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Mostly hits, but you'll find a few misses too.........
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.