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'Baby Makin' Music' Lives Up to Isleys' Billing

The Isley Brothers' members make mood music for special occasions.
The Isley Brothers' members make mood music for special occasions.

The Isley Brothers' new album, Baby Makin' Music, doesn't aspire to much more than its title suggests, but after an astonishing half-century in existence, the group continues to earn its status as R&B royalty. The group has survived immense cultural changes and its own stylistic hairpin turns over the years: Its classic catalog includes gritty R&B, Motown soul, blistering funk and quiet-storm pillow-talk jams.

For all of its slowly gyrating seductiveness, "Gotta Be With You" serves as the hot centerpiece of an album that delivers on the promise and premise of its title. Sultry and soulful, Ronald Isley's falsetto remains commandingly rich and intoxicating, while Ernie Isley's sinewy guitar work propels this slow jam, which also features bonus rapping by Jermaine Dupri. If there's a Baby Boom in early 2007, this song — and the legends responsible for it — will go a long way toward explaining the phenomenon.

Listen to yesterday's 'Song of the Day.'

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Bruce Warren is assistant general manager for programming of WXPN in Philadelphia. Besides serving as executive producer of World Café, Warren also contributes to Paste magazine and writes for two blogs: and WXPN's .

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