Winner Takes All was originally released as a two-album set, which reflected how popular the Isley Brothers were during this period of time. It features some rather lengthy but entertaining pieces. Ronald Isley's silky tenor remains untarnished throughout the album. "I Wanna Be with You" made its claim on the Billboard R&B charts, peaking at number one. "Winner Takes All" and "It's a Disco Night" followed in that order and only managed to reach numbers 38 and 27, respectively. Decent songs they are, but not as explosive as some of the Isley Brothers previously released up-tempo numbers. And as danceable as they, they come closer to good-listening songs. However, there are three solid ballads: "Let's Fall in Love," "How Lucky I Am" and "You're the Key to My Heart."
Bailey's first recorded solo performance in seven years is a splendid example of the guitarist at his finest. Two of the ten pieces are from a live concert, including an eerily attractive poetry recital by Bailey of Peter Riley's morbid "Dead She Dances." The other eight selections are short studio cuts. In all, this recording is what we have come to expect from Bailey: atonal swatches of sound, unique styling, changes in tempo, and astonishing creative splashes of acoustic guitar. Patterns emerge, dissolve, fade, and reappear, with the unexpected always the norm. Bailey's unique excursions might be compared to musical approximations of abstract expressionist art, with each number unfolding in unanticipated ways. While the highlight of this CD is Bailey's recital, in which he accompanies himself on guitar, there are plenty of wonderful moments on every track.
The queen's first album for Alligator, and still one of her very best to date. A tasty combo sparked by guitarists Mighty Joe Young and Sammy Lawhorn and saxist Abb Locke provide sharp support as the clear-voiced Taylor belts Bobby Saxton's "Trying to Make a Living," and Magic Sam's "That's Why I'm Crying," her own "Honkey Tonkey" and "Voodoo Woman," and Ruth Brown's swinging "Mama, He Treats Your Daughter Mean".