SLY AND THE FAMILY STONE — Life (aka M'Lady) (review)

SLY AND THE FAMILY STONE — Life (aka M'Lady) album cover Album · 1968 · Funk Buy this album from MMA partners
5/5 ·
siLLy puPPy
Although this was one of the least successful of their albums in terms of sales, I find this to be my favorite early album by SLY & THE FAMILY STONE before they would begin to experiment and expand their sound on the following album STAND. This album continues the group's unique mix of soul, funk and R&B but with catchier tunes that are more refined and polished until they shine! Every track on here is super catchy with the perfect mix of funk laced grooves backed up by a totally satisfying horn section. The entire band is on fire here delivering the most enthusiastic of performances. The music on this album has been a gold mine for samplings of hip hop and electronic musicians alike.

The songs are filled with that idealistic 60s glee and still not politically charged as they would become on future releases but rather focus more on personal issues like the dating scene or groupies. My favorites are the ones about animals. The track “Chicken” is just brilliant as the bass line actually sounds like a chicken! The track “I'm An Animal” could refer I guess to a suppressed atavistic repression of our evolutionary history but I rather think it was born out of the desire to have a lot of fun with the tune instead since the whole band is so playful with it.

Although this is one of the lesser appreciated albums by the group simply because it's overshadowed by the following albums, I highly recommend this as an essential listening experience because this is the pinnacle of their first phase and although it may not be able to compete with the complexity of the others, it is one of the funnest of the bunch that always gives me that warm fuzzy funky feeling every time I hear it. The only complaint I have about this album is that it is way too short. So catchy are these tunes that the earworms often demand that I listen to it twice! A rare thing indeed. Simply a classic of the ages. And always remember: you don't have to die before you live!
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