I have never been able to fully appreciate The Isley Brothers. Sure, songs like “Shout,” “It’s Your Thing,” “Twist and Shout” and “Lady (Part 1)” are terrific, but I never dived into their extensive back catalog. Until now, that is. The folks at Legacy have put together the definitive Isley Brothers collection in “Thhe RCA Victory and T-Neck Album Masters (1959-1983).”
The whopping 23-disc set chronicles the Isleys quarter century rise from fledgling doo-wop group to worldwide R&B powerhouse. In addition to the 21 albums the group recorded for the labels during that time, the set includes the “lost” album “Wild in Woodstock: The Isley Brothers Live at Bearsville Studios 1980.” For hardcore fans, the boxed set features 84 rare and unreleased bonus tracks spanning the band’s entire career.
What I find most compelling about The Isley Brothers’ was their ability to create funk-fueled covers of pop songs of the day. Their spin on “Ohio,” “Summer Breeze,” Love the One You’re With,” “Hello It’s Me” and “Lay Lady Lay” are flat-out fantastic. “The RCA Victor and T-Neck Album Masters” has made me an Isley Brothers convert. If you invest in this set, I’m guessing you’ll be a convert, too. (Jeffrey Sisk)