The Isley Brothers

Live It Up/the Heat is On/Harvest for the World

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The Triple Feature series by Sony Legacy compiles three -- usually well-known -- catalog albums by big-name artists, assembles them in a slipcase box, and sells them at a budget price to consumers. While the reason may be simply a new package in order to clear shelves of excess inventory, this exercise also serves a purpose for collectors and fans filling in holes for a favorite artist. These three recordings by Ohio natives the Isley Brothers are stellar examples of the band at its very best and most successful -- though there are other albums from the era that accomplish the same task. They are packaged here in reverse chronological order, strangely enough, but musically everything here is quite enjoyable and really stands the test of time. First in the set is 1976’s gorgeous Harvest for the World. With its striking and socially conscious title cut, the album also boasts dancefloor jams such as "People of Today" and "You Wanna Stay Down” as well as the ballads "Let Me Know" and "Let Me Down Easy.” Released in 1975, The Heat Is On contained longer tunes, and virtually every track was in two parts. The best-known singles from this set are timeless soul classics: the title track (both parts) as well as the immortal “Fight the Power, Pts. 1-2." The final CD in this set is 1974’s lesser-known but no less enjoyable Live It Up. The Isleys were big on covers early on, and this set contains terrific examples in the sweet balladic reading of Todd Rundgren’s “Hello It’s Me” and the sprightly though very soulful take on Van Morrison’s “Brown Eyed Girl.” If you only own one of these discs, or are new to the Isleys sound, this is a sound purchase, since virtually everything the group released during the '70s is well worth the investment.

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