Elevate Difference

From the Heart

The Isley Brothers have been making fantastic and varied music since the 1950s, or as their DefJam website says, creating “Baby Makin’ Music.” Personally, I would prefer listening to From The Heart with a glass of wine while chopping vegetables, making dinner rather than babies. But that’s just me.

Considering the pervasive presence of The Isley Brothers in American music, especially funk, rock and roll, and R&B, it would be difficult to not recognize the rhythm and high melodic voice of the Isleys. From The Heart is mellow, a far cry from “Shout” or “Fight the Power,” but more like “This Old Heart of Mine.”

Don’t slip this disc into the player expecting the rock and roll of the sixties, or the funk of the eighties. One might categorize it as adult contemporary. These reissued songs are all love songs, hence the title From The Heart (which seems to be a frequently used album title in the music industry, from Billie Holiday to Dolly Parton).

Several of the songs on this album are truly fun. I like “Choosey Lover,” and the cover of Bob Dylan’s “Lay Lady Lay” is beautiful. Some of the songs’ lyrics are reminiscent of Teddy Pendergrass and Marvin Gay, but don’t quite work, such as in “Hello, It’s Me.” And if you’re looking for feminist lyrics, this isn’t the place.

The Isley Brothers are so important to American music, one can’t completely dismiss anything they do. These men have influenced so many contemporary artists, as well as musical genres overall. “Lay Lady Lady” might just make this album worth your while, and will remind you of the place The Isley Brothers have in American culture. And not just as "baby makin' music."

Written by: Claire Burrows, May 2nd 2009