Wednesday morning grooves were apparently made for Ron Isley and the legendary Isley Brothers. With NPR’s Tiny Desk series still taking on a more intimate setting, the Isleys managed to incorporate decades of their long history into a 12-minute set featuring performances of “Between The Sheets,” “Footsteps In The Dark,” “For The Love Of You” and “That Lady.”
Shot in their home studio in St. Louis, Missouri, Ron, flanked by Ernie Isley and wife Kandy on background vocals, delivered the hits as well as gave stories to classic singles such as “That Lady.”
“It reminds me of going way back, when we had Jimi Hendrix living at the house and playing,” he said before introducing the song. “We went on to meet a young fellow by the name of Kendrick Lamar who sampled the record and we got a Grammy award for it.”
Over the Isleys’ seven decades in music, they remain one of the more oft-sampled bands in history as their 1983 quiet storm hit “Between The Sheets” has given way to The Notorious B.I.G.’s “Big Poppa” (a record Ron gave a hat tip to) as well as Da Brat’s “Funkdafied,” Aaliyah’s “Old School” and more. “Footsteps In The Dark” has the same register in music history, paving the way for Ice Cube’s “It Was A Good Day” and Usher’s “One Day You’ll Be Mine” from his My Way album. After enjoying a revitalization through Verzuz, the Isleys are still grooving, well into their now eighth decade as a unit.