artwork: Front cover

One of the many classic albums the Ohio natives recorded. This set features two up-tempo numbers: the title track “Live It Up” and “Midnight Sky.” The former is a soulful funk track paced by a humpin’ bassline, robust background vocals, and Ernie Isley’s electrifying guitar solos. It checked in at number four on the Billboard R&B charts. The latter is a smoother dance number in which Ronald Isley’s vocals go from a cool, calm delivery to a resolute clamor. It peaked at number eight. Both have lengthy vamps, ideal for parties. As for the romance, “Hello It’s Me” and “Brown Eyed Girl” are two gems. “Hello It’s Me” is the classic ballad. Ronald’s melodic intro is mesmerizing as he finesses the lyric “hello,” which sets the tone for this beautiful number. His artistic interpretation of the lyric is demonstrated without blemish. This song was formerly recorded by Todd Rundgren, who also wrote it. “Brown Eyed Girl” is a mid-tempo number that’s seasoned with a folk-like guitar and the rich vocals of Ronald. Neither single was ever a release, but today both are radio regulars.

01 – Live It Up, Pts. 1 & 2
02 – Brown Eyed Girl
03 – Need a Little Taste of Love
04 – Lover’s Eve
05 – Midnight Sky, Pts. 1 & 2
06 – Hello It’s Me
07 – Ain’t I Been Good to You, Pts. 1 & 2
08 – Live It Up, Pt. 1 (Single Version) [Bonus Track]
09 – Midnight Sky, Pt. 1 (Single Version) [Bonus Track]
10 – Ain’t I Been Good to You, Pt. 1 (Single Version) [Bonus Track]

The Isley Brothers – The Heat Is On (1975/2015) [Disc 12]
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96 kHz | Time – 40:31 minutes | 887 MB
Studio Master, Official Digital Download | Artwork: Front cover

1975’s The Heat Is On was the third album that the Isley Brothers recorded with their 3 + 3 lineup, and by that time, the lineup had really perfected its attractive soul/rock sound. The Isleys were providing great R&B long before keyboardist Chris Jasper, bassist Marvin Isley, and the distinctive guitarist Ernie Isley came on board in 1973; nonetheless, the newcomers added a lot to the group and helped it provide some of its best recordings. Marvin’s basslines are as funky as it gets, and the Jimi Hendrix-influenced Ernie is a killer guitarist; he would have been perfect for Deep Purple, Blue Öyster Cult, or Judas Priest if the Isley Brothers hadn’t kept him busy in the 1970s. One of the 3 + 3 gems that no Isleys fans should be without is The Heat Is On, which is best known for the sweaty funk classic “Fight the Power” and the sexy quiet storm slow jam “For the Love of You.” Lead vocalist Ronald Isley is as convincing on the funk scorchers as he is on caressing ballads like “Make Me Say It Again Girl” and “Sensuality.” Meanwhile, “Hope You Feel Better Love” is brilliant because it contrasts those two sides of the 3 + 3 lineup — the verses are sweetly melodic, but the chorus is forceful and explosive. Superb from start to finish, The Heat Is On is among The Isleys’ most essential albums.

01 – Fight the Power, Pts. 1 & 2
02 – The Heat Is On, Pts. 1 & 2
03 – Hope You Feel Better Love, Pts. 1 & 2
04 – For the Love of You, Pts. 1 & 2
05 – Sensuality, Pts. 1 & 2
06 – Make Me Say It Again Girl, Pts. 1 & 2
07 – Fight the Power, Pt. 1 (Radio Edit) [Bonus Track]

The Isley Brothers – Harvest For The World (1976/2015) [Disc 13]
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96 kHz | Time – 47:45 minutes | 994 GB
Studio Master, Official Digital Download | Artwork: Front cover

The Isley Brothers came with love, funk and the too seldom mentioned socially consicous songs; this album is titled after one of those social gems. However, “Who Loves You Better,” with its disco flair, was the album’s first release. Ronald Isley’s aggressive delivery blends nicely with Ernie Isley’s tantalizing guitar solos. It was a top three single on the Billboard R&B charts. The title track is a tour de force. Preceded by a mellow intro in which Ronald Isley’s earnest plea rings with urgency, the timeless lyric and festive rhythm make “Harvest for the World” a welcomed anthem for all the people of the world. It cracked the Billboard R&B top ten at number nine. Ronald Isley changes his tone on some of these compositions by adding a roughness to his still smooth tenor, like on the relentless jams “People of Today” and “You Wanna Stay Down.” Then there are those priceless ballads like “Let Me Know” and “Let Me Down Easy”; Ronald Isley sweetly caresses the lyric with compassion and agility. Neither of these two selections were releases but remain staples on R&B radio.

