Nice little record. Not the end of the world but one hell of a lot better than the derivative and substandard albums that the great Isley Brothers had been foisting on the public recently. Side one is absolutely fantastic to dance to (and if you're so fookin' cool that you can actually do the Click Clack already then this record might send you right on into the next World Age), while side two is alright to neck by.
The key to the album is the ubiquitous Carole King, whose three tunes are the backbone of the Isleys' current repertoire. "Brother, Brother," Carole's sequel to Marvin Gaye's "What's Goin' On," is almost precisely Carole's arrangement but with characteristic Isley popping rhythm, as is "Sweet Season." "Sweet Season" segues into an energetic Isley number, "Keep On Walking." Another Isley original, a canny synthesis of quotes from M. Gaye's "What's Happenin' Brother" and any six of C. King's tunes called "Work To Do," is pretty good, and leads into "Pop That Thang" a certifiable Isley boom boom WOP ass-shaker. "Lay Away," another original, is notable for its tricky high harmonies and sadly relevant lyrics.
If you're in the mood, turn the record over and listen to Carole King's "It's Too Late" stretched out and slowed down to ten minutes and 31 seconds, just as Al Green did with "How Can You Mend A Broken Heart," only with decidedly greater histrionics. Another slow number, "Love Put Me on the Corner," fills out the side in the same easy way. It's a genuinely gorgeous song, co-written by the three Isley Brothers and their excellent pianist, Chris Jasper.
Brother, Brother, Brother is definitely the best R&B album to come along since Al Green's last, and the best general party album since Teenage Head. (RS 113)
(Posted: Jul 20, 1972)
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