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The Essential Isley Brothers

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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
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  1. # Track Artist Length
  2. 1 Twist and Shout The Isley Brothers 2:26
  3. 2 That Lady, Pts. 1 & 2 The Isley Brothers 5:34
  4. 3 What It Comes Down To The Isley Brothers 3:52
  5. 4 Brown Eyed Girl The Isley Brothers 4:4
  6. 5 For the Love of You, Pts. 1 & 2 The Isley Brothers 5:35
  7. 6 Groove With You The Isley Brothers 4:47
  8. 7 Brother, Brother The Isley Brothers 3:14
  9. 8 Work to Do The Isley Brothers 3:8
  10. 9 Harvest for the World The Isley Brothers 3:53
  11. 10 Summer Breeze The Isley Brothers 6:10
  12. 11 Make Me Say It Again Girl, Pts. 1 & 2 The Isley Brothers 7:32
  13. 12 Live It Up, Pts. 1 & 2 The Isley Brothers 6:10
  14. 13 Fight the Power, Pts. 1 & 2 The Isley Brothers 5:16
  15. 14 Freedom The Isley Brothers 3:34
  16. 15 Keep on Doin' The Isley Brothers 3:57
  17. 16 This Old Heart of Mine (Is Weak for You) The Isley Brothers 2:35
  18. 17 Move Over and Let Me Dance The Isley Brothers 2:43
  19. 18 Shout, Pts. 1-2 The Isley Brothers 4:21
  20. 1 It's Your Thing The Isley Brothers 2:45
  21. 2 I Turned You On The Isley Brothers 2:35
  22. 3 Lay Away The Isley Brothers 3:19
  23. 4 Love the One You're With The Isley Brothers 3:38
  24. 5 Pop That Thang The Isley Brothers 2:51
  25. 6 Spill the Wine The Isley Brothers 6:29
  26. 7 Take Me to the Next Phase, Pts. 1 & 2 The Isley Brothers 5:6
  27. 8 I Wanna Be With You, Pts. 1 & 2 The Isley Brothers 6:18
  28. 9 The Pride, Pts. 1 & 2 The Isley Brothers 5:29
  29. 10 Footsteps in the Dark, Pts. 1 & 2 The Isley Brothers 5:2
  30. 11 Voyage to Atlantis The Isley Brothers 4:27
  31. 12 Don't Say Goodnight (It's Time for Love) Pts. 1 & 2 The Isley Brothers 5:43
  32. 13 Between the Sheets The Isley Brothers 5:35
  33. 14 Caravan of Love The Isley Brothers 5:40
  34. 15 Mission to Please You The Isley Brothers 4:23
  35. 16 Down Low (Nobody Has to Know) The Isley Brothers 4:44

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