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THE ISLEY BROTHERS

Recordings WITH JIMI HENDRIX
In addition to the two original 45s alternate versions of the recordings that Jimi did with The Isley Brothers were released in 1971 on the lp In The Beginning. The lp does not present the songs as originally recorded, all tracks were re-mixed with the guitar as much to the fore as possible and some of the other instruments were mixed out. This of course wasn't the way that these tracks originally were meant to be heard, and the lp includes four tracks that do not have Hendrix playing on them: "The Last Girl", "Looking For A Love", "Simon Says" & "Wild As A Tiger" (see the "Other 1964-1965 Recordings" -section).

Also, it's possible that the alternate vocal takes with alternate lyrics were done in 1971 and are not original 1964-65 recordings.

The album is however well worth getting for the "Move Over And Let Me Dance" instrumental mix alone, this is a wonderful example of Hendrix playing rhythm.


THE SONGS
For some of the instruments on the tracks released on the lp it's hard to say weather they were mixed low, or entirely out and what can be heard of them is only leakage from the other instrument tracks. I've just listed all of these as "mixed low".


TESTIFY

Composers: Ronald Isley, Rudolph Isley & O'Kelly Isley
Arranged by: ?
Recorded at: unknown studio, New York City, New York
Engineer: ?
Producer: ?
Date: early 1964
Bass: unknown
Drums: unknown
Organ: unknown
Guitar: Jimi Hendrix
Vocals: Ronald Isley, Rudolph Isley & O'Kelly Isley
Horns: unknown

Take 1
This is the original single version, a mono mix split in two for the 45.

Available on:
7" The Isley Brothers: "Testify (part I) / (part II)" (T-Neck 45-501)
Cd The Isley Brothers: Volume 1: Rockin' Soul (1959 - 68) (Rhino R2 70908)

Take 2
A different take with different lyrics released on the lp In The Beginning. The track seems to fade out in the middle and come back in, perhaps done to simulate the break in the original version (Take 1), but it's actually two mixes of the same track back to back, not one complete song. First part until the fade-out in the middle of the lp version is listed here as Mix 1, this is a mix of the full length Take 2. The second part is a incomplete composite that begins at 3.02 into the lp track, listed as Mix 2.

Take 2 - Mix 1
Basically a mono mix, only the backing vocals are really in stereo and panned from left to right, all the instrumentation and lead vocals are in the middle.

Available on:
Lp The Isley Brothers: In The Beginning (T-Neck TNS-3007)
Cd The Isley Brothers: The Complete RCA Victor & T-Neck Album Masters (1959-1983) (Tneck / Epic / Legacy / Sony Music 88875043972)
Download (aiff / alac / flac / wav 96/24 sample rate) The Isley Brothers: In The Beginning

Take 2 - Mix 2
After Mix 1 fades out, the band comes back in at 3.02 into the lp track. First column of the table below lists the parts of the track that were used from the complete track, second column lists the corresponding parts of mix 2 and the differences to mix 1. Timings are taken from the complete lp track.

Complete track
(mix 1)
mix 2
0.50 - 1.49 3.02 - 4.00 very short bit of guitar at the start mixed out on mix 1 is present here, vocals before the guitar solo mixed are out on this version.
2.43 - 2.57 4.00 - 4.13 last line of vocals fades out and has no echo added.

Available on:
Lp The Isley Brothers: In The Beginning (T-Neck TNS-3007)
Cd The Isley Brothers: The Complete RCA Victor & T-Neck Album Masters (1959-1983) (Tneck / Epic / Legacy / Sony Music 88875043972)
Download (aiff / alac / flac / wav 96/24 sample rate) The Isley Brothers: In The Beginning

So neither mix of Take 2 is 100% complete, and both have the organ & horn parts mixed low. The last line of the vocals is drowned out in echo on mix 1, and cuts out on mix 2, so could be that the take was actually incomplete.

