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The Best of the Early Years

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Album Review

Its deceptive title aside, The Best of the Early Years actually focuses very little on the Isleys' formative records — "Shout" is here, of course, but other classics like "Twist and Shout," "Respectable" and "Nobody But Me" are all missing in action. The real focus of this 11-track compilation is the group's recordings from the mid- to late 1960s, a period spent largely at Motown and highlighted by the magnificent "This Old Heart of Mine (Is Weak for You)." Though confusing and frustrating from a historical standpoint, there's still enough quality material here to make the set of interest to casual Isleys fans.


Formed: 1954 in Cincinnati, OH

Genre: R&B/Soul

Years Active: '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

First formed in the early '50s, the Isley Brothers enjoyed one of the longest, most influential, and most diverse careers in the pantheon of popular music -- over the course of nearly a half century of performing, the group's distinguished history spanned not only two generations of Isley siblings but also massive cultural shifts which heralded their music's transformation from gritty R&B to Motown soul to blistering funk. The first generation of Isley siblings was born and raised in Cincinnati,...
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