The Isley Brothers' 3 + 3 lineup only lasted about ten years, which isn't that long when you consider that the group was formed in 1954 (19 years before the 3 + 3 lineup was unveiled) and was still touring in the late '90s. By 1980, you were hearing more and more complaints about how formulaic the 3 + 3 lineup had become, but when Showdown came out in 1978, the lineup hadn't lost any of its freshness. Showdown, in fact, is generally excellent. The Isleys bring a great deal of passion to funk/rock scorchers like "Rockin' With Fire," "Love Fever," and the number one hit "Take Me to the Next Phase," and they are equally appealing on the smooth, caressing slow jam "Groove With You" (another major hit). Meanwhile, the slow-burning "Ain't Givin' Up No Love" is one of the most bluesy things that the 3 + 3 sextet recorded. 1977's Go for Your Guns, the album that preceded Showdown, was an incredibly tough act to follow. But even if Showdown isn't quite in a class with that treasure, it comes impressively close.
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AllMusic Review by Alex Henderson