Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Ernie Isley High Wire 1990

Ernie Isley, a talented young Jimi Hendrix disciple, was the hot guitarist on all those excellent Isley Brothers seventies records (Who's That Lady, Live It Up!, etc.). He continued to record with the Isleys into the eigthies, and later with Isley/Jasper/Isley, and then again with Ronald Isley in the ninties. In 1990, he made this, his only solo effort. I don't think that many people heard it.

The record kicks off with Song For The Muses, a wailing funk guitar workout. Then the title track is one of those slinky sneaky funk jams that the Isleys were still capable of in the eighties. Later, Ernie shreds his axe on She Takes Me Up, which also has a classic funk bass line. Back To Square One rocks hard, and again features Isley's guitar in an impressive display.

Not everything works perfectly. There's a couple of sappy love songs. But most of what's here holds up darn well. Ernie's voice isn't Ronald's, far from it, but he's a passable singer at least, and occasionally gets soulful. But what you're here for is funk-rock of the highest order, and there are some choice slabs of guitar-heavy funk, and some gloriously deep grooves, that, if you like that kind of thing, are well worth your time. There's at least three that will make it to any great party playlist.

Get down. The only question left to answer now is if badself is one word or two (bad self).

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