Some of the tracks on this album are simply as good as it gets. I can never believe how more people don't know about this album - it is so raw and visceral. Ronnie is awesome and the music is as funky and especially as rockin as the Isley's ever got. I have a dozen or so Isley albums and this album, though perhaps just the tiniest bit uneven because there as so many styles so well represented here, is probably the one I cannot do without (although 'Beautiful Ballads' is a must have too). I'll break it down:
Get into Something - 7 minute uptempo, and then down, and then back up again, funky rocker, smokin
Freedom - what a great song - great lyrics, total groove
Take an Inventory - the most chauvinistic song I've ever heard - ya gotta love it - awesome again
Keep on Doin - this song shows the impeccable taste and style of the Bros. What this song really is is just a cover of James Brown's, via his backing band the J.B.s, "the Grunt", as funky and tough an instrumental song as there ever was. The Bros. came up with some killer lyrics and Ronnie just belts it.
These 4 songs alone make the album a must have. They are so killer when heard in row.
To be honest, 5 is a fine song, Ronnie is almost unnervingly coy, and 6 is good too, slow and sweet - O'Kelly, who always seems a touch sad (and who is really often indiscernible from Ronnie) sings as usual exceptionally well here - but they get back to kicking butt with song 7. Song 8 is another weepy but beautiful unrequited/longing for love song sung by O'Kelly.
Song 7 - If He Can You Can - a super hard driver where Ernie's wah work is just astounding. A great, great song with as usual, phonomenal singing (assumed with Ronnie and O'Kelly). There's a "fire in the kitchen" alright. Ronnie's wailing is so urgent I can only think of their song "Testify" with Jimi Hendrix back in the day (mid 1960's) where Ronnie sounds so vital and alive. If you've never heard "Testify" track it down - phonomenal track where the lyrics led this listener to believe that Jimi has introduced the Bros. to acid (Ronnie sings, "You wouldn't understand - cuz yer plastic, man!"). Sidenote: "Testify" was memorably covered by Stevie Ray Vaughan on "In Step" (or "Texas Flood?") in an absolutely stunning guitar instrumental - hey, it's a funky, funky song that was way ahead of its time.
Beautiful - just what it sez; some of that Hendrixesque, melodic guitar by Ernie with beautiful singing.
Bless Your Heart - This song is so crazy/goofy: here the Bros. rip themselves off. They took the exact music of "It's Your Thing," note for note, and just changed the lyrics to "Bless Your Soul". It's a good song, kind of - though you've heard it before - but it's worth listening to just because it's so funny and ballsy that the Bros. "covered" themselves.
I love this album. Ernie and Marvin (bass) really step to the fore on this one and this album is really, really smoking at times and only in a couple instances does it slow its breakneck pace, very effectively though. I am always surprised when "Isley fans" I meet don't know this album. Released in 1970 it is so timely both in music and lyric. Ernie and Marvin are obviously huge Jimi Hendrix/Billy Cox fans (who isn't) and the singing is, well, it's Ronnie Isley and the Bros. No joke - this is a great, great album.