It's not often in my limited experience that soul music has tried to deal with "issues". For every "What's Goin On" there must be ten thousand "Summer Breezes". And both songs are truly excellent. But when I think of soul music, I'm not thinking about social commentary or protest songs. Which is probably why the aforementioned Marvin Gaye song and this particular track always stick in my mind.
Maybe the message is made more seductive by the fabulous dance track beneath. Maybe it's the Isley Brothers' voices - right up there with Stevie Wonder's - that make it an insistent pleasure, a song that you can't help but move to. And the lyric - so simple, so clear, so powerful: "All babies together/Everyone a seed/Half of us are satisfied/Half of us in need/Love’s bountiful in us/Tarnished by our greed/Oh, when will there be/A harvest for the world."
Whatever the reason, this song works: it's one of the great almost-protest songs, a heartfelt plea sung so wonderfully that it's always been a SongWithoutWhich.