SLY AND THE FAMILY STONE — Stand! (aka Everyday People)

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SLY AND THE FAMILY STONE - Stand! (aka Everyday People) cover
4.31 | 16 ratings | 2 reviews
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Album · 1969


A1 Stand! 3:08
A2 Don't Call Me Nigger, Whitey 5:59
A3 I Want To Take You Higher 5:22
A4 Somebody's Watching You 3:19
A5 Sing A Simple Song 3:55
B1 Everyday People 2:20
B2 Sex Machine 13:48
B3 You Can Make It If You Try 3:39

Total Time: 41:28


Sly Stone - keyboards, vocals
Freddie Stone - guitar
Rose Stone - vocals
Gregg Errico - drums
Jerry Martini - saxophone
Cynthia Robinson - trumpet
Larry Graham - bass, vocals

About this release

Epic ‎– BN 26456 (US)

Released same year in South Africa as "Everyday People"(Date ‎– DAS 2035)

Thanks to Chicapah, snobb for the updates


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Specialists/collaborators reviews

Everything changed in the 1960s. Every. Thing. Politics, morals, ethics. Clothing, hemlines, hairstyles. Attitudes, mindsets, headsets. No aspect of civilization and its varied cultures escaped being affected one way or another, for better or for worse. Having said that, nothing changed as much as music. No. Thing. And it wasn’t so much an evolution in that art form as it was liberation. All the ancient doors and rusty gates were unlocked and thrown wide open for the first time in history and what had been black & white lines of separation between genres suddenly became fuzzy gray landscapes and musicians were free to emigrate into those border zones at will. One of those explorers was a Texan of African-American descent by the name of Sylvester Stewart who ignored what black rhythm and blues was supposed to sound like and, along with James Brown, started a trend towards funk that also infiltrated the jazz and rock arenas in short order. And this album, perhaps more than any other, was pivotal in giving that movement a forceful shove in the backside.

I’ll always consider it either a stroke of incredible cosmic good fortune or the benevolent grace of God to have my teen years coincide with that wild & crazy decade. I not only witnessed its social upheavals firsthand but lived my pre-adult life being constantly affected by the consequences of all those wholesale changes and I can tell you that it was a wonderful time to be alive. I could hardly turn on the TV without seeing something I’d never seen before and I recall an afternoon in ‘68 when I tuned into some kind of “groovy” music extravaganza in which a band from San Francisco called “Sly and the Family Stone” were not only dancin’ to the music but tearing the place up like a level-5 tornado. There was something innovative about them (the least of which was the presence of two white dudes alongside five blacks) in that they weren’t even trying to sound like The Four Tops or Smokey Robinson. I loved what I was hearing and began sampling their stuff ASAP. After two fun but uneven LPs the group finally gelled and their ’69 album, “Stand,” put any notions that they were some novelty act to rest forevermore.

The record’s namesake tune opens the show and it effectively squelches any preconceived ideas about what black music has to be within seconds. This ain’t your daddy’s Nat King Cole schmooze-fest, in other words. The group has a defiant, aggressive approach that really sets the mood for the strong lyrical content of “Stand/you’ve been sitting much too long/there’s a permanent crease in/your right and wrong.” The funky movement at the end is nothing short of a fork-in-the-outlet electrical shock. If you think a song title like “Don’t Call Me Nigger, Whitey” would be controversial in today’s world, try to imagine what the public thought of it in that racially-charged era. This radical track dared to use the taboo N-word not just once but over and over, effectively disarming and disrobing the two slurs and revealing them for the trivial monikers they are. The tune itself is a controlled jam (with interesting Vocoder-enhanced scat lines from Sly) that emphasizes how they intended to untether soul music from the shackles of stodgy formula once and for all. Next comes the driving steamroller that is “I Want To Take You Higher” blowing through your speakers like a force of nature. The horn section (Cynthia Robinson and Jerry Martini) kicks like a mad mule while Larry Graham’s gargantuan bass guitar roars like a pride of lions. There’s nothing fancy going on, just a steady stream of atomic energy streaming right at you from top to bottom. (Englishman Brian Augur tried to duplicate the heart-pounding excitement this group manufactured with this number on his excellent “Befour” LP but his version pales in comparison.) It’s a landmark of power generation that can only be visited, not recreated.

“Somebody’s Watching You” is my favorite song on the album and that still surprises me because it’s so unassuming. But the clever stops they include in the arrangement stick in my head to this day and words such as “Sunday school don’t make you cool forever/and neither does the silver of your spoon” still ring true. And don’t overlook Freddie Stone’s tasteful guitar solo. “Sing A Simple Song” is riff-driven funk/rock unlike anything that had been heard up to that moment. Multiple lead vocals add excitement, the guitar/sax breakdown is cool as mountain air and they pay honorable tribute to the Godfather of Soul in the last segment. Their first #1 hit, “Everyday People,” is a timeless, seminal tune tactfully shining a bright light on the naked stupidity of racism while coining the here-to-stay phrase of “different strokes for different folks” at the same time. What’s truly amazing is how they manage to keep a song consisting of just two chords from becoming ridiculously boring. It just works. “Sex Machine” is a 13-minute long, infectious-as-the-flu jam where “letting it all hang out” isn’t just an overused maxim but a fair description of what’s going on. Graham and drummer Gregg Errico lay down a smooth, jazzy groove underneath while Sly scats rambunctiously through his Vocoder again before Freddie delivers a long wah-wah ride on his guitar in which he avoids abusing the effect (as so many at that time were). Larry injects a fuzz-bass lead that’s both rude and psychedelic, Martini throws in some shrill sax and Gregg’s drum solo drains their collective batteries down to nothing. The most conventional cut comes last, the gospel-tinged “You Can Make It If You Try.” It serves as the positive-note caboose on this train yet it doesn’t betray their non-conformist persona in the least.

“Stand” comes off rather tame nowadays but take it from one who was there when I say there was nothing like it to be heard anywhere on the planet and because of it R&B was never the same afterward. They didn’t change the rulebook, they burned it and artists like Stevie Wonder, The Temptations and a host of others were quick to follow in their footsteps without hesitation. Too bad the excesses of fame and fortune corrupted/ corroded them and their leader so thoroughly that they were never the game-changing world-conquerors they were on “Stand” ever again. It’s almost as if Sly announced “I just stopped by to turn everything upside down and now I’ll go narcotize mice elf into irrelevancy. Ta-ta.” (I’m in no position to judge, though. None of us flower children got through the 60s intact, that’s a fact, but some of us survived better than others.) I could list a hundred albums that were better but very few that were as influential.

Members reviews

Sly and the Family Stone's celebration of diversity was never louder or clearer or more optimistic and hopeful than on Stand!, and though Everyday People is more than a little saccharine, for the rest of the album the tone is perfectly judged, with the anthemic opening piece, the confrontational Don't Call Me Nigger, Whitey and the rest of the tracks presenting a range of funk explorations of the state of the nation. The album hits a perfect balance between funk experimentalism and pop accessibility, and makes the perfect counterpart to the dark masterpiece which is There's a Riot Goin' On - in particular, the paranoid atmosphere of Somebody's Watching You seems to prefigure the murk which Sly was about to descend into.

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  • JimmyJazz
  • Fant0mas
  • KK58
  • yair0103
  • Ponker
  • Rokukai
  • Drummer
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