Friday, June 18, 2010
MARVIN ISLEY R.I.P.: ISLEY BROS. 1977 CONCERT REVIEW
Marvin Isley, (Aug. 18, 1953-June 6, 2010) one of the funkiest bass players ever to perform on stage and on recordings has passed away at the age of 56.
Along with his brothers Ronald (lead vocals, Rudolph (background vocals), Kelly (background vocals), Ernie( lead guitar, drums etc.), and brother-in-law Chris Jasper (keyboards) the ISLEY BROTHERS carved out a distinctive sound that has carried them to the top of the music world.
The Isley Brothers headlined a show in 1977 that featured opening act GRAHAM CENTRAL STATION with former SLY & THE FAMILY STONE bassist Larry Graham.
One of the funkiest acts in soul/rock music, Larry & co. blew the roof off the auditorium, laying down groove after groove to an enthusiastic audience! Just as they left the stage I thought to myself, "Anybody following this group is definitely in trouble!"
But...THE ISLEY BROTHERS PROVED ME WRONG! As soon as they hit the stage draped in their glitter and rhinestone jumpsuits the crowd went WILD and they hadn,t hit a NOTE YET!
The rising flood of song hits started with FIGHT THE POWER, then THE PRIDE, FOOTSTEPS IN THE DARK, VOYAGE TO ATLANTIS, HOPE YOU FEEL BETTER LOVE, WHO LOVE YOU BETTER and others!
Ronald stood mostly in one place belting out lead vocals while grabbing either a cowbell or maracas during one of Ernie,s many solos (stopped counting after 8) while O,Kelly laid down soulful background vocals.
Rudolph was an imposing figure as he pranced the stage back and forth (at one point proceeded to kick off his shoes and walked around in his stocking feet).
Brother-in law Chis Jasper showed his wizardry on the keyboards as he provided background vocals. Marvin stalked the stage back and forth during the fast paced songs, laying down some of the funkiest bass notes I,ve ever heard.
One of the highlights of the show was Ernie as he proved why he is one of the best (but underrated guitarists ) to hit a stage! The show stopper was their last song LIVIN THE LIFE/GO FOR YOUR GUNS With that the ISLEY BROTHERS left the stage in total TRIUMPH!
I had the great fortune of meeting them after the show and got to ask Ernie about how much he practiced. He told me "I used to practice all day every day, but I never practice NOW."
After listening to a few other fans ask him questions, I said thank you and nodded at Ronald as I left the room, meeting Chris waiting on the elevator
. He was in a robe and obviously very tired, heading downstairs to get something to eat in the hotel dining room. He signed a few autographs and went about his way.
I caught their show in 1981 which was in no comparison to this one; the songs were rushed; overblown production, and Rudolph howling like a fool until the audience started walking out. We stayed until the end but by that time, over half the place was empty.
Not one of their best shows for sure , but the ISLEY BROTHERS will always be one of the most FUNKIEST groups in soul music history!
REST IN PEACE O,KELLY AND MARVIN
- ▼ 2010 (2)