Search - Sly & the Family Stone :: Ain't But the One Way

Ain't But the One Way
Sly & the Family Stone
Ain't But the One Way
Genres: Pop, R&B
  •  Track Listings (9) - Disc #1

UK reissue of the funk legend's 1983 album for WEA. Tracks include, ''One Way' and 'You Really Got Me'.


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CD Details

All Artists: Sly & the Family Stone
Title: Ain't But the One Way
Members Wishing: 4
Total Copies: 0
Label: Wea/Warner
Release Date: 5/28/2001
Album Type: Import
Genres: Pop, R&B
Styles: Funk, Soul
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPC: 075992370028


Album Description
UK reissue of the funk legend's 1983 album for WEA. Tracks include, ''One Way' and 'You Really Got Me'.

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CD Reviews

The True Story Behind This Album
obi odobi | Washington, D.C. | 08/20/2004
(3 out of 5 stars)

"Since no one has really gotten into it here, I thought I'd write and clarify the circumstances of this recording for all of the Sly freaks, funk freaks, and other potentially-interested buyers.

By 1976, Sly's career was at an extremely low point. He hadn't had a significant commercial hit in years, he had lost his management, the original Family Stone was long gone, Sly's drug problems were apparently getting the best of him, and former bassist Larry Graham was putting Sly to shame (on record and in concert) with his more funky, pop, and upbeat version of the original Family Stone formula with his band Graham Central Station. In fact, Sly was struggling so much at this time that he actually toured (in support of his attempt at Philly International soul "Heard Ya Missed Me, Now I'm Back") as an opening act for the famous P-Funk Earth Tour in late 1976. It was a sad irony to see Sly opening for two bands (P-Funk and Bootsy's Rubber Band) that had been so inspired by HIM in the first place. At the end of tour, in fact, two of Sly's backup singers (one of which was his cousin) defected and joined P-Funk where they later recorded as The Brides of Funkenstein.

Sly dropped out of visibility, surfacing two years later in 1978 when he had left Epic and signed to Warner Brothers, and began working on his latest in a series of "comeback" LPs, "Back On the Right Track." Opinions are varied on the musical quality of this album (I think there are some great songs on there, but nothing resembling a chart hit) but commercially, it fared poorly. That must have hurt Sly after all the comeback hype. I don't think he even toured in support of the album. And I remember seeing Sly on the Mike Douglas show at this time. He was dispirited and so out of it on drugs that he could barely speak. Mike and the other guests just stared at him in disbelief.

He dropped out of sight again until around 1980, when word was that Sly was now in George Clinton's camp. The plan was for Sly to guest on some P-Funk releases, and for Clinton to produce (or co-produce) Sly's next album for Warners. This made sense, since Sly and Clinton were label mates at Warners (via Funkadelic and Bootsy). Clinton was talking the Sly project up in the press, Sly made cameo appearances during P-Funk's 1981 tour, and he and original Family Stone trumpeter Cynthia Robinson are on two versions of "Funk Gets Stronger" from Funkadelic's summer 1981 LP "The Electric Spanking of War Babies." Supposedly, the original version took up an entire side of a projected double album, but was later edited down. Personally, I love these tracks but objectively, they sound as if the main priority in the studio that day was getting extremely high, there happened to be a few instruments laying about, and the tape recorder was running. The same can be said for most of the Sly/P-Funk collaborations, the most significant of which is the P-Funk All Stars' 3-part "Hydraulic Pump" 12-inch (the complete version is available on the P-Funk All-Stars CD "Hydraulic Funk"). Like a lot of Sly's material with P-Funk (which is spread out over several releases), it sounds like they were trying to take a little bit of music and make a lot of out of it.

