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Ain't No Backin' Up Now

Isis

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Album Review

The 1970s were full of large soul-funk bands that had nine or ten members (in some cases, even more), and the majority of them were male dominated if not entirely male. An obscure 1970s band that should not be confused with the 1990s rapper Isis, this Isis was a rarity in that all ten of its members were women. The interracial unit didn't get very far commercially, a fact that some attributed to sexism. But another explanation for Isis' lack of commercial success is the fact that its albums were uneven. Partly produced by New Orleans dynamo Allen Toussaint, Ain't No Backin' up Now is a decent but unremarkable album along the lines of Labelle and Tina Turner. Toussaint produced Labelle's most essential albums, although this LP (which has been out of print since the late '70s) lacks the excellence of Labelle gems like Nightbirds and Phoenix. Not surprisingly, the album's best songs (which include "Gold" and the funky title song) are the ones that were written by Toussaint instead of by lead singer Carol MacDonald, saxophonist Jeanie Fineberg, or other Isis members. With the right guidance and direction, Isis might have eventually developed into an outfit that was great instead of merely competent. But Isis broke up after this album, and it's safe to say that the vast majority of R&B fans have never even heard of the band.

Biography

Formed: 1972 in New York, NY

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '70s

All-female funk-rock outfit Isis reunited singer/guitarist Carol MacDonald and drummer Ginger Bianco, who previously collaborated in the '60s girl group Goldie & the Gingerbreads. Inspired by the success of distaff hard rock combo Fanny, MacDonald and Bianco formed Isis in 1972, recruiting lead guitarist Susan Ghezzi, bassist Stella Bass, saxophonist Jeanie Fineberg, trumpeter Lauren Draper, trombonist Lilly Bienenfield, and percussionist Nydia Mata. After building a cult following on the strength...
Full bio
Ain't No Backin' Up Now, Isis
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