On this day in music history: August 7, 1973 – “3 + 3”, the eleventh album by The Isley Brothers is released. Produced by The Isley Brothers, it is recorded at The Record Plant in Los Angeles, CA from Early – Mid 1973. Enjoying a string of hits since “It’s Your Thing” in 1969, The Isley Brothers undergo significant changes in the new decade. Ronald, Rudolph and O’Kelly bring brothers Ernie, Marvin and brother-in-law Chris Jasper into the fold. The younger three first participate as backing musicians, becoming full time members upon completing their educations. The Isley’s label T-Neck signs with CBS Records, after their contract with Buddah Records ends at the end of 1972. Looking for assistance with their next album, The Isleys contact Robert Margouleff and Malcolm Cecil. The masterminds behind Tonto’s Expanding Head Band, the duo are also the catalysts behind Stevie Wonder’s innovative use of synthesizers during the 70’s. The band first meet the pair while working with Wonder, as they’re recording “Don’t You Worry ‘Bout A Thing”. The band ask the duo to work with them, with Margouleff and Cecil signing on to engineer their album, recording in Studio B at The Record Plant. Unhappy with the sound of Ernie Isley’s guitar, Malcolm Cecil introduces him to famed British electronics engineer Roger Mayer. Inventor of the Octavia effects pedal, Mayer is one of the architects behind Jimi Hendrix’s technical innovations. He plays a vital role in assisting Ernie in shaping his signature guitar sound. A mixture of originals and well chosen covers, The Isley Brothers record the album in only six weeks. It is led by a dramatic reworking of the band’s song “That Lady” (#2 R&B, #6 Pop), released on July 14, 1973. First recorded in 1964 as “Who’s That Lady?”, it is reinvented as an up tempo R&B/Rock groove, topped by Ernie’s epic solos. Its success marks the beginning of a new and hugely successful era for the veteran R&B band. The album spins off two more singles including “What It Comes Down To” (#5 R&B, #55 Pop), and a cover of Seals & Crofts’ “Summer Breeze” (#10 R&B, #60 Pop). “3 + 3” is also remixed and issued as a quadraphonic stereo LP and 8-track tape in 1974. Originally released on CD in 1990, it is remastered and reissued in 2003 with one additional bonus track. The quadraphonic mix is also reissued as a hybrid SACD in 2001 (also including the original stereo mix) which becomes a sought after collectible after it goes out of print. Unavailable on vinyl since the late 80’s, it is reissued as a 180 gram LP by Music On Vinyl in 2013, and as a limited edition blue vinyl pressing by Friday Music in 2014. The CD is remastered again in 2015 as part of the box set “The RCA Victor & T-Neck Album Masters (1959-1983)”, with nine additional bonus tracks. “3 + 3” peaks at number two on the Billboard R&B album chart, number eight on the Top 200, and is certified Platinum by the RIAA.
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