By late 1981, Clinton had become involved in a bitter dispute with Warners, with the end result that Funkadelic left Warners (they haven't released an album under the Funkadelic name since then). That also threw a wrench into the Sly project, which hadn't yet been completed. And supposedly, Sly just vanished, leaving the album unfinished. Warners brought producer Stewart Levine in to salvage and complete the project, and the album was released two years later in the spring of 1983 with the title "Ain't But the One Way." The cover photo (with Sly jumping over a fence wearing camouflage pants) dated back 5 years to the "Back On the Right Track" photo sessions. Sly must have been long gone if they couldn't even get an up-to-date photo for the cover of his album!

If you look at the album's personnel listing, you will see the names of many original Family Stone members, and also the names of many studio session players. That suggests that the basic tracks were cut with Sly, Clinton, the Family Stone (maybe augmented by some players from P-Funk), and that the project was completed later with Levine and the studio musicians. That's probably why the album has a glossy, generic sound to it. If you listen closely, you can hear traces of the Sly/Clinton approach underneath, especially in Sly's lyrics, singing attitude, and electric piano playing. If you want to compare the two approaches, listen to the demo version of "Who In the Funk Do You Think You Are" from the first volume of George Clinton's Family Series, and compare it with the Levine-produced version on the "...One Way" album.

As far as the music, it sounds far more inventive and inspired than Sly's previous LP "Back On The Right Track." Hardcore Sly fans know that there is not a single Sly LP without at least a few moments of genius, however fragmentary. If you're sensitive to Sly's musical "codes," you can hear that they had some good ideas going, lyrically and musically. You can hear Sly's stoned wit in good effect. But you can also hear that the ideas were left in a skeletal and incomplete state, and were completed by someone else with a very different production concept. The strongest songs to me are the poignant rehab ballad "Ha Ha Hee Hee," the cover of the Kinks "You Really Got Me," the vignette "Sylvester" (another song seemingly dedicated to Sly's mother), the "I Want to Take You Higher" retread (called "High Y'all"), and a few others.

You have to give Clinton credit for inspiring Sly to break out of the playing-it-safe mold of his recent records and push the envelope here. And Stewart Levine also deserves a bit of credit for achieving a professional sound in the end with what he had to work with.

If they had completed this album with the original team, it would probably have been the strongest and most interesting Sly album in a LONG time. It might have even been a commercial success. But unfortunately, it fell victim to music business chicanery and drug excess. "Ain't But The One Way" turned out to be Sly's de-facto farewell to the music business. He hasn't relased an album since then and for the rest of the 1980s, it seemed like he was in the news for one drug-related offence after another. The funny thing about it is that on the Mike Douglas show I mentioned above, one of the few coherent things I remember Sly saying was - and this is a quote as best I can remember - "I'm gonna release one more album and if it doesn't go platinum - BYE Y'ALL...""
Modern Sly
obi odobi | 09/15/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)

"First of all, this album was recorded in the beginning of the 80's, when Sly was trying a new formula, just like everyone else, due to the latest crash of the disco era. Even in the cover art he seems like being skating, flying in a jump. Modern, and shinning bright like in "Fresh". He bounces like a new gifted artist in "Ha Ha Hee Hee" in a kool groove line. He surprises in "You Really Got Me". This song, that was a trade mark from the Kinks and Van Halen, always dressed as a heavy rock, gains a new funky stomp here, something that seemed almost impossible before. In "Who In The Funk Do You Think You Are" he question this new situation in a nice drive around the old funky disco beat. This is one of the best cds from his latest work but for sure you won't buy it. You would prefer to buy the new Rhino collection "Sly And The Family Stone - Who In The Funk Do You Think You Are: The Warner Bros. Recordings". You will find all the tracks here available and much more."
Not on Par | usa | 07/06/2002
(2 out of 5 stars)

"outside of "Who in the Funk do you think you are"?&Parts of "Sylvester" is this worth listening to.this is one of the Records by a Artist that you hope in many ways is Bootlegged&never put out fully because it doesn't even begin to Capture the Greatness that this Artist once displayed so well.this Album is like a Boxing Match when a Guy has been knocked down two times&He is getting ready to take another fall&then you have to throw in the White Towel well this is the Scene with this Album.SLy Stone Sadly here was doing a 3rd-Tier Version of Himself Here."