MOVE OVER AND LET ME DANCE
Composers: Ronald Isley, Rudolph Isley & O'Kelly Isley
Arranger: Teacho Wilshire
Conductor: Teacho Wilshire
Recorded at: Atlantic Studios, New York City, New York
Engineer: ?
Producer: "A T-Neck Production"
Date: 5 August 1965
Bass: Al Lucas
Drums: James Brown and/or Bobby Gregg
Lead guitar: Jimi Hendrix
Rhythm guitar: Douglas McArthur and/or Carl Lynch
Tambourine: unknown
Vocals: Ronald Isley, Rudolph Isley & O'Kelly Isley
Trumpet: Jimmy Nottingham, Eddie Williams
Trombone: Quentin Jackson, Dickie Harris
Tenor sax: Seldon Powell
Baritone sax: Haywood Henry

Take 1
This is the original single version, a mono mix released on the original 45.

Available on:
7" The Isley Brothers: "Move Over And Let Me Dance / Have You Ever Been Disappointed" (Atlantic 45-2303 ), Cd The Isley Brothers: Volume 1: Rockin' Soul (1959 - 68) (Rhino R2 70908)

Take 2 - Mix 1
Horns mixed low, rhythm guitar, lead & backing vocals mixed out, in stereo.
This is the same backing track, but with lots of guitar parts by Hendrix that were mixed out on Take 1, with a different vocal take with different lyrics, and about 3 seconds longer at the end. This is cross-faded with the next track on the lp, "Have You Ever Been Disappointed".

Available on:
Lp The Isley Brothers: In The Beginning (T-Neck TNS-3007)
Cd The Isley Brothers: The Complete RCA Victor & T-Neck Album Masters (1959-1983) (Tneck / Epic / Legacy / Sony Music 88875043972)
Download (aiff / alac / flac / wav 96/24 sample rate) The Isley Brothers: In The Beginning

Take 2 - Mix 2
Instrumental mix, this is the same as Take 2 - Mix 1 just now a instrumental mix without the vocals and a clean fade at the end.

Available on:
Lp The Isley Brothers: In The Beginning (T-Neck TNS-3007)
Cd The Isley Brothers: The Complete RCA Victor & T-Neck Album Masters (1959-1983) (Tneck / Epic / Legacy / Sony Music 88875043972)
Download (aiff / alac / flac / wav 96/24 sample rate) The Isley Brothers: In The Beginning


HAVE YOU EVER BEEN DISAPPOINTED

Composers: Ronald Isley, Rudolph Isley & O'Kelly Isley
Arranger: Teacho Wilshire
Conductor: Teacho Wilshire
Recorded at: Atlantic Studios, New York City, New York
Engineer: ?
Producer: "A T-Neck Production"
Date: 5 August 1965
Bass: Al Lucas
Drums: James Brown and/or Bobby Gregg
Piano: Paul Griffin
Lead guitar: Jimi Hendrix
Rhythm guitar: Douglas McArthur and/or Carl Lynch
Tambourine: unknown
Vocals: Ronald Isley, Rudolph Isley & O'Kelly Isley
Trumpet: Jimmy Nottingham, Eddie Williams
Trombone: Quentin Jackson, Dickie Harris
Tenor sax: Seldon Powell
Baritone sax: Haywood Henry

Take 1
This is the original single version, a mono mix released on the original 45.

Available on:
7" The Isley Brothers: "Move Over And Let Me Dance / Have You Ever Been Disappointed" (Atlantic 45-2303)

Take 2
A different and much longer take with different lyrics, rhythm guitar mixed out, piano & horns mixed low, in stereo.

The alternate lyrics on the lp version of the song are completely different to the original single version and include quotes from at least two well known songs.

First there is a reference to "Drown In My Own Tears", written by Henry Glover and recorded by many artists but probably most famously by Ray Charles. At 0.18 the Isley Brothers -lyrics include the lines:

"Into each life
some rain must fall
Sometimes I get that feeling
too much has fallen in mine"

While in "Drown In My Own Tears" Ray sings:

"I know it`s true
Mhh, into each life
Oh some rain,
rain must pour
Mhh, so blue
here without you
It keeps raining
more and more"

The flipside of the Ray Charles and his Band 45 "Drown In My Own Tears / Mary Ann" (Atlantic 45-1085, released in January / February 1956) later inspired a Hendrix song. Billy Cox mentioned "Mary Ann", (composed by Ray Charles), in the book "Ultimate Hendrix": 2
"'Power Of Soul' came together when Jimi heard me playing a riff from 'Mary Ann', an old song Ray Charles used to do," explains Cox. "I hadn`t meant anything by playing it. I was just goofing around. But that was all he needed to get started."

