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4.6 out of 5 stars37
4.6 out of 5 stars
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on 17 March 2002
As the track listings suggest, this is actually the Isley Brothers' Greatest Hits of the 70s and NOT a detailed anthology of their illustrious career. Notwithstanding that little gripe, this is a very worthwhile purchase.
The album kicks off with their cover of the Seals & Croft minor hit, "Summer Breeze" - which the Isley's made their own, and gave them one of their biggest post-Motown hits. Apart from Bill Withers' "Lovely Day", The Beatles' "Here Comes The Sun", and possibly Kinks' "Waterloo Sunset", "Summer Breeze" has to be the BEST summer song ever recorded.
To only include the first part of "That Lady" is something of a disappointment considering the recorded company had included the long version of "Summer Breeze" before it. Still (and as you'd expect, this is the 'vocal' version, so at least we get to hear the track that's familiar to most fans. Although interesting to hear, I'm surprised at the inclusion of the 'prelude' version of "Harvest For The World", which in all honesty is nothing more than an alternative (and very brief) take. However, the full version of "Harvest..." mixes straight in afterwards.
"Hope You Feel Better Love" is a fantastic foray into 70s funk, whilst "Highways Of My Life" is undoubtedly one the most beautiful songs anyone has ever recorded. "Caravan Of Love" (taken from 1984 when half the band members had departed) was their last, big mentionable hit - and not a bad effort to be remembered by (even if the Housemartins version was far superior). Two more lubricious ballads take the listener back to the 70s with "Between The Sheets" and the James Taylor-penned "Don't Let Me Be Lonely".
Unfortunately, the last six songs on this album are something of a miss. Maybe with the exception of covering Stephen Still's "Love The One Your With", I'm reliably informed by a die-hard fan of the Isley's that there's a lot of other great tracks that deserve to replace the ones found here. (And that MUST include "(At Your Best) You Are Love".
It's an enjoyable CD, but I'm waiting for the true ANTHOLOGY to come out. That when you'll have The Isley Brothers' definitive greatest hits.
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The Isley Bothers have a long history, beginning with Shout, the song that later launched Lulu's career in Britain. In the sixties, they recorded some notable songs, notably Twist and shout (later covered by the Beatles and by Brian Poole and the Tremeloes, who had a UK top ten hit with it) and This old heart of mine (a Motown classic).
By the time the seventies dawned, the three brothers of the original group had become five brothers and a cousin (whose surname was Jasper, not Isley) and it was with this line-up that the group had its most successful period in America. Although they scored several top twenty hits in Britain, they weren't as big as their earlier Motown hits (This old heart of mine, Behind a painted smile) which both made the UK top five.
The set opens with Summer breeze, one of the best summer songs of the seventies, and also includes That lady, Harvest for the world and Highway of my life. These four classics are the best tracks here but there are plenty of other tracks worth hearing, most notably It's a disco night and Between the sheets.
In the eighties, the group split up - the three original members continued as the Isley Brothers while the three that joined in 1969 formed Isley Jasper Isley. This latter group, represented here by Caravan of love (later covered by the Housemartins who had a British number one hit with it), had more success than the original trio.
This compilation doesn't really do justice to the Isley Brothers but it does include the classic songs from the period covered - and that will satisfy most people. The committed fan will look for a more ambitious compilation, such as the more recent career-spanning double-CD Essential. If you are new to the music of the Isley Brothers, this is a good place to start but don't forget about their Motown music available elsewhere.
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on 20 August 2011
I bought this for my 24yr old daughter, as she got addicted to the Isley Bros after hearing 'Whos that lady' on one of my CD's!! I think that says it all :0)
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on 31 July 2014
I always liked the Isley Brothers from the 60s/70s and it wasn't until I kept hearing one of their songs on the radio recently I thought I must have one of their CDs. We are certainly not disappointed with this one.
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on 2 January 2014
The sample player above seems to me to play the wrong tracks,.. or show the wrong titles! As for the music - so good! I'm ordering one.. will let you know how it sounds etc.
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on 14 August 2015
for me the ultimate group - always love these guys - the harmonies are second to none - totally first class
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As has already been noted this is really only half the Isley Brothers story. The Isley Brothers in the 1970s. Also it's very mis-titled: Actually less than half of these tracks were hits in the mainstream top 40 UK charts (maybe the rest did better on Billboard in the US?). Additionally, the single versions of "Highways", "That Lady" and "Summer Breeze" were snappier shorter versions than the elongated original album versions presented here. Whilst I love the intro to the full version of "Highways", I still feel the track is over long.

I wonder why artists have such a problem with including the hit edits of their songs on compilations such as these? After all, it was those edits which gave them the hit - in the 1970s they'd never have made the charts in their original form.

So there are 11 tracks, 5 of them are over 5 minutes long (and the interminable "It's a Disco night" runs almost 9 minutes without any real reason) yet the CD still has almost 20 minutes of empty space on it. I wonder why they didn't include some of their other 'hits' such as "Live It Up" or "Fight the Power" or "Brown Eyed Girl"?

I REALLY do love the Isley's music, but I have a problem with this packaging. I would hugely welcome an "Isley Brothers 1970s Singles Anthology" which included all their original singles releases in their original forms (i.e. edits) - the album versions are all still available on the original albums after all. I'm afraid that there's too much of a smack of music company (and perhaps artist) cynicism about this one.
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on 3 February 2015
Covers a lot of their "freaky deaky" period in the 70's, we'll worth it!
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on 7 September 2014
What else do you need as an introduction to this superb but underrated act?
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on 30 September 2015
Fantastic album, all the hits and more, will listen to it all the time.
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