For the Love of You

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    "For the Love of You"

    [song written by the Isley Brothers]

    This latest Smooth Soul Survivor sums up just what the concept is meant to represent.  Not only is it a recording that has its origins deep in the soul music of the 70's, it has also been frequently covered by a variety of artists over a period now approaching thirty years.  It is the Isley Brothers composition ‘For the Love of You' that appeared on their 1975 album ‘The Heat Is On' and which made #10 in the USA R & B charts in the same year.

    Before going down the memory lane of ‘For The Love Of You' it is worth pausing to reflect upon the contribution that the Isley Brothers have made to soul and smooth jazz over a period now spanning forty years.

    "For the Love of You"

    [song written by the Isley Brothers]

    This latest Smooth Soul Survivor sums up just what the concept is meant to represent.  Not only is it a recording that has its origins deep in the soul music of the 70's, it has also been frequently covered by a variety of artists over a period now approaching thirty years.  It is the Isley Brothers composition ‘For the Love of You' that appeared on their 1975 album ‘The Heat Is On' and which made #10 in the USA R & B charts in the same year.

    Before going down the memory lane of ‘For The Love Of You' it is worth pausing to reflect upon the contribution that the Isley Brothers have made to soul and smooth jazz over a period now spanning forty years.

    The group is known to all who have a love for soul music and is broadly bracketed as a ‘Motown' act.  However, how many people realise that although the Isley Brothers signed to Motown in 1965, and had their smash hit ‘This Old Heart of Mine' while with them, this was their only major hit on the label and that, in 1969, they moved on to resuscitate the T-Bone label.

    Also perhaps not widely known is the fact that for a band that clearly revelled in moments of classic smooth music they had, during the mid sixties, a distinctly non smooth performer in their backing band.  This performer was Jimmy James who went on to cut his first solo records on the Isley's T-Cut label under the name by which he was to become famous, Jimi Hendrix.

    The Isley Brothers actually date back to the fifties.  Originally a quartet, the Isley's were reduced to a trio by the untimely death, in 1955, of Vernon Isley in a bicycling accident.  They scored a hit in 1959 with ‘Shout' and UK music fans will remember the cover version of this track by Lulu.  They went on to spend two years with RCA, made four singles with Atlantic where they worked with legendary producers Leiber and Stoller, and scored a hit with ‘Twist And Shout' on the Wand label.  The Beatles subsequently experienced great chart success with their cover version of the number.

    With the formation of T-Neck in 1969 the three older brothers invited guitarist Ernie Isley and bass player Marvin Isley to join the group together with brother in law and keyboard player Chris Jasper.  After being a vocal trio for many years the band was now a self contained unit and it was this combination of musicians who penned ‘For the Love of You'.

    Although in the mid seventies John Holt had offered the track his distinctive reggae feel on the album ‘1000 Volts of Holt' it was Earl Klugh that gave the track its first introduction to the smooth jazz genre, including it on his 1986 ‘Life Stories'.  This interpretation can also be found on Klugh's 1998 release ‘The Best of Earl Klugh' and the compilation ‘Best of Smooth Jazz Volume 2' of the same year.

    The soul - jazz altoist Hank Crawford covered it on his 1988 album ‘Night Beat' and light soul superstar Whitney Houston featured the number on her 1987 ‘Whitney'.

    Into the nineties and the credits continued to come thick and fast. First up was Kim Waters with his 1991 recording ‘Sax Appeal' quickly followed by Doc Powell on his 1992 release ‘Doctor'.

    1994 saw Larry Coryell gave it his treatment on ‘Ill Be Over You', Laverne Butler included it on his ‘Day Dreamin' album and Norman Brown provides one of the better versions on his CD ‘After The Storm'.  This Norman Brown example can also be found on the 1994 compilation ‘JazzFusions One', just one of four CD's in a highly recommended series from the UK based Beechwood Records.

    In 1995 it was Jason Weaver on his album ‘Luv Ambition' and then, in 1997, three more examples came along, Bryan Carter on ‘Whatever You Want', Charles Earland with ‘'Blowing Away The Blues' and sometime Van Morrison collaborator Candy Dulfer featured it on her self titled debut album.  This latter version itself became the subject of many compilation album appearances over the subsequent years.

    1998 found gospel rooted Gregory Owen put his own spin on it as part of his ‘Conversions' project.  In 2001, one of those new, two old albums on one new release kind of deals combined Lou Donaldson's ‘Different Scenes' and ‘Color As A Way Of Life'.  Within it was buried ‘For The Love Of You'.  In 2002 it was Grant Green on his ‘Introducing GG' and in 2003 David Garfield paid homage to it on ‘Giving Back'.

    The last year has shown no slowdown in the rush to cover this classic tune.  The excellent Regina Belle included it on ‘Lazy Afternoon', Boys 11 Men on ‘Throwback' and R & B band Frayne on their self titled release.

    That's what it's all about, almost thirty years and numerous covers versions.  Yet another excellent Smooth Soul Survivor.

    By Denis Poole

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