Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Sly & Family Stone|
Genres: Pop, R&B, Classic Rock
First, a sigh of exasperated relief--exasperation because it's taken a needlessly long time to get Sly and the Family Stone's catalog remastered and properly reissued. From the band's 1967 debut, A Whole New Thing through ... more »
First, a sigh of exasperated relief--exasperation because it's taken a needlessly long time to get Sly and the Family Stone's catalog remastered and properly reissued. From the band's 1967 debut, A Whole New Thing through their 1974 swan song, Small Talk, the shifting band indulged everything from the long horn lines, fast rhythms, and quickly unmistakable urgent delivery of "Turn Me Loose," with its rapid, jerking funk rhythms and quick, sharp horn blasts, to the chilled groove, string backing, and slinky guitar on "Say You Will." In between there's an embarrassment of riches: The 1968 one-two punch of Dance to the Music's title track and "Higher" introduces a gleaming exuberance; everyone wants to get higher and dance, but slowly the tune titles and funky whimsy of tunes like "Chicken," "Love City," "Fun," and the sheer musical cheer of "Harmony," show that Sly's bridge from hard-hitting funk riffage to more rock, more pop got mixed up with significantly new commercial heights (and larger narcotic appetites) and, simultaneously, more instability and simmering fury. By 1969, Sly's newness was transformed, with Stand!'s "Don't Call Me Nigger, Whitey" snarl and droning organ and wah-wah guitar aplenty. The full-on blast of harmonica, fuzz guitars, and horns that opens "I Want to Take You Higher" just cemented the claim: Music would unite and fight and kick and get you high. The mega-hit "Everyday People" almost seems an anomaly in this company, a breezy harmony vocal backing, simple piano framing, reaching horn lines, and a churchy chorus. It's the biggest hit here, a true pop gem. Then there's "Sing a Simple Song" and its scouring, wordless shouts, a heavy beat backed by multiple voices half-atop each other, horn riffs jetting across guitar riffs, and an abrupt, scrambling end. It's a tight and tough embrace, an open door. It's 1969. Then a dystopian haze turns full-force for There's a Riot Goin' On. By 1971, Sly had his Hollywood mansion and legions of droppers-by laying down parts of Riot. The result is entrancing, backed often by an austere, early drum machine and featuring dope-glazed vocals, paranoid shadows and, of course, a stewing funk groove. Horns are here, thinned out so they jab harder, and the keyboards gleam and shimmer and icily coat the beats, which sound in today's parlance simply lo-fi. And the beats, they've slowed menacingly, with voices dropping in, dropping out. Drugs were flowing freely by this point, complicating Sly's sound, inadvertently making an album that matches its maker's psyche-in-time indelibly. Once 1973's Fresh emerges, the austere, haunted glaze happens beneath slow-stewing grooves, as on the seemingly frivolous "Frisky," where the drums and keys and horns are enmeshed tightly, showing barely any sonic separation. The great bassist Larry Graham had left the Family by now, replaced by Rusty Allen, whose bass pops up as framing, while the vocals go lean and languid, turning to moans and melismatic blurs as the groove stirs. "If You Want Me to Stay" is a highlight, and the album is deeply funky even while reaching across the divide toward pop (rather than the '60s albums bridges to psychedelic rock, which proved itself pragmatically limited for the more intensely rebellious public as the Vietnam War and Watergate sent long social shadows). As for Small Talk, it's the least ambitious, most settled session. The sounds are gorgeous in the new remastered form, making a new case for Small as a worthy bookend on your Sly shelf. Yes, he burned brighter and hotter and more furiously. It's still the same nervy mix, dramatic and intense. --Andrew Bartlett
AWESOME!!! I CAN'T STAND THE JOY!!!
PiggyAlice | 04/11/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Yeah, I Know those 3 amazing tracks are missing, and yes, it is a mistake. But What you got here is an incredible boxset with the first seven Sly & The Family Stone Records!!! Go for ANY Greatest hits for those songs, i would recommend "the Essential" which also contains the song "High On You" which is ultra-funky. And that collection aint really expensive for 2 excelent cds, even if you have this boxset. Besides is a good introduction to the band.
I MEAN COME ON!!! I BEEN PRAYING FOR THIS BOXSET TO SEE THE LIGHT OF THE DAY. AND NOW, IN A SINGLE PURCHASE YOU CAN HAVE 7 MASTERPIECES OF 20TH CENTURY MUSIC. EVERY SINGLE SONG ON THIS BOXSET IS UP THERE WITH THE MUSIC OF DUKE ELLINGTON, FRANK ZAPPA, MILES DAVIS, GEORGE CLINTON, CHARLIE PARKER AMONG MANY OTHERS (MOST OF THEM SEMI-FORGOTTEN LIKE SLY)
But trust me, this box isn't everything you need from sly and the family stone. If you like this stuff, you have to go for the "sly Stone" album "High On You" which is GREAT, but so under rated, and "Back on the right track", "Heard you missed me" and "Ain't But the One Way" which are really good, dont listen to the fools who say those arent worth the price. They worth a lot more. Even "Seventh Son" if you're a completist.
Let's push for a live record because we REALLY need that. And The DVD. This generation gotta get to understand the genius of this music. I know that, because i'm only 19 years, and i'm south american, from Colombia, and yes i'm kinda new to sly's music but i know this stuff will never let me see music the same way again.
