“Groove With You” by The Isley Brothers (1978)

Hey! It’s the first instance I can think of in which the “A” and the “B” side of a 45 single appear on this list. “Footsteps In The Dark” was the flip side of “Groove With You”. I played the ever loving junk out of this 45 as a teenager.

Isley Brothers ballads went two ways. Either they were bedroom scorchers like “Between The Sheets” or “Don’t Say Goodnight (It’s Time For Love)”, or they were less explicit but still sensual jams. “Groove With You” falls squarely into the latter category. Ron Isley’s got his beg on, but he’s laying in the cut and vibing out. He’s not out to seduce per se; he wants to chill. Brother Ernie’s guitar licks hang languorously in the foreground as Ron sings. I bet (I hope?) that there’s an acoustic version of this that someday gets released.

In my late teens (1994-1995), Sony Music released a set of Isley Bros. compilations, segmenting the band’s style into two themes: Funky Family and Beautiful Ballads (there was a Beautiful Ballads Pt. 2 released years later). As much as the brothers could throw down a dance jam (and rocked out on occasion, too), the slow jams were always where the true magic was. I was addicted to that compilation for a while, and the best evidence of that addiction lies in the fact that so many songs that appear on it (including “Groove With You” and the songs hyperlinked above) are also on this list.

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