Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Sly & Family Stone|
Whole New Thing
Genres: Pop, R&B, Rock, Classic Rock
By the time Sly Stone, former producer/talent scout for Tom Donahue's Autumn records, decided to step out front and form his own band in 1967, he knew exactly what the music business needed: a multi-racial, boy-girl outfit... more »
By the time Sly Stone, former producer/talent scout for Tom Donahue's Autumn records, decided to step out front and form his own band in 1967, he knew exactly what the music business needed: a multi-racial, boy-girl outfit that skillfully blended elements of soul, rock, jazz and funk. Sly & the Family Stone's debut, A Whole New Thing, didn't completely tip Sly's hand, but it got the ball rolling in the right direction by adding fuzzed-up guitar to soulful vocals, a tasty horn section, occasional protest lyrics and just enough Golden State psychedelia to make Sly's groundbreaking work unmistakable. This revolutionary new sound wouldn't fully catch the nation's fancy until the spring of 1968, but it was already perfectly clear that A Whole New Thing was going to be nothing less than what it proclaimed! It was, indeed, the harbinger of a whole new thing!
A crimminaly ignored debut
Nicholas E. Rowley | Clinton Twp | 08/06/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This album is spectacular. While it's obvious that it is Sly and the Family Stone there is a different vibe due to the changes that would be made for Dance to the Music. Underdog is a standout track but every fan of Sly should check out this album to see what he was originally thinking when he put the band together."
Steelers fan | Ashtabula, OH USA | 07/26/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Sylvester Stewart knew the Sixties music scene like the back of his hand, having been a San Francisco disc jockey, record producer, and songwriter before he put his own group together and started making music himself. His band was both racially and sexually integrated--groundbreaking at the time. "A Whole New Thing" is the Family Stone's debut album from 1967, a seminal year which saw the initial releases from several major groups--the Doors, the Jimi Hendrix Experience, the Grateful Dead (and, from across the pond, Pink Floyd). The record was not commercially successful (the band's breakthrough would come with the single "Dance To The Music" early the following year, 1968). This first release shows Sly's easy familiarity with soul, R & B, psychedelia, and straight pop; he wrote and produced every one of its twelve tracks. This 2007 Sony repackage also contains bonus tracks such as the original monophonic versions of the early singles "Underdog" and "Let Me Hear It From You" (it would have been nice if Otis Redding had covered the latter ballad before he died). Sly Stone's music (in addition to his personal, drug-induced meltdown as an artist) traces precisely the massive disillusion which characterized the death of the "love generation"--contrast this peppy, upbeat first album with his fuzzy, strung-out, weary masterwork "There's A Riot Goin' On", released just four years later. Therein lie the late Sixties in a nutshell.
Sly's best, & a great lost album
Bruce Merrill | Cambridge, NY USA | 03/15/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"In truth, this is Sly's best album, an unrecognized wonder, a great lost album. After this bold new work, his music became simpler, here it begins at its most clever and ambitious. What sets it apart from his subsequent output is how eclectic and highly arranged his songs are. It's 1967. Sly is opening up his kind of R&B-- just as the British Invasion opened up the rock/pop song in general. He had already worked with the Beau Brummells, the first American band to respond to the British Invasion. He was a music major in college, so his beginning the disc with a minor key "Frere Jacques" was a conscious borrowing from Mahler...!
The album is consistently strong. Listen to how tight and varied and "Advice" and "Dog" are-- as Sly keeps the beat, but puts the tune through one change after another. Has anyone else written songs like these? Not that I've heard. Wonderful use of the different voices, distinct and blended. Two excellent touching slow ballads: "Let me Hear it from you" (sung by Larry Graham), and "That kind of person" (by Sly's brother, Freddie). Dig the insanely frantic "Turn Me Loose"-- which they used to attach to their equally frantic version of Otis Redding's "I Can't Turn You Loose." Great drumming! Great sound. Beautifully produced, by Sly.
But so many of these potent songs fall apart at the end... Sly didn't have the sense of an ending. And then-- is there a connection?-- he fell apart in the end, and became a druggy shadow of the talented wizard that he once was.
In the notes to this 2007 release (which includes 5 bonus tracks) we learn that the simplification in the subsequent single "Dance to the Music" was requested by David Kapralik, an executive at Epic, since this amazing first album had failed to achieve significant sales. Sly was much annoyed by this request to "dumb down" his music... but "snarled "OK, I'll give them something." That something was the simplified groove of "Dance to Music." Then came fame, fortune.... and major drugging.
In the next album, "Dance to the Music," only "I'll never fall in love again" is comparable to the superior songs found on the first album. The third album, "Life" is more enjoyable for getting beyond the numbing redundancy of DTTM. And in time, Sly will get to the major charms of "Hot Fun in the Summertime" and "Everybody is a star," as well as the power-house funk of "Sing a simple song."
In time, it also adds up to one of the sadder and more precipitous drug casualties. David Kapralik and cocaine have much to answer for...
But that first album really was a "whole new thing.""