01 – Harvest for the World (Prelude)
02 – Harvest for the World
03 – People of Today
04 – Who Loves You Better
05 – (At Your Best) You Are Love
06 – Let Me Down Easy
07 – So You Wanna Stay Down
08 – You Still Feel the Need
09 – Who Loves You Better, Pt. 1 (Mono Single Version) [Bonus Track]
10 – Harvest for the World, Pt. 1 (Single Version) [Bonus Track]
11 – Harvest for the World (Instrumental) [Bonus Track]

The Isley Brothers – Go For Your Guns (1977/2015) [Disc 14]
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96 kHz | Time – 49:27 minutes | 1019 MB
Studio Master, Official Digital Download | Artwork: Front cover

Every ten years the Isley Brothers reinvented themselves and managed to snatch as many consumer dollars and generate enough chart action to remain contemporary. Go for Your Guns was a further attempt by the Isleys to broaden their fan base; earlier in the decade they redid many rock standards to expand from the R&B base they were mired in. the Isleys shoot for the moon and never make it, but they always land among the stars. This seven-song set got played to death on urban radio. “Living in the Life” rocks so hard it makes cheap speakers pop; “Go for Your Guns” is an instrumental jam featuring the second generation Isley Brothers: Ernie, Marvin, and Chris Jasper (Rudolph Isley’s brother-in-law). The lovely, mystical “Voyage to Atlantis” is a staple of their live concerts, its opening strains acknowledged by deafening, enthusiastic applause. Like many Isley tunes, the loping, mid-tempo love tale “Footsteps in the Dark” has been sampled silly; “Pride” is a steady beater with uplifting words for the downtrodden. Nothing dull, no filler.

01 – The Pride, Pts. 1 & 2
02 – Footsteps in the Dark, Pts. 1 & 2
03 – Tell Me When You Need It Again, Pts. 1 & 2
04 – Climbin’ Up the Ladder, Pts. 1 & 2
05 – Voyage to Atlantis
06 – Livin’ In the Life
07 – Go for Your Guns
08 – The Pride (Disco Mix) [Bonus Track]
09 – Voyage to Atlantis (Mono, Single Version) [Bonus Track]
10 – Livin’ in the Life / Go for Your Guns (12 Disco Medley) [Bonus Track]

The Isley Brothers – Showdown (1978/2015) [Disc 15]
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96 kHz | Time – 66:13 minutes | 1,46 GB
Studio Master, Official Digital Download | Artwork: Front cover

The Isley Brothers’ 3 + 3 lineup only lasted about ten years, which isn’t that long when you consider that the group was formed in 1954 (19 years before the 3 + 3 lineup was unveiled) and was still touring in the late ’90s. By 1980, you were hearing more and more complaints about how formulaic the 3 + 3 lineup had become, but when Showdown came out in 1978, the lineup hadn’t lost any of its freshness. Showdown, in fact, is generally excellent. The Isleys bring a great deal of passion to funk/rock scorchers like “Rockin’ With Fire,” “Love Fever,” and the number one hit “Take Me to the Next Phase,” and they are equally appealing on the smooth, caressing slow jam “Groove With You” (another major hit). Meanwhile, the slow-burning “Ain’t Givin’ Up No Love” is one of the most bluesy things that the 3 + 3 sextet recorded. 1977’s Go for Your Guns, the album that preceded Showdown, was an incredibly tough act to follow. But even if Showdown isn’t quite in a class with that treasure, it comes impressively close

01 – Showdown, Pts. 1 & 2
02 – Groove with You, Pts. 1 & 2
03 – Ain’t Givin’ Up No Love
04 – Rockin’ with Fire, Pts. 1 & 2
05 – Take Me to the Next Phase, Pts. 1 & 2
06 – Coolin’ Me Out, Pts. 1 & 2
07 – Fun and Games
08 – Love Fever, Pts. 1 & 2
09 – Showdown, Pt. 1 (Single Version) [Bonus Track]
10 – Groove with You, Pt. 1 (Single Version) [Bonus Track]
11 – Take Me to the Next Phase, Pt. 1 (Single Version) [Bonus Track]
12 – Take Me to the Next Phase, Pts. 1 & 2 (Alternate Performance) [Bonus Track]
13 – Showdown (Rehearsal) [Bonus Track]