Secondly, the alternate "Have You Ever Been Disappointed" -lyrics also quote "Eleanor Rigby" by the Beatles, of course written by Lennon - McCartney and released in the USA on the single "Yellow Submarine / Eleanor Rigby" (Capitol Records 5715) 8 August 1966. 3

The Beatles` single came out almost exactly a year after the Isley Brothers originally recorded "Have You Ever Been Disappointed". So it would have been impossible for the Isley Brothers to quote the Beatles song in 1965, which in turn suggests that the new lyrics and vocal were done after July 1966, very likely in 1971 when the lp was compiled.

The Isley Brothers at 1.11:

"All of the lonely people, ehh yeah
where do we all come from?"

And the Beatles:

"All the lonely people,
Where do they all come from?"

Available on:
Lp The Isley Brothers: In The Beginning (T-Neck TNS-3007)
Cd The Isley Brothers: The Complete RCA Victor & T-Neck Album Masters (1959-1983) (Tneck / Epic / Legacy / Sony Music 88875043972)
Download (aiff / alac / flac / wav 96/24 sample rate) The Isley Brothers: In The Beginning

 
FEELS LIKE THE WORLD
The Isley Brothers have made intriguing references to originally writing and performing a song titled "Feels Like The World" with Jimi Hendrix circa 1964 - 1965.

"Feels Like The World" was first released on the Isley Brothers lp It's Our Thing (T-Neck 3001) in April 1969 8 (but titled "Feel Like The World" without the "s"). A few months later, a bit oddly, the track was released again on the album The Brothers: ISLEY (T-Neck 3002) on 21 August 1969. 5 This time around the track was titled "Feel" on the front of the sleeve but "Feels" on the back of the sleeve and on the labels...

The It's Our Thing album was reviewed in Cash Box issue 19 April 1969:
"The Isley Brothers' TOP 5 "It's Your Thing" disk brought the trio back on the record scene with a bang, and their follow-up album (the best Isley set yet) should keep them hot. Many of the tunes here stem from ideas and lines in "It's Your Thing," and the set has unusual unity. "I Know Who You've Been Socking It To," "I Must Be Losing My Touch" and "Give The Women What They Want" are first-draw. Album should be in for progressive rock as well as R&B play."

The album The Brothers: ISLEY was reviewed in the 20 September 1969 issue of Cash Box (but even though the review states this was the first Isleys lp on T-Neck it was in fact, of course, their second):
"The isley Brothers come off strong on their first album for their own label. The set, which was totally written, arranged and produced by the three brothers, contains their recent hit, "I Turned You On," and their current hit, "Black Berries." The album should hit the charts soon."

The first mention of "Feels Like The World" in connection with Jimi that I have been able to find comes from 1971. The Democrat And Chronicle in Rochester published an Isley Brothers concert review and wrote:
"They sang "Sometimes I wonder," ("feels like the world is closing in on me") in dedication to Jimi Hendrix, who played on the bill with the Isleys at Monterey in 1967."

This was a review of an Isley Brothers concert in Rochester the previous night 25 September 1971 which was very close to the first anniversary of Jimi's passing. Unfortunately it's impossible to tell from the review whether the Isleys had already been playing the song as a dedication for a longer period of time or if they had just recently started to dedicate it to Jimi.

