Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

The Isley Brothers: Brother, Brother, Brother [T-Neck, 1972]
Although the three Carole King songs seem a little tame after "Ohio" and "Cold Baloney," her simple messages fit the Isleys' lyrical-to-smarmy gospel credulousness quite neatly. But it's only on the three Isley originals that top off side one that this album makes itself felt, and interestingly enough none of them could be called "progressive": "Lay Away" and "Pop That Thang" are infectious groove tunes, while "Work to Do" is a compelling assertion of male prerogatives whose dire potential was presaged in 1969, when R.B. Greaves found himself forced to swap his wife for his secretary. Love and money, love and money--it's a polarity that tears you apart even more when they give you a (long) shot at both. B