IT'S SO DINAMIC, CREATIVE, PASSIONATE, FUNKY, HEART-BREAKING, ALL AT THE SAME TIME. NOTHING NOWDAYS COME EVEN CLOSE TO WHAT YOU'RE ABOUT TO HEAR IF YOU BUY THIS BOXSET. DONT DOWNLOAD SOME SONGS. SEARCH DEEP IN YOUR POCKET. SAVE THE MONEY NEEDED. DONT SPENT EATING. THIS WILL BE YOUR FOOD. AT LEAST THIS IS MINE. RIDE ON SLY!!!!! YOU KNOW YOU'RE THE BEST!.
This "Collection" is missing KEY tracks!
E. Harl | 04/11/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This set could easily have been five stars. A one-stop shop for all your Sly & the Family Stone needs. But for some reason, they decided to omit three songs:
1 - Hot Fun in the Summertime
2 - Everybody is a Star
3 - Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)
Really, they couldn't have added these to the end of "Stand!"? And what really hurts is I found this out after paying 50 bucks and tax for it. There was no tracklist on the box itself, but I naturally assumed these would be included. I'm still shaking my head in disbelief."
So much great material, but not quite as complete as it coul
Michael Stack | North Chelmsford, MA USA | 05/18/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This boxed set makes progress towards rectifying the sad state of the Sly & the Family Stone catalog-- a band that's pretty much fallen off the radar, the enormous influence that Sly Stone and his musicians had on music can't be underestimated. From their peers coming out of San Francisco to the fusion movement that kicked off a few years after their first records (Miles Davis was a huge fan) to pretty much all funk, soul, r&b and hip-hop music since these records, Sly Stone laid out the blueprint for much of modern music.
"Collection" draws together the band's first seven albums, all remastered with bonus tracks, reprinting of the original liner notes and a new liner notes essay, with each CD packaged in a digipack and housed in a sturdy slipcase style box. There's nothing in here that's not on the individually reissued CDs that followed this release by a couple weeks, so if you're wanting all of these, price should be your gating factor as to whether or not to go with the box or the individual CDs (unless you really want the slipcase...). The remastering done here is top notch-- everything sounds crisp and clear and the depth of the music really gets a chance to shine. The bonus tracks by and large alternate versions, different mixes, a couple early recordings, and a seemingly endless array of instrumental pieces. Some of them are fantastic ("Fresh" seems to have the best), for the most part they're more interesting than essential.
The music itself... if you're not familiar, this is the blueprint. As I've started listening to Sly & the Family Stone only recently, I'm amazed how oddly familiar and yet how unique this material can be. Sly Stone was definitely the mastermind here, writing, producing and singing most the leads as well as contributing primarily on organ (among other instruments), with the first integrated band, featuring women in instrumental roles rather than simply as backing vocalists and both white and black musicians. Brother Freddie Stone (guitar and vocals), sister Rose Stone (keyboards and vocals), Cynthia Robinson (trumpet) and Jerry Martini (saxophones) and vocal group Little Sister (including Vet Stone) contribute throughout. Initially, the band had one of the best rhythm sections ever essembled in bassist/vocalist Larry Graham (inventer of the slap bass technique) and drummer Gregg Errico, both left over the years, the former replaced by Rustee Allen the latter by a series of drummers (Andy Newmark being the most significant).
The early records leveraged this great musicianship and these endless array of vocalists in an aggressive funk sound. Although a brief detour into a pop/dance funk driven by the record company would get in the way of the band's progress (sophomore effort "Dance to the Music"), Sly's songwriting and arranging quickly evovled into something with a real sense of timelessness-- his two masterworks, the positive funk of "Stand!" and the dark, claustrophobic "There's a Riot Goin' On" (and to a slightly lesser extent, its followup "Fresh", nearly as great). Along the way, there's an endless series of fantastic cuts-- "Underdog", the aformentioned "Dance to the Music", "I Want to Take You Higher", "Everyday People", "Just Like a Baby", "Family Affair", "(You Caught Me) Smilin'", "If You Want Me to Stay" (the song that turned me onto Sly...), the list goes on and on. There's so much great material here.
But curiously among all these riches, some of the best material was left out. Between "Stand!" and "There's a Riot Goin' On", Sly and the Family Stone released two superb singles-- "Hot Fun in the Summertime" and double A side "Thank You (Falettinme be Mice Elf Agin)"/"Everybody is a Star" intended for an album that was eventually shelved and stuck on a "Greatest Hits" album. There's certainly room on the CDs to have fit these, they could have been tacked into the bonus material on either of the albums they were released between. Also left out of the set were the last two records Sly Stone did for Epic-- admittedly "High On You" was credited to Sly Stone and "Heard You Missed Me, Well I'm Back" was a Family Stone record in name only, I'd've liked to have had these anyway. While the contributions of a great band and great musicians can't ever be underestimated (I've often suspected Larry Graham's departure had something to do with the serious sound change between "Stand!" and "There's a Riot Goin' On", either that or Graham left because of the sound change), this was Sly Stone's show. Admittedly, it's the singles that I'm irritated about being missing and are the reason I'm dinging the rating a star (for anyone interested, they can be found on the remastered 2CD "The Essential Sly and the Family Stone").
Even with these weakness, this is a great set-- there's so much great music here that really needs to be heard. Highly recommended."