Ahh… The Isley Brothers. What a beautiful family of absolute dudes. Packed with killer singles during the early and mid ‘70s, the psychedelic funk & soul and blissed-out vocals are all perfectly captured on their ’77 release Forever Gold. Formed in the ‘50s, The Isley’s were legendary before any of these tunes were written, but that status went up a bunch of notches during the seventies.
These guys had earned their chops a hundred times over by the time That Lady was released in ’73, tutoring Jimi Hendrix from ’63-’65 who was a clear inspiration for the psychedelic guitar on many of these tracks ten years later. The absolute groove on these tunes, regardless of tempo, is impeccable, but it’s not just the groove, it’s the message and sentiment on tracks like Highways Of My Life and Harvest For The World which hit me just as hard.
Sometimes musically it’s the simpler the better that works, when just the most basic groove works best. Lennon was a master of that, and in so many songs it’s that simplicity that wins me over. Highways Of My Life got me for just that reason. Everything is beautifully simple, and just the faintest change in tempo mid-song just kills me.
Me and my amigos loved this album. In many ways it was the soundtrack to our time living together, summing up our brotherly love and sheer passion for a work of musical art. For me this was The Isley Brothers at their peak; pre-disco and groovin’ the hell out of the funk-rock. But, pinning a genre on Forever Gold is a waste of time. This ain’t no disco, R&B, funk or soul. This is The Isley Brothers.