The Isley Brothers

Showdown/Grand Slam

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BGO presents another volume in its amazing set of Isley Brothers reissues. These are a bit out of sequence, given that there were two albums between 1978's Showdown and 1981's Grand Slam. But there is a real aesthetic reason to release them this way. First off, the follow-up to Showdown was the double album Winner Takes All, released in 1979. Due to the extended nature of the cuts -- most of them being part of the Isleys' trademark two-parters -- it would take a CD by itself. The same goes for Go All the Way. Every track is a two-part love jam. As for this pair of albums, the Isleys were riding high both in the charts and on the live circuit during the late '70s and early '80s. Top Ten high. Showdown's got the sultry babymaker "Groove with You," the burning title track, and the funked-up disco jam that is "Rockin' with Fire." The latter album includes "Tonight Is the Night (If I Had You)," the bass-rumbling floor thumper "Who Said?," and the loose-grooving "Party Night." It's slicker than its predecessor, but it nonetheless contains the Isleys 3 + 3 magic in all the right places. The sound on this set is stellar, the price is right, and the liner notes by John O'Regan are authoritative and engaging. Recommended.

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