The song is mentioned again in 1972 in a syndicated "Words 'n' Chords" -column published in several newspapers circa October:
"In 1964 brothers Ronnie, Rudolph, and O'Kelly discovered a young guitarist from Seattle and brought him into the band. The guy's name? Jimi Hendrix. One of the group's big numbers at the time was "Feels Like the World," and they still do that song from time to time in concert as a tribute to Jimi."
4

And finally, the 12 October 1973 issue of the Pittsburgh Press published an interview with O'Kelly Isley where he mentioned "Feels Like The World", so far the last reference to the song by the Isleys in connection with Jimi that I have been able to find:
"We talked about their earlier days. "In those days we had Jimi Hendrix with us. The combination was just right, and wherever we played the place rocked. Jimi was with us for three years. His death was a great loss to music and to each of us personally. We still play 'The World Is Closing In On Me' which we wrote with Jimi. Matter of fact, Ronnie does a great vocal imitation of Jimi. He also does a wonderful imitation of Ray Charles. The audiences seem to like that touch.""

So, between 1971 - 1973 (and possibly earlier and later...) the Isley Brothers performed "Feels Like The World" at concerts as a tribute to Jimi Hendrix, and stated that they had originally written and performed the song with Jimi Hendrix.

The 1969 album credits, however, make no mention of this, instead crediting the song to "R.Isley; O.Isley; R.Isley". As does the 1969 copyright registration: 7

FEELS LIKE THE WORLD; w & m R. Isley,
O. Isley & R. Isley. 2p. C Triple
Three Music, Inc.; 7Apr69; EU108889.

The music business being what it is claims of this sort about a deceased musician's supposed involvement in something always arise suspicion. I do however believe that the statements that the Isley Brothers made were done in good faith and that they did recall that Jimi was in some way involved in the evolution of the song. As the band themselves seem to have had problems remembering the song's exact title it may have been something that started as one thing and evolved into another.

The statements about Jimi's involvement all seem to have been made years after the 1969 lp came out and concerned the band playing the song live - there wasn't any product to sell by claiming that Jimi would be on it (the band already had an album of Hendrix recordings out) and nobody claimed that Jimi would have been playing on the actual released recording of "Feels Like The World".

So this wasn't a marketing ploy to shift more units of a new album. Also adding believability to the claim is the fact that another song on the The Brothers: ISLEY album, "My Little Girl", is a re-recording of a song that the Isleys had recorded and released in 1964. So the band may well have been looking back at older numbers when putting the 1969 albums together.

Then again the In The Beginning lp included several tracks from the correct time period, when Jimi was (on and off) in the band, but with no Hendrix playing on them. So the band's memories about recording sessions can't really be fully trusted.

I myself do believe that there is something here so I'm hoping that including this information on the website will help someone find a later live version of the song, or perhaps some more in depth quotes from the band. Unfortunately if there would have been any kind of studio / demo / live -recordings made of "Feels Like The World" with Jimi on guitar then surely they would have surfaced by now?

So, there isn't a note of music played by Jimi on the released version of the song but to my ears it is easy to IMAGINE him playing it. The guitar part is prominent and very close to something Jimi might have played circa 1965. In any case, regardless of whether Jimi Hendrix had anything to do with "Feels Like The World" or not it is a beautiful song and worth a listen:



The track was also in September 1969 released by Baby Cortez on the lp The Isley Brothers Way (T-Neck TNS 3005). This was a whole album's worth of Isley Brothers songs as instrumental versions, most or all of them done using the original backing tracks with Dave "Baby" Cortez overdubbing an organ part on top.



And finally the song was released one more time on the B-side of the 45 David "Baby" Cortez - "Inflation / Feels Like The World" (T-Neck TN 925).

COVER VERSIONS AND IMITATIONS
The Ronald isley vocal imitations which O'Kelly mentioned were of course nothing new for the Isleys, see the song "Testify". Embedded below is a video of a live performance by the Isley Brothers, filmed for "Don Kirshner's Rock Concert" in New York City in 1973.6 The clip begins with a medley of "Ohio / Machine Gun" (CSN&Y / Band of Gypsys). Then the band performs "It's Too Late" and this song includes Ronald Isley's Ray Charles -imitation starting at 12.53. Unfortunately I haven't yet found any recordings of Ronald's Jimi Hendrix -imitation...







SOURCES
1 The single featured as part of a full page ad of Atlantic releases in Billboard issue 4 February 1956

2 "Ultimate Hendrix" by John McDermott, Eddie Kramer and Billy Cox, page 160.

