The Isleys Live is one of the finest funk/soul live albums ever recorded. The first eight tracks come from club gigs in 1971 and 1972, while the last three are from a 1969 show at Yankee Stadium. The group's biggest and most identifiable hit, "It's Your Thing," is featured twice, each version extremely inspired. But the most interesting thing about The Isleys Live is the inclusion of several cover songs, such as Carole King's "It's Too Late," Neil Young's "Ohio," Bob Dylan's "Lay Lady Lay," and Stephen Stills' "Love the One You're With." The covers aren't straight-ahead rock readings, either; the Isleys inject their own funk and soul into them, making the songs their own. The album is also a showcase for the talents of the woefully underrated guitarist Ernie Isley, who simply wails on a cover of Jimi Hendrix's "Machine Gun," and plays fantastically throughout. The Isleys Live received the makeover treatment in 1996 by Rhino Records, who remastered the whole disc and lengthened it with several extra selections not included on the original.
AllMusic Review by Greg Prato