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The Gold Standard Series Pop Classics