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De File
Does Collecting Make You Feel Dirty?
I Wanna Take You Slyer
The news that all of Sly and the Family Stone's pre-disintegration albums are going be reissued prompted me to check out some clips of the band playing live. I've seen Woodstock several times, but I always forget how great they were. Their appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show -- when I was in diapers, incidentally -- defines "infectious":

I love when they go out into the audience to stir up some togetherness. Although my former place of residence -- memorably described by Greil Marcus in his excellent book Mystery Train as "a tough and grimy polyglot city on the north end of San Francisco Bay" -- has produced more than its fair share of famous musicians -- including E-40 and Mac Dre, whom I recently spotted as a bobblehead doll at the Zia Records on Speedway -- Sly belongs at the top of the list. I love Prince, but there's no doubt that he owes a huge debt of gratitude and maybe even some royalty checks to the Stone family.

Current Location: autobiography
Muse: not the Toyota commercial

11 comments or Leave a comment
art_thirst From: art_thirst Date: February 2nd, 2007 11:39 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
I didn't like them when I first heard them. I don't know why exactly. But, I eventually recognized their unique sound and musical innovations.
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: February 3rd, 2007 06:58 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
That's interesting. I remember as a child thinking that they sounded odd to me, though I didn't dislike them and was approaching them from a vantage point in the late 70s and early 80s, when their collage of sounds had become much more common. But I imagine that they were more startling at first.
From: (Anonymous) Date: February 3rd, 2007 08:10 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
Although they were a "black" group, their sound wasn't strictly R&B or Funk (which is where my head was in pop music). Comparing them and the way they put their music together was different than say, James Brown, who was nuttin' but funk. But, I was pretty open to the differences over time. I was listening to Monk, Coltrane, Miles Davis, Ornette Coleman, Hindemith, Stravinsky, Bartok, and all that.
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: February 4th, 2007 01:51 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
That's a good point. I think the same thing could be said, though to a lesser extent, about early 80s Prince, who fused so many genres that his music ceased to be interpreted as "black," despite his huge debt to funk.
kolakoski From: kolakoski Date: February 3rd, 2007 01:00 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
Damn, that was good. I love how the vocals harmonize not only with each other but also with the instruments which they accompany. And how anyone could maintain that rhythm while singing lead is beyond me. Of course, my musical abilities are modest at best.

I need to read Mystery Train, particularly after writing (last semester) on Invisible Republic, which apparently pales in comparison to the former.
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: February 3rd, 2007 07:01 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
It's strange that they were actually playing, since so many appearances of that sort were badly lip-synched.

I do like Invisible Republic, but Mystery Train is less full of itself and a lot more important, historically.
mhkrabat From: mhkrabat Date: February 3rd, 2007 01:33 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
Some near forty years later, on rare occasion that I might hear "I wanna take you higher", it stops me dead in my tracks. I think it may be the horn section upbeat attacks.
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: February 3rd, 2007 06:59 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
Those 60s-era horns do it for me too, though I was too young to experience them the first time round. James Brown is another one.
mhkrabat From: mhkrabat Date: February 3rd, 2007 12:43 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
Horns eh? Me too. Might I recommend a healthy dose of Blood Sweat and Tears Lucretia McEvil? That oughta do it.

Sly and the family had a number of hits as you know. Everybody is a star and Hot fun in the summer time....
kolakoski From: kolakoski Date: February 3rd, 2007 10:44 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
Speaking of sixties horns, KXCI here in Tucson is playing three hours (3-6pm) of Ottis Redding. Hope you can catch some of it.
kolakoski From: kolakoski Date: February 3rd, 2007 11:14 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
Otis that is.
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