Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

The Isley Brothers: Givin' It Back [T-Neck, 1971]
An exciting album in theory--cover versions by a genuinely "progressive" (at least self-contained) soul act of eight (mostly) excellent (mostly) rock songs. But only "Spill the Wine" (previously a progressive r&b hit), "Love the One You're With" (previously a progressive rock hit), and "Ohio" (no complaints) are exciting in practice. Ernie Isley just can't match Jimi's "Machine Gun," and soul is wasted on "Fire and Rain" and "Lay Lady Lay," which are more powerful in their understated originals. B