Picks and Pans Review: Eternal
The Isley Brothers featuring Ronald Isley a.k.a. Mr. Biggs (Dream Works)
The title may not be an exaggeration: These Brothers are here to stay. Since forming in the '50s, the Isleys—now reduced to just lead singer Ronald and his guitarist sibling Ernie—have churned out such R&B hits as "It's Your Thing," "That Lady (Part 1)" and "Between the Sheets." They have also been judiciously sampled in rap and have influenced such contemporary soul men as R. Kelly, who got a hand from Ronald Isley on his 1996 hit "Down Low (Nobody Has to Know)."
Kelly returns the favor here on the single "Contagious," a vintage Isley Brothers slow jam on which Ronald adopts the Mr. Biggs gangster alter ego he introduced in the "Down Low" video. Elsewhere the Isleys get an assist from Jill Scott on the poetic "Said Enough," another of the disc's many dim-the-lights moments. But the Brothers are never upstaged by their guests; their patented vocal-guitar interplay highlights such tracks as "You're All I Need." They even make Chicago's "If You Leave Me Now" their own in a terrific seven-minute cover.
Bottom Line: The Isleys still have it
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