I”ll Be Home For Christmas (released October 9, 2007)
A friend passed this along late last year, but I only recently had the opportunity to give it a full listen. Knowing what a R&B junkie I am, he figured it would be right up might alley.
He was right – sorta.
The Isleys are a timeless group, with hits stretching way back to the early 70s. To put that into perspective for our younger readers, that was nearly 10 years before T-Pain was brought into the world. What a wonderful world that must have been.
Anyway, after years of seducing the ladies, Ron and Ernie Isley have turned their attention to the yuletide season, covering nearly all your favorite tunes.
The problem is, something just seems wrong with Mr. Biggs caroling. Vocally, he sounds up to par on famous songs like “Winter Wonderland” and “I’ll Be Home For Christmas” but it just doesn’t put you in the holiday spirit. Imagine his trademark “La da da da da daaaaaas” and “look-a here, bay-bays” scattered throughout “Santa Claus is Coming To Town” and you’ll see what I mean. It makes him sound like a broke lounge singer.
But Ron is in his element when he reverts back to his creepy old sugar daddy persona. “I’m In Love” has absolutely NOTHING to do with Christmas (except an ad-lib about wanting to be some lady’s Santa at the end of the song) but it’s classic Isley, and that’s cool with me. Same goes for “What Can I Buy You” – they might as well have released that song on Arbor Day. It has no link to the holiday at all, but you won’t care once Ernie starts going nuts on the guitar.
Isley fans definitely should download those two tracks. As far as I know, Ron is still in the slammer for tax evasion – I’m sure he’ll appreciate the 99 cent purchases. Maybe he can get a couple boxes of those Keith Sweat McNuggets when he gets out.
Maybe years of listening to Donny Hathaway and Nat King Cole has tainted our ears, but the Isleys can’t even come close to the Christmas classics. Sorry, Mr. Biggs, “Silent Night” is the sole property of the Temptations.
Best tracks: “What Can I Buy You,” “I’m In Love,” “I’ll Be Home For Christmas”
3 stars out of 5