3 Cash Box 6 August 1966 -issue reported:
"Coinciding with the arrival of the Beatles in this country will be the domestic release, by Capitol, of their all-new album titled "Revolver." It will contain 11 Beatle penned tunes including their new single, "Yellow Submarine"/"Eleanor Rigby," due for release on Aug. 8."

4 published in several newspapers, text quoted here comes from Chicago Tribune 1 October 1972 which may have been the earliest printed.

5 According to the copyright information provided by Sony for the official YouTube -clip of the song the album was released on 21 August 1969:

Provided to YouTube by Epic/Legacy
Feels Like the World · The Isley Brothers
The Brothers: Isley
℗ Orignally recorded 1969. All rights reserved by Sony Music Entertainment
Released on: 1969-08-21

Buddah Records, the distributor of T-Neck, announced three Isley Brothers and related T-Neck lps in one go at a convention in Laurels Hotel And Country Club, Sackett Lake, New York in late August 1969. These were released as follows:

LP The Isley Brothers - The Brothers: ISLEY (T-Neck TNS 3002) USA August 1969
LP The Isley Brothers - Live At Yankee Stadium (T-Neck TNS 3004) USA September 1969
LP Baby Cortez - The Isley Brothers Way (T-Neck TNS 3005) USA September 1969

Cash Box 2 August 1969:
"A record number of album releases (26), new artist and label distribution deals will be unveiled at Buddah Records national sales convention Aug, 25-28 in upstate New York at the Laurel's Country Club."

Cash Box 6 September 1969:
"[...] no one attending the meeting in this city last week will ever forget the show that was seen at the Laurels Hotel on Sunday night, the opening evening of the Convention. [...] After an opening turn by Kole and Param and a hot set by Motherlode, the Impressions closed the show but not before the Isley Brothers, called onto the stage by the Impressions and a cheering audience, completely turned the room inside-out with a twenty minute gang version of "Shout."

Note that the advertised first day of the convention, 25 August 1969, was a Monday, not a Sunday so one of these two Cash Box pieces seems to have an incorrect date.

Cash Box 20 September 1969:
"The Isley Brothers' Buddah-distributed T-Neck Records operation moves into its second six months of business with the release of four new albums. [...] "Live At Yankee Stadium" [...] "Baby Cortez The Isley Brothers' Way."

The lp The Brothers: ISLEY was reviewed in the 20 September 1969 issue of Cash Box:
"The isley Brothers come off strong on their first album for their own label. The set, which was totally written, arranged and produced by the three brothers, contains their recent hit, "I Turned You On," and their current hit, "Black Berries." The album should hit the charts soon."

The review included a photo of a copy of the lp with a promo only -sticker so the records had already been pressed at the time of the review. The 21 August 1969 release date given by Sony would thus seem reliable as it must be based on some sort of a business record / book keeping.

6 The footage originates from a syndicated "Don Kirshner's Rock Concert" broadcast from 1973, filmed at the Palace Theatre in New York City, New York. Clips of the Isleys from this gig were probably used in more than one broadcast in the series. Full shows don't seem to be easily available for viewing so I haven't yet found an exact broadcast date ie which songs were used for which broadcast.

7 Library of Congress Copyright Office
Catalog of Copyright Entries 1969 Music Jan-June 3D Series Vol 23 Pt 5 Secs 1-2

8 the album was reviewed in Cash Box issue 19 April 1969:
"The Isley Brothers' TOP 5 "It's Your Thing" disk brought the trio back on the record scene with a bang, and their follow-up album (the best Isley set yet) should keep them hot. Many of the tunes here stem from ideas and lines in "It's Your Thing," and the set has unusual unity. "I Know Who You've Been Socking It To," "I Must Be Losing My Touch" and "Give The Women What They Want" are first-draw. Album should be in for progressive rock as well as R&B play."

A news item mentioning the release of a "tape cartridge" ie 4- and 8-track tapes of the album was published  in Cash Box 3 May 1969. The album entered the Billboard "TOP LP'S" chart for week ending May 5, 1969 at number 104 in Billboard issue 3 May 1969.