Thursday, January 28, 2010

Isley Brothers: That Lady

It’s TV Thursday and today’s feature is an Isley Brothers’ Top-10 hit from 1973: “That Lady.” I heard (and saw) today’s song this week as the latest tune to be used for the music of a Swiffer commercial. The song was an upgraded version of the a song that had be part of the Isley’s repertoire since 1963 – that was released as “Who’s That Lady” on the 1963 LP “Twisting and Shouting.”

This song represented a number of changes for the Isleys. It signaled the addition of younger brothers Ernie Isley and Marvin Isley and Marvin’s brother-in-law, Chris Jasper as becoming full-time instrumentalist members of a band that was led by older brothers O’Kelly, Rudolph, and Ronald Isley. It also was the first release on their T-Neck label’s new distribution contract with Epic Records and CBS.

The new sound with the screaming Hendrix influenced guitar of Ernie Isley with the Santanaesque percussion signaled a new sound for the 3+3 (3 older plus 3 younger members) period of the Isley Brothers. Ernie, who has never lived up to the reputation of being the next Hendrix, is a talented guitarist despite the connection to his mentor Hendrix.

Monikers such as the “next this or that” usually have a disastrous effect on the careers of those saddled with the reputation of someone else. Although, Ernie had the opportunity to learn from Hendrix, who lived with the Isley family for a few years, his own talent and sound stands on its own. Unfortunately, he has never been accorded the fame that matched his own talent.

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