Sometimes, you just need a little something to get you over the hump of a difficult week. While I may not be able to articulate exactly what has made this week so difficult (more like let me count the ways, even if only at the halfway point), it’s been a struggle. If you’ve been struggling like I have, perhaps this clip of the Isley Brothers performing some of their rightfully beloved hits might be the balm your ravaged soul needs on this Hump Day—because who can put the hump in Hump Day like the Isley Brothers?
Now, it should be said that I have a special relationship with this group, if entirely of my own imagining. In fact, I even sampled “Between the Sheets” in my past life as a singer/songwriter. (Obviously, I’m far from the only one; Ron quips “I love it when you call me ‘Big Poppa’ at the performance’s open.) But as their songwriting contemporaries Ashford & Simpson noted, “Ain’t Nothing Like the Real Thing,” and I agree—ain’t nothing like hearing the Isleys revisit their own catalog. They open this stylized medley with “Between the Sheets,” and let’s just say: I want to go to there.
Then, there’s the fact that, as Ron Isley reminds us, Jimi Hendrix was an early guitarist in the Isleys’ backing band (along with none other than Little Richard). Nevertheless, Ernest Isley remains one of the most overlooked and enduring guitarists in the funk and R&B game. Add to that the fact that 80-year-old Ron has fully leaned into his whole bearded cat daddy phase—and we all know cat daddies have nine lives. With that in mind, I can say without hesitation: I’m here for it!
So, if you, like I, have found yourself struggling this week, give yourself 12 minutes and 53 seconds between the sheets with the still-sexy Isleys—and see if your Hump Day doesn’t exponentially improve.