The Isley Brothers have been doing the damn thing for nearly six decades and they show no signs of stopping. With a career spanning so much time, you’d be hard-pressed to find someone who doesn’t know a selection or 20 from their expansive catalog. It’s only right, then, that when the group finally made an appearance on NPR Music’s Tiny Desk (Home) Concert series that they dug in their crates. The Isleys chose four songs from their catalog — “Between The Sheets,” “Footsteps In The Dark,” “For The Love Of You” and “That Lady” — that are perhaps the most covered/sampled of their many hits.
Ron Isley started the show by acknowledging the fact that “Between The Sheets” was used for Notorious B.I.G.‘s “Big Poppa” as the band weaved a bit of that song’s sound into the mix and he said, “I love it when you call me Big Poppa.” That flowed straight into “Footsteps In The Dark,” which they again incorporated with a little bit of the sound of a song that sampled it (in this case, Ice Cube‘s “Today Was A Good Day”). They played “For The Love Of You” pretty straightforward. Though the rasp that age has added to Ron’s voice brings out a slightly different feel than the sweet falsetto of years past, the track still hits the romantic sweet spot it did since we first heard it. Ron toom the time to show us the longevity of the band, linking the song to both Jimi Hendrix (who played guitar on an early version of the track) and Kendrick Lamar (who sampled it for the GRAMMY-winning “i”), before ripping into the song like it was 1973 all over again.
The timelessness of The Isley Brothers still endures and this performance — along with their recent single “Friends And Family” — proves that their legacy will continue to stand the test of time.