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Isley Brothers - Eternal
In a music industry that seems to dispense with artists after five years, it is truly amazing that the Isley Brothers are entering their sixth decade of recording.  What's more inspiring is that they remain on top of their game on Eternal.

The key to their longevity has been staying abreast of current styles, adapting them to their strengths.  This trend continues with the opening "Move Your Body," a radio-friendly jam that is totally contemporary despite being a standard Isleys address to women.  This cut also features a classic guitar line from Ernie Isley, who seems to finally be getting his just due as one of the best guitarists of the past thirty years. 

Ernie is prominently showcased on nearly every cut, given ample opportunity to flex his Hendrixian runs and solos. On "Ernie's Jam," Ronald Isley distills the essence of the Isleys to a simple lyric: "I was born to sing this music/ My brother was born to play his guitar."  And Ernie responds with an explosion of controlled power that is an addition to his already extensive catalog of classic solos. It is a great moment.

Their remarkable knack for covering the unlikeliest of songs is accounted for with their version of Chicago's "If You Leave Me Now."   Stripped of the annoying aura that is part of all of Chicago's material, they make the song their own.  Their take on "Warm Summer Night" by Chic isn't as successful, but their decision to tackle an obscure ballad from a disco band shows they are still actively seeking challenges. 

While Ronald and Ernie's performance dispels any thought of diminishing skills, a special assist must be given to the cadre of producers who helm the album.   Working with the Isleys seems to have brought out the best of them, particularly longtime collaborator R. Kelly, whose "You Didn't See Me" and "Contagious" are two of the strongest numbers.  Jill Scott and Raphael Saadiq also make strong contributions behind the boards.

With Eternal, the Isley Brothers have accomplished the rare feat of satisfying their core fans while making themselves attractive to today's audience.  

Copyright 2001 B.Graff.  All rights reserved.

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Released 2001 on Dreamworks

Selected Tracks:

Ernie's Jam
If You Leave Me Now
Said Enough

Move Your Body

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