The Isley Brothers – Winner Takes All (1979/2015) [Disc 16 & 17]
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96 kHz | Time – 94:49 minutes | 2,01 GB
Studio Master, Official Digital Download | Artwork: Front cover

Winner Takes All was originally released as a two-album set, which reflected how popular the Isley Brothers were during this period of time. It features some rather lengthy but entertaining pieces. Ronald Isley’s silky tenor remains untarnished throughout the album. “I Wanna Be with You” made its claim on the Billboard R&B charts, peaking at number one. “Winner Takes All” and “It’s a Disco Night” followed in that order and only managed to reach numbers 38 and 27, respectively. Decent songs they are, but not as explosive as some of the Isley Brothers previously released up-tempo numbers. And as danceable as they, they come closer to good-listening songs. However, there are three solid ballads: “Let’s Fall in Love,” “How Lucky I Am” and “You’re the Key to My Heart.” Not one ever made a chart appearance, but all three remain popular to radio.

01 – I Wanna Be with You, Pts. 1 & 2
02 – Liquid Love, Pts. 1 & 2
03 – Winner Takes All
04 – Life In the City, Pts. 1 & 2
05 – It’s a Disco Night (Rock Don’t Stop), Pts. 1 & 2
06 – (Can’t You See) What You Do to Me
07 – Let’s Fall in Love, Pts. 1 & 2
08 – How Lucky I Am, Pts. 1 & 2
09 – You’re the Key to My Heart
10 – You’re Beside Me, Pts. 1 & 2
11 – Let Me in Your Life, Pts. 1 & 2
12 – Love Comes and Goes, Pts. 1 & 2
13 – Go for What You Know
14 – Mind Over Matter, Pts. 1 & 2
15 – I Wanna Be with You, Pts. 1 & 2 (Extended Version) [Bonus Track]
16 – It’s a Disco Night (Rock Don’t Stop), Pts. 1 & 2 (Disco Remix) [Bonus Track]
17 – Rudy’s Tune (How Lucky I Am) [Bonus Track]

The Isley Brothers – Go All The Way (1980/2015) [Disc 18]
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96 kHz | Time – 56:12 minutes | 1,18 GB
Studio Master, Official Digital Download | Artwork: Front cover

Although regarded as the beginning of their decline, this 1980 album did get The Isley Brothers three more chart hits. But they were so locked into their uptempo dance/R&B, ballad, rock guitar solo format that each LP became more and more predictable. The internal difficulties that finally tore the group apart were also surfacing with this album.

01 – Go All the Way, Pts. 1 & 2
02 – Say You Will, Pts. 1 & 2
03 – Pass It On, Pts. 1 & 2
04 – Here We Go Again, Pts. 1 & 2
05 – Don’t Say Goodnight (It’s Time for Love), Pts. 1 & 2
06 – The Belly Dancer, Pts. 1 & 2
07 – Here We Go Again, Pt. 1 (Single Version) [Bonus Track]
08 – Don’t Say Goodnight (It’s Time for Love) (Instrumental) [Bonus Track]
09 – Go All the Way (Rehearsal) [Bonus Track]
10 – Pass It On (Rehearsal) [Bonus Track]

The Isley Brothers – Wild In Woodstock: The Isley Brothers Live At Bearsville Sound Studio (1980/2015) [Disc 19]
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96 kHz | Time – 68:53 minutes | 1,41 GB
Studio Master, Official Digital Download | Artwork: Front cover

The first ever issue of the group’s aborted live album, Wild in Woodstock: The Isley Brothers Live at Bearsville Sound Studio 1980.

01 – That Lady
02 – Say You Will
03 – Here We Go Again
04 – Don’t Say Goodnight (It’s Time for Love)
05 – Medley Hello It’s Me – Footsteps in the Dark
06 – For the Love of You
07 – Fight the Power
08 – Groove with You
09 – Summer Breeze
10 – Voyage to Atlantis
11 – It’s a Disco Night (Rock Don’t Stop)
12 – Livin’ in the Life / Go for Your Guns

The Isley Brothers – Grand Slam (1981/2015) [Disc 20]
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96 kHz | Time – 56:30 minutes | 1,17 GB
Studio Master, Official Digital Download | Artwork: Front cover

Despite getting three more hits, including one Top 10 R&B song, the bloom was definitely off The Isley Brothers’ rose. Stagnation and internal bickering were taking their toll, and the innocent, energetic air that sparked their ’70s albums was gone. It had been replaced by a calculating, indifferent attitude that clearly affected their music.

