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Album Review

Higher!

August 27, 2013

A fusionist from the get-go, with an outsize, mixed-race-and-gender band, Sly Stone was less interested in genre blurring than in the hot glory of multiple styles played simultaneously. Check his 1964 solo jam "Scat Swim," a surf-pop instrumental with...

Album Review

I'm Back! Family & Friends

August 16, 2011

A new Sly Stone album! Well, kinda. His first new release since 1982 is basically a Sly Plays Sly tribute album, in which the reclusive funk genius pairs up with classic-rock "friends" (Ray Manzarek, Ann Wilson) to rerecord his greatest hits. The results...

Album Review

Different Strokes By Different Folks

February 7, 2006

It's been years since the last truly memorable tribute album; most listeners have become so jaded about them that it would take an extraordinary effort to pull one off. The people behind Different Strokes by Different Folks certainly made an effort: Various...

Album Review

Fresh

November 25, 1999

This review originally ran in Rolling Stone as part of a series that looked back at classic albums. Sly Stone rose like a rocket in 1968 and 1969, offering supremely funky psychedelic soul, social commentary and instantly classic phrases such as "different...

Album Review

A Whole New Thing

September 21, 1995

The reissue of these long-out-of-print late-'60s albums documents the birth of funk — the bastard offspring of gutbucket soul and psychedelic rock. The collected early works of Sylvester Stewart, a.k.a. Sly Stone, provide a musical bridge between...

Album Review

Fresh

August 2, 1973
Not Rated

In conversation Miles Davis says the name real slow — "Sslaaa" — with the same intonation of awe and macho respect that a young kid on a street corner in North Philadelphia would use to describe Mister Bad Ass. Miles, for 25 years the leader...

Album Review

Stand!

July 26, 1969
Not Rated

Like Frank Zappa's Mothers, Sly Stone's group is unique. And, in fact, a comparison of the two groups is not as far fetched as it first might seem. Both exude a superficial formlessness in their sounds. Both demand, on one level at least, to be taken...

Album Review

A Whole New Thing

December 14, 1967
Not Rated

Sly Stone, at one time the San Francisco Bay Area's top rated rhythm and blues disc jockey and also a former A&R man for a now defunct local label (Autumn), once composed a song, with Tom Donahue, called "The Swim." Sly Stone is well-based in composition...

Album Review

Woodstock Experience

July 20, 2009

If it had all been sun-shine and clockwork, with a tidy profit on the morning after, no one would have said another word. Instead, the Woodstock Music & Art Fair, held August 15th to 17th, 1969, near Bethel, New York — a refugee-camp experience...

Album Review

The Essential Sly & The Family Stone

March 17, 2003

Could any group represent the divide between the Sixties and the Seventies better than Sly and the Family Stone? They were the best funk band of the Sixties, mixing up sex, racial politics and an unstoppable groove. The first disc of this masterly collection...

Album Review

Dance to the Music

September 21, 1995

The reissue of these long-out-of-print late-'60s albums documents the birth of funk — the bastard offspring of gutbucket soul and psychedelic rock. The collected early works of Sylvester Stewart, a.k.a. Sly Stone, provide a musical bridge between...

Album Review

Back on the Right Track

January 24, 1980
Not Rated

It goes almost without saying that Sly Stone's early songs (from "Dance to the Music" through "Hot Fun in the Summertime") were inspired and prophetic, a mixture of rock and soul that united white and black audiences as effectively as anything since Elvis...

Album Review

Greatest Hits

December 24, 1970
Not Rated

The difference between R&B and rock 'n' roll, according to Charlie Gillett, is that the former was made by black people for black people while the latter was made by black people for everyone. And as the black artist found himself playing for an expanded...

Album Review

Life

August 24, 1968
Not Rated

The most adventurous soul music of 1968 is being put out by two groups who really aren't part of the mainstream R&B scene at all. Both the Chambers Brothers and Sly and the Family Stone are primarily black, but both have white members. And both spend...

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