Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Sylvester - Greatest Hits
Genres: Dance & Electronic, Pop, R&B
Steph In Sobe | Miami Shores | 07/29/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Sylvester, just one word described the style and energy of an era. Just as he was about to cross over to the "mainstream" , we lost him. One of the most talented and entertaining men of his time. This package starts with his "Fantasy" label, to the end, with the much loved "Megatone" label. I was never that pleased with his covers on "Menergy" etc, But loved Patrick Cowley (his last producer). My only complaint: the beautiful "You Are My Friend" was missing from this disc.It was taken from his last LP. Not a dance track, but an intense song about meeting people. My fav. has to be with where it all started, Stars!"
The closest thing to a "definitive" or comprehensive Sylvest
Truth | DC | 08/31/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This is an actual compilation of recordings by Sylvester. Don't let the bizarre inexplicable non-caricature cartoon image cast doubt onto the origins of the recordings. This image is apparently one-half of the cover from Sylvester's "Mutual Attraction" album. This is not a "tribute" album, or re-recordings of Sylvester James's hits. The album is all Sylvester.
GREATEST HITS consists of 20 songs on two discs. While each disc may only contain 10 songs, consider that only two songs in the compilation are less than 5 minutes long. Most are about 7 minutes, and a couple are over 10 minutes. There are no photos of Sylvester, chart information, or song lyrics included; limited song credits are provided. There is a short essay by Megatone Records president Marty Blecman. The songs included were recorded 1978-1985 on Fantasy Records and Megatone Records; they are not in chronological order.
This compilation includes 8 songs also found on "The Original Hits" , a compilation of songs Sylvester recorded on Fantasy Records (The three songs not included here are "Down Down Down", "Cry Me a River", and "I Need You"; the version of "Body Strong" is twenty seconds shorter on "Greatest Hits"). However, that also means there are 12 songs on "Greatest Hits" not included on "The Original Hits", including a disco version of "I (Who Have Nothing)" and a version of Freda Payne's "Band of Gold" that momentarily transitions into "Sugar Pie Honey Bunch".
There are no songs included from Sylvester's first two albums on Blue Thumb Records ("Scratch My Flower" and "Bazaar", both released in 1973), his Fantasy debut (1977's "Sylvester"), or his final Megatone/Warner Bros. album (1987's "Mutual Attraction").
- Martha Wash & Izora Rhodes (later Izora Armstead) - known first as Two Tons O' Fun and later as The Weather Girls - are featured on several tracks. Some others feature Martha Wash and/or Jeanie Tracy.
- The song "I (Who Have Nothing)" uses the female pronoun - "She buys U diamonds".
- The track listing lists "Dance (Disco Heat)" as a remix, I find it to be identical to the album version.
- Several typos in track listing, including the song "Ooo Baby Baby" mislabeled "Ohh Baby Baby".
- The two versions of "Do Ya Wanna Funk" are almost indistinguishable (Both share the same instrumentation and sound effects, they are re-edits of the same mix/version).
01. Dance (Disco Heat)  5:49 (from "Step II")
02. Body Strong  8:28 (from "Stars")
03. Sell My Soul  5:51 (from "Sell My Soul")
04. You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)  6:34 (from "Step II")
05. Can't Stop Dancing  7:43 (from "Living Proof" original LP only [side 4])
06. Lovin' Is Really My Game  6:40 (from "M-1015")
07. Do Ya Wanna Funk (Remix [re-edit] by Joseph Watt)  6:47
08. Don't Stop  6:51 (from "All I Need")
09. Band of Gold  7:30 (from "Call Me")
10. Stars  10:31 (from "Stars")
01. One Night Only (ballad from "Dreamgirls")  4:05 (from "Call Me")
02. You Are My Friend (live performance recording)  8:08 (from "Living Proof")
03. Ooo Baby Baby  3:17 (from "Too Hot to Sleep")
04. Be With You (A "Holland" Remix)  6:38 (song included on "All I Need")
05. Take Me to Heaven  6:57 (from "M-1015")
06. Trouble in Paradise  6:33 (from "Call Me")
07. I (Who Have Nothing) (disco rendition)  11:13 (from "Stars")
08. Menergy (Deep House Remix by David Diebold & Leo Frappier)  8:04
09. Rock the Box (Master Mix by Steve Masters)  7:04 (original version from "M-1015")
10. Do Ya Wanna Funk  6:20 (included on "All I Need")
Sylvester fans may also want to read the biography "The Fabulous Sylvester"  by Joshua Gamson."
So Far The Best Collection, Besides The 12 x 12 Collection
T. West | LaWrEnCe, KaNsAs | 01/13/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"For those wanting to buy his complete works, I offer the following information:
1. 1972- "Lights Out San Francisco" - 2 LP set. A compilation of then
current San Francisco up and coming artists. Sylvester sings 2 songs
on this set: 1. "Hey, That's no Way To Say Goodbye" (Leonard Cohen
song) with Neal Schon (later of the group Journey) on guitar.
2. "WHY WAS I BORN?" (a Sylvester orignal) with backup vocals
from a brand new trio of San Francisco girls calling themselves
The Pointer Sisters (Ruth, Anita and Bonnie)- back then these
girls were doing a lot of session work for other artists before
landing their own record deal in 1973 with the BLUE THUMB record
label. At some point in 1973, Sylvester sang backup on 2 songs on the
soul singer Betty Davis's album- "BETTY DAVIS"- the songs are-
"GAME IS MY MIDDLE NAME" and "IF I'M IN LUCK I JUST MIGHT GET PICKED
UP". This cd is now available here on Amazon. Betty was once married
to Miles Davis, and was one heck of a soul singer. I would describe her
as a Tina Turner with the mouth of Millie Jackson- if you know what I
mean? She recorded some of the hardest funk for that period of time,
and her albums featured artists like Sly Stone and the Pointer Sisters
2. 1973- "Scratch My Flower"- Sylvester & The Hot Band Lp. This LP can be found
on various auction websites (Blue Thumb record label).
3. 1973- "Bazaar"- Sylvester & The Hot Band 2nd LP. This LP can be found on
various auction websites (Blue Thumb record label).
***** NEW ENTRY UPDATE- AUGUST 15TH, 2009 - *****
Hip-O-Select label has just released a cd called
"Sylvester & The Hot Band- The Blue Thumb Collection".
This cd contains the 2 rare songs from the 1972 2-LP compilation
Lights Out San Francisco, as well as ALL tracks from his
debut LP Scratch My Flower and ALL tracks from his 2nd LP
4. 1977- "Sylvester" and 1978- "Step II" available on a 2-on-1 cd
put out by Ace Record/Southbound Record Label. (Originally
on the Fantasy Records label). From the second album, 1978's
STEP II album came 2 big hits- "DANCE (DISCO HEAT)" and
"YOU MAKE ME FEEL (MIGHTY REAL)". Over the years there have
been at least 12 or 13 remixes of Sylvester's version of
"YOU MAKE ME FEEL (MIGHTY REAL)", as well as at least 5 other
artists covering this song (1989-Jimmy Somerville, 1994-Sandra
Bernhard, 1994-Dream Frequency, 1997-Byron Stingily, and
2000- Djola Branner). Also from the STEP II album is the song
"WAS IT SOMETHING THAT I SAID?" which was sampled in 1997 by
Yvette Michele in her song "I'M NOT FEELING YOU".
5. 1979- "Living Proof" Live 2-LP set, released on 1 cd by
Fantasy Records. Unfortunately, 3 studio tracks that were
recorded for the 2-LP set (taking up all of side 4), were
left off the cd version due to time restraint. The 3 songs
are: 1."CAN'T STOP DANCING" (6:22) 2."IN MY FANTASY (I WANT YOU,
I NEED YOU)" (6:30) and 3."CAN'T STOP DANCING" (REPRISE) (2:56).
"IN MY FANTASY" is not available on cd, but 2 versions of
"CAN'T STOP DANCING" are- the 12" single version which runs 7:43
is available on this 2cd set "SYLVESTER'S GREATEST HITS".
The 45 single version, which runs 3:31, is available on the cd
called "STAR: THE BEST OF SYLVESTER".
6. 1979- "STARS". Although the actual 4-song album has never been
released on cd, the closest you can get to having the complete
set is by getting a cd called- "STAR: The Best Of Sylvester".
It contains all 4 songs- although they differ in lengths from
the original LP versions- this cd is put out by ACE Records/
Southbound Records label.
In 1979, Sylvester made his screen debut in the Bette Midler movie
debut "THE ROSE". Sylvester appeared as a drag queen imitating
Diana Ross and performs the song "FIRE DOWN BELOW" with Bette,
and Michael St. Laurent as (Bette) Rose, Claude Sacha as Barbra
Streisand, and Pearl Heart as Mae West.
7. 1980- "SELL MY SOUL" & 1981- "TOO HOT TO SLEEP" available as
a 2-0n-1 cd, put out by Ace Records/Southbound Records Label.
(Originally on the Fantasy Records label). Up until the 1981
album, Sylvester had always sung falsetto (with the one exception
in which he sings baritone on the STEP II album's "Was It Something
That I Said?"). Harvey Fuqua & Jeanie Tracey convinced Sylvester to sing in
his creamy baritione voice, which he did for the album "TOO HOT TO SLEEP".
Jeanie's reasoning was that it would sound real for the duets they
performed on the album. It's nice to hear him sing something
other than falsetto for a change. However, he stated in
an interview I read, that he would never do that again. And
sure enough, every album from 1982 until his death in 1988,
he only sang in falsetto. There was a cd released in 1999
called "TOO HOT TO SLEEP"- the cover shows Sylvester in long
braids. That cd is actually a combination of both his 1977
album "SYLVESTER" and 1981's "TOO HOT TO SLEEP". I am guessing
the reason for releasing these 2 albums onto 1 cd together
is to give the listener a chance to hear his falsetto songs
as well as his songs sung in his baritone voice.
8. 1981- Herbie Hancock 12" single "MAGIC NUMBER" features
Sylvester on lead vocals. The song is from Herbie's 1981
album "MAGIC WINDOWS" (which may be available by now on cd).
9. 1982- "ALL I NEED" & 1983- "CALL ME" available as a 2-on-1 cd,
put out by the Megatone Records label- the new label Sylvester
moved to after his disappointing 1981 "TOO HOT TO SLEEP" album.
Unidisc, the Canadian company that bought out the entire
Megatone catalog, has re-issued these 2 albums onto individual
cd's- "DO YOU WANT TO FUNK?" with remixes, and "CALL ME" with
10. 1983- Sarah Dash 12" single "LUCKY TONIGHT" features Sylvester
on backup vocals. This song is available on the "12X12 MEGATONE
CLASSICS VOLUME 2" cd, released in 1990 (the red cover).
11. 1983- "GREATEST HITS: NON-STOP DANCE PARTY"- Sylvester's
last album for Fantasy Records. Not yet available on cd, this is
basically one big megamix of his up to then hits.
12. 1984- Earlene Bentley 12" single "STARGAZING" features Sylvester
on co-lead vocals. This song is available in it's 12" single
version on the cd "THE BEST OF EARLENE BENTLEY - LIVING MY OWN LIFE"
put out by Record Shack records/HOT Productions Inc.
13. 1984- "M-1015" (aka "Rock The Box") This LP is available on cd by Megatone
Records, as well as a different version put out by Unidisc with bonus
14. 1986- "MUTUAL ATTRACTION"- available on cd from Warner Bros./
Megatone Records. This was his last album and his attempt at
going mainstream, with an unforgettable appearance on the
Joan Rivers Show to promote the album. 4 12" singles came from
this album: "MUTUAL ATTRACTION", "SOMEONE LIKE YOU", "LIVING
FOR THE CITY" (A remake of the Stevie Wonder hit), and "SOONER
OR LATER". I was lucky enough to find the recent 2005 re-sissue
of the Australian Megatone version of this cd and it has these
1-8 are the same as the LP, but this re-issue cd has these:
9. Mutual Attraction (Come Together Mix)- 9:07
10. Someone Like You (Remix) - 6:11
11. Living For The City (Dub Mix) - 5:26
12. Mutual Attraction (Dub Mix) - 6:57
13. Talk To Me (Extended Version!!!!!!) - 6:06
14. Sooner Or Later (Single Mix- SHOULD have been the
extended mix!!) - 4:30.
(You can find the 12" single version of Living For The City
which runs 6:35 on the recently 2005 released Megatone 12"
Single Collection Volume 2 (see my review on that 2-cd
collection for more info).
15. 1988- "THE 12 X 12 COLLECTION"- a 2-LP set covering the best of his
Megatone material. Available on 1 disc by Megatone records. I was
happy to have this on cd, BUT every one of these versions are the original
long album versions- not really "12" versions" as we know 12" singles
to be. :(
16. Sylvester passes away Dec. 16th, 1988 in San Francisco.
He was reportedly 40 years old.
17. 1989- "IMMORTAL" is put out by Megatone Records and covers the last
of his unfinished material. In 1992 Unidisc released an expanded
version of "IMMORTAL" filled with lots of remixes. Only 3 of
the songs on this cd are "new" (actually raw unfinished versions
padded to make them sound complete): "I'm Not Ready", "How Great
Thou Art", and "Man Enuff" (by Robbie "C'est La Vie" Nevil).
A fourth song is still in the vaults and is called "When The
World Turns Blue". There is no indication that these 4 songs
were actually slated for his next album- they are just considered
to be the last set of songs he was working on at some point before
he passed away.
18. 2000- Djola Branner, an African-American performance artist,
releases his tribute album to Sylvester called "MIGHTY REAL:
A TRIBUTE TO SYLVESTER". The cd contains 11 remakes of
Sylvester's songs as well as a 12th track- a beautiful
song about Sylvester's legacy called "YOU WILL BE THE ONE"
written by Djola Branner and David Blackburn.
If you are new to Sylvester's music or perhaps a longtime fan, and you
are interested in knowing more about him, may I suggest you purchase the
wonderful biography book by author Joshua Gamson titled: "THE FABULOUS
SYLVESTER: THE LEGEND, THE MUSIC, THE SEVENTIES IN SAN FRANCISCO".
Once I started, I couldn't put it down until I was finished. A definite
must read! If you're not a book reader, how about a short biography by Kevin E. Taylor? Go to w3.gmad dot org/Sylvester dot htm Thanx Kevin :)"