01 – Tonight Is the Night (If I Had You)
02 – I Once Had Your Love (And I Can’t Let Go)
03 – Hurry Up and Wait
04 – Young Girls
05 – Party Night
06 – Don’t Let Up
07 – Who Said
08 – World Series (feat. Chris Jasper) [Bonus Track]
09 – I Once Had Your Love (And I Can’t Let Go) (Instrumental) [Bonus Track]
10 – Hurry Up and Wait (Instrumental) [Bonus Track]
11 – Party Night (Instrumental) [Bonus Track]
12 – Who Said (Rhythm Mix) [Bonus Track]

The Isley Brothers – Inside You (19xx/2015) [Disc 21]
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96 kHz | Time – 53:01 minutes | 1,12 GB
Studio Master, Official Digital Download | Artwork: Front cover

Inside You is the 20th album by The Isley Brothers released on T-Neck Records on October 31, 1981. The title track was one of their notable hits in the beginning of the 1980s though it didn’t return the Isleys to their past glory. The older and younger Isleys, in the meantime, were arguing over the group’s direction.

01 – Inside You, Pts. 1 & 2
02 – Baby Hold On
03 – Don’t Hold Back Your Love, Pts. 1 & 2
04 – First Love
05 – Love Merry-Go-Round
06 – Welcome Into My Heart
07 – Love Zone
08 – Inside You, Pt. 1 (Single Version) [Bonus Track]
09 – Inside You, Pt. 2 (Single Version) [Bonus Track]
10 – First Love (Instrumental) [Bonus Track]
11 – Playin’ for the Funk (Love Zone Outtake) [Bonus Track]

The Isley Brothers – The Real Deal (1982/2015) [Disc 22]
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96 kHz | Time – 49:28 minutes | 1023 MB
Studio Master, Official Digital Download | Artwork: Front cover

The Real Deal is the 21st album released by The Isley Brothers on August 21, 1982. The album is notable for the group’s decision to alter their trademark funk rock sound in the 1970s with the then-current early 1980s electro funk scene dominated by Rick James, Prince, Zapp and The Gap Band.

01 – The Real Deal, Pts. 1 & 2
02 – Are You with Me
03 – Stone Cold Lover
04 – It’s Alright with Me
05 – All in My Lover’s Eyes
06 – I’ll Do It All for You
07 – Under the Influence
08 – The Real Deal (Instrumental) [Bonus Track]
09 – It’s Alright with Me (Instrumental) [Bonus Track]

The Isley Brothers – Between The Sheets (1983/2015) [Disc 23]
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96 kHz | Time – 70:47 minutes | 1,51 GB
Studio Master, Official Digital Download | Artwork: Front cover

Compared to their past material, Between the Sheets lacks a consistent mix of sultry ballads and funky dance numbers. There are really only two Isley Brothers’ classics on this project: “Choosey Lover” and the title song “Between the Sheets.” The former has a romantic flow and the latter is just shy of mid-tempo but not a bona fide ballad. (When one thinks of a quiet thundering storm, this song’s bassline comes to mind; as soothing as it is, it also has that trembling effect.) It fell short of number one, peaking at three on the Billboard R&B charts. It was becoming obvious that the group’s continuity was fading — not so much from dissension within the group, but more so from dwindling interest in the music industry among group members (it was the group’s last album as 3 + 3). Marvin and Ernie Isley and their brother in-law Chris Jasper would release an album the following year as Isley Jasper Isley.

01 – Choosey Lover
02 – Touch Me
03 – I Need Your Body
04 – Between the Sheets
05 – Let’s Make Love Tonight
06 – Ballad for the Fallen Soldier
07 – Slow Down Children
08 – Way Out Love
09 – Gettin’ Over
10 – Rock You Good
11 – Choosey Lover (Instrumental) [Bonus Track]
12 – 279 – Touch Me (Instrumental) [Bonus Track]
13 – I Need Your Body (Instrumental) [Bonus Track]
14 – Between the Sheets (Instrumental) [Bonus Track]
15 – Let’s Make Love Tonight (Instrumental) [Bonus Track]


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