Hackskeptic’s 500 Greatest Songs: The Isley Brothers – That Lady


221 – The Isley Brothers – That Lady (1973)
Written by The Isley Brothers
Produced by Ronald Isley and Rudolph Isley
Label – T-Neck/Epic

The radical shift for many soul acts that were popular in the 60s was to relinquish the sweetly string drenched sounds for a stripped down, harder, rock influenced edge. This 1973 recording is a perfect example of how a band can successfully augment a new style and yet maintain the sumptuous tunes and tight grooves. The full time introduction of younger brothers Ernie (guitar) and Marvin (bass) Isley and cousin Chris Jasper (keyboards) to the fold adds a fresh dynamic and a realisation that the older siblings could count on a level of instrumental originality to complement their obvious vocal skills. Ernie Isley’s dominating licks bear an uncanny resemblance to the skilled grandeur of Santana, even Hendrix. Chris Jasper’s keyboard embellishments disprove the thought that Stevie Wonder was the only black artist who was experimenting with new sonic textures. The re-recording of “That Lady”, a song that had been in the Isley Brothers back catalogue for 10 years is incredible in its originality. The extended jam and Ernie Isley’s ecstatic lead gives the song a remarkable resonance that invents new silks from old threads.


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