SLY AND THE FAMILY STONE

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Sly & the Family Stone harnessed all of the disparate musical and social trends of the late '60s, creating a wild, brilliant fusion of soul, rock, R&B, psychedelia, and funk that broke boundaries down without a second thought. Led by Sly Stone, the Family Stone was comprised of men and women, and blacks and whites, making the band the first fully integrated group in rock's history. That integration shone through the music, as well as the group's message. Before Stone, very few soul and R&B groups delved into political and social commentary; after him, it became a tradition in soul, funk, and hip-hop. And, along with James Brown, Stone brought hard funk into the mainstream. the Family Stone's arrangements were ingenious, filled with unexpected group vocals, syncopated rhythms, punchy horns, and pop melodies. Their music was joyous, but as the '60s ended, so did the good times. Stone became disillusioned read more...
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SLY AND THE FAMILY STONE Discography

SLY AND THE FAMILY STONE albums / top albums

SLY AND THE FAMILY STONE A Whole New Thing album cover 3.50 | 2 ratings
A Whole New Thing
Funk 1967
SLY AND THE FAMILY STONE Life (aka M'Lady) album cover 5.00 | 2 ratings
Life (aka M'Lady)
Funk 1968
SLY AND THE FAMILY STONE Dance to the Music album cover 3.95 | 2 ratings
Dance to the Music
Funk 1968
SLY AND THE FAMILY STONE Stand! (aka Everyday People) album cover 4.31 | 14 ratings
Stand! (aka Everyday People)
Funk 1969
SLY AND THE FAMILY STONE There's a Riot Goin' On album cover 3.52 | 7 ratings
There's a Riot Goin' On
Funk 1971
SLY AND THE FAMILY STONE Fresh album cover 2.81 | 7 ratings
Fresh
Funk 1973
SLY AND THE FAMILY STONE Small Talk album cover 3.50 | 1 ratings
Small Talk
Funk 1974
SLY AND THE FAMILY STONE Heard You Missed Me, Well I'm Back album cover 3.50 | 1 ratings
Heard You Missed Me, Well I'm Back
Funk 1976
SLY AND THE FAMILY STONE Back on the Right Track album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Back on the Right Track
Funk 1979
SLY AND THE FAMILY STONE Ain't but the One Way album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Ain't but the One Way
Funk 1982
SLY AND THE FAMILY STONE In The Still Of The Night album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
In The Still Of The Night
Funk 1993
SLY AND THE FAMILY STONE Slyest Freshest Funkiest Rarist Cuts album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Slyest Freshest Funkiest Rarist Cuts
Funk 1995
SLY AND THE FAMILY STONE Different Strokes by Different Folks album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Different Strokes by Different Folks
Funk 2005

SLY AND THE FAMILY STONE EPs & splits

SLY AND THE FAMILY STONE live albums

SLY AND THE FAMILY STONE The Woodstock Experience album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Woodstock Experience
Funk 2009
SLY AND THE FAMILY STONE Live at the Fillmore East: October 4th & 5th, 1968 album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Live at the Fillmore East: October 4th & 5th, 1968
Funk 2015
SLY AND THE FAMILY STONE Woodstock Sunday August 17, 1969 album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Woodstock Sunday August 17, 1969
Funk 2019

SLY AND THE FAMILY STONE demos, promos, fans club and other releases (no bootlegs)

SLY AND THE FAMILY STONE re-issues & compilations

SLY AND THE FAMILY STONE Greatest Hits album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Greatest Hits
Funk 1970
SLY AND THE FAMILY STONE Anthology album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Anthology
Funk 1981
SLY AND THE FAMILY STONE The Collection album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Collection
Funk 1991
SLY AND THE FAMILY STONE The Best of Sly & The Family Stone album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Best of Sly & The Family Stone
Funk 1992
SLY AND THE FAMILY STONE Best of Sly and the Family Stone album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Best of Sly and the Family Stone
Funk 1999
SLY AND THE FAMILY STONE The Essential Sly & The Family Stone album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Essential Sly & The Family Stone
Funk 2002
SLY AND THE FAMILY STONE Higher! album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Higher!
Funk 2005

SLY AND THE FAMILY STONE singles (0)

SLY AND THE FAMILY STONE movies (DVD, Blu-Ray or VHS)

SLY AND THE FAMILY STONE Reviews

SLY AND THE FAMILY STONE A Whole New Thing

Album · 1967 · Funk
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siLLy puPPy
SLY & THE FAMILY STONE weren't kidding around when they titled their debut album A WHOLE NEW THING which hit the market in 1967. The San Francisco band wasn't only a cutting-edge band musically by fusing soul, funk, rock and psychedelic music, but they were also one of the first successful bands to have a racially mixed lineup that had both girls and boys playing together like good little kids should. Despite all this groundbreaking effort though, the album went virtually unheard by the listening public at large but it was an immediate hit for musicians and those lucky enough to find it on their turntables. A likely story. The material wasn't “commercial” enough and because it was so different and didn't fit in with any radio formats thus receiving no airplay and despite being on a major record label, little was done in terms of promotion. Sly was urged to write more radio friendly tunes and soon after this release of this album, “Dance To The Music” was released which got the band recognized.

Musically this album is far from a throwaway. It shows a promising young act with a whole heap of strong tracks here. Although the songwriting isn't quite as strong as the following two albums for this first phase of S&TFS's career, it certainly has a few winners such as “Underdog,” “Turn Me Loose” and “Run, Run, Run.” In fact most of the album is quite pleasant with the exception of a couple out-of-place mediocre ballads that interfere with the flow. Certainly not the best album the FAMILY came up with but considering how revolutionary this sound was at the time and that there are plenty of interesting tracks to be had, this is required listening in my book.

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

Album · 1968 · Funk
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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!

SLY AND THE FAMILY STONE There's a Riot Goin' On

Album · 1971 · Funk
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Warthur
Rock fans acquainted with the history of Pink Floyd will know how after their debut album Syd Barrett soon ran into some severe issues, and under the influence of heavy drug use transformed into a troubled introvert whose musical output revealed a rapidly crumbling psyche. Well, imagine the album which Pink Floyd might have produced if they had stuck around with Syd and provided a full band backing to his ideas rather than retiring him from the band to make his sparse solo albums; There's a Riot Goin' On is the funk equivalent of that.

Sly's drug-affected behaviour from this era is legendary, as is the dark tone of the album; the sunny optimism of Stand! is gone, the Sixties are well and truly over and the Seventies are here to stay, and whilst the opening Luv n' Haight's refrain of "feel so good, feel so good, wanna move, wanna move" ought to be uplifting, it feels more compulsive and involuntary, the product of a nervous energy which infuses the album. Drowning in a swamp of fuzz, There's a Riot Goin' On is the sound of a funk pioneer caught in the quicksand of drug abuse and yet still possessing the insight to produce this devastating look at how the dream of the Woodstock Nation, the civil rights era, and all the movements that had informed Stand! had met with setbacks, failure, and deep, deep trouble in the intervening years.

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

Album · 1969 · Funk
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Warthur
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.

SLY AND THE FAMILY STONE There's a Riot Goin' On

Album · 1971 · Funk
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
dreadpirateroberts
Sly and the Family Stone's 'There's a Riot Goin' On' is a funk classic that's marred by Sly's overdubbing (which eroded the quality of masters) making for a murky production that's unsatisfying overall.

The songwriting shines through, and it could be argued that the dim production suits the dark subject matter, but for the early seventies, much clearer recordings were certainly achievable - 'What's Goin On' or 'Curtis' anyone? In particular, much of Sly's vocals are buried in the mix and are basically muffled so that he becomes, at times, illegible. The rest of the instrumentation fades in and out of clarity, drums probably suffer the most and guitar and bass will probably cut through most of the time.

But this doesn't detract too much from some of the fantastic songs present. Much of the album is said to be performed by Sly alone, with overdubbing by other band members one at a time. If so, it's probably Graham that has tracks with more slap-bass, and his playing in particular is right on the money - 'Just Like a Baby' comes to mind.

Number one single 'Family Affair' is quite a dark duet, its weariness echoed in much of the rest of the album, but contrasted nicely by more upbeat moments like '(You Caught Me) Smilin' (despite a poorly recorded lead vocal) or 'Running Away.' Sly and the band incorporate blues, rock and soul into their funk, only occasionally stretching out like on the reasonably directionless 'Africa Talks to You...' and the most excellent closer, 'Thank you for Talkin' to me Africa' (a reworking of an old single.) It reveals Graham's trademark bass sound (sounding very much like he would on, for instance, Betty Davis' debut or his other work) in a cathartic song that also manages to strut.

This album bears repeated listens, and probably deserves four stars but for the poor production and a few songs that don't match up to the rest of the record, I don't feel I can go any higher. For anyone interested in a dark version of funk, this is worth a look. It's a landmark album that takes its cue from Gaye and Mayfield but trades in (sonic) clarity of message for an almost nihilist-produced sound that almost derails proceedings.

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