02 September, 2010

Recent Love (Soul Power Edition)

The Isley Brothers - Go for Your GunsThe Isley Brothers, Go for Your Guns. I listened to this damned thing three times in a row last night and I'm having a damnable time remembering most of it, largely because I'm not what you would call a "soul connoisseur", though I do have a large soft spot for it.
Oh, and let's get the obvious out of the way: The Isley Brothers can harmonize like motherfuckers.
Go for Your Guns kicks off with "The Pride" which is a straight up funk piece which betrays the sort of Ohioan sound you hear every once in a while with older groups. It doesn't sound like NYC, it doesn't sound like LA, it sounds like it could be close to Detroit but it aint. Something hard to put your finger on. Or, you know, I could be wrong. Please refer to the part where I said: "I'm not what you would call a 'soul connoisseur'..." But, for now, let's say it's definitely a Cincinnati funk.

Not to be confused with another Cincinnati funk.
From there, the Isley Brothers break off one of the two pieces of get-downage on this record, "Footsteps in the Dark", aka "That Song Ice Cube Sampled for 'It Was A Good Day'". Let me tell you something: If you get a lady back to your place (thereby meaning that you've been playing your A-game all night and the charm is working) (or you're a serial rapist) and you put this one on and you can't seal the deal, there's no hope for you. Unless she's a club rat and listens to some IDM or some shit like that.
After that, we're taken to song numero tres: "Tell Me When You Need It Again". Plenty of envelope followed qua-qua-qua bass and organ swells (rimshot, please) populate the breaks in this midtempo number. It's a nice lead in to the fourth song, "Climbin' Up the Ladder", which starts off with a big bit of fan fare that makes you think someone threw on a Queen record and then rips into a bass line - and again, tell me I'm wrong - that sounds to my ears a bit like the Meters' "Cissy Strut" but also reminiscent of the Funkees' "Akula Owu Onyeara".
No, wait.
No, I'm thinking of some other song. That's not at all close to the Funkees.
Fuck it. I've listened to this song three times trying to figure out where I've heard that break.
The other piece of get downage is "Voyage to Atlantis", that's the other slow jam, replete with wobbly, tremoring guitars for your underwater sexcapades. Which, you know, would be cool, provided you think you can get it on in one of these things:

Also useful for when condoms aren't enough.
"Livin' in the Life" and the title track are essentially the same song and recall the opening number a bit but not really.
So the bottom line? Well, if you're interested in funk/soul and know jack shit about it, this is as good a starting point as any. If you already know your funk and your soul, you already own this record, so I'm not telling you anything new. If all you're looking for is get down music, just pick up the two songs I noted as being so earlier as the rest of the record is most definitely not get downy, you know?

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