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Sly Went Silent For Our Sins

When I was a wee lad, I would go up to up my teenaged aunt's room at my grandparents', hang out, make gum wrapper chains, and listen to her records — such was life in the late 60s and early 70s. In particular, there was this wild-sounding, catchy music by Sly & The Family Stone that we all loved, and the cover looked like this:

It took the young me a while to figure out that maybe there weren't about thirty people in the band. On the other hand, songs like Stand! which compressed everything that was good about late-60s pop into three minutes and five seconds, did sound like they were being performed by musicians with five times the wattage of ordinary mortals.

CBS never really did Sly & The Family Stone right on CD. Back in the late 80s, I was on the Funky-Music mailing list and there were wishful rumors of a deluxe boxed set, which never materialized. However, Sony/Legacy has just released all seven albums in digipacks with extra tracks and informative booklets, as a set. Besides the superb sound, you also get to learn about the group's history (like Sly was DJ and that Tony Bennett was hep to them early on) and check out the band's snappy dressing (well, at least up until 1970). And you'll also learn about how influential the band was musically (especially Larry Graham's bass playing), and how samples from even relatively obscure cuts on the lesser albums have launched score of r&b and hip-hop hits, but the main thing is the groove, dig ?

The set itself has no special packaging, but some places like Newbury Comics have it for $50, so if you're a fan of funk, what's the hold up ? All the albums will be available separately in a few weeks. The one oddity is that the singles “Thank You (Falentinme Be Mice Elf Agin)” b/w “Everybody Is a Star” and “Hot Fun in the Summertime” are not included. You can get them on the Essential Sly & the Family Stone collection (2 CDs) or the Greatest Hits CD (which I think is getting remastered separately later).


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 12th, 2007 01:41 pm (UTC)
I read that oral history on Sly and the Family Stone a few years ago. Great read, but the stories of the making of There's A Riot Going On were incredible. One of the best ones - the worn out sound of the record comes from the fact Sly (who recorded most of it himself) recorded and overdubbed on the same tape so many times. Sorry, all of the other great stories in the book include drugs, sex, and violence, and I can't write about them from work.
Apr. 17th, 2007 02:10 pm (UTC)
I'll have to read that Sly book sometime.

I just listened to the remastered Riot yesterday, and, yes, the murk and aural oddness is pretty weird. Heck, it's practically lo-fi indie !
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )


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