Saturday, August 31, 2013

Thank You Sly Stone

Sly and The Family Stone
Sony Legacy Records
Five Scoops of Bosco

Reviewed by Allen Bacon, The Daily Bosco

The very first thing I did when I got a hold of a copy of the Sly and The Family Stone Retrospective "Higher!" that dropped last Tuesday (8.27) was to find the track "Thank You (faletinme be mice elf agin)" and just crank that bad boy up one more time.

There it was again...the funkiness, the fun and the indisputable slap bass of Larry Graham leading the way.  The hit is so timeless you forget it was released in the late 1960's.

Somebody once said "There was R&B before the San Francisco Bay Area's Sylvester Stewart (aka Sly Stone) and there was R&B after Sly Stone".  This four disc, 77 song retrospective reminds you how true of a statement that actually is.

The Rock and Roll Hall of Famer's group Sly and the Family Stone was the first to successfully fuse rock and rhythm and blues together, bringing jazz and funk to the masses with a band that was an equal opportunity employer, employing black and white, male and female.

"Higher!" highlights the genius of the group, not only in studio rarities that were surprisingly never released like "What's That Got to Do With Me?" alongside the stream of hits like "Family Affair", "Everyday People", and "Dance To The Music" to the energy from the group's live performances.

There are previously unreleased live recordings from the Isle of Wight Concert and Woodstock that really underscore how great of a band leader Sly Stone was with his group drawing and playing off his channeled energy.

Even for all the success and impact that Sly and The Family Stone had in such a relatively short period of time, I often wonder what would have happened if Stewart and the group had stayed away from the excessive cocaine and drug use that at the end of the day destroyed and imploded the group keeping them from further great accomplishments.

But this wonderful new box set allows fans and those new to the group to enjoy and understand their brilliance and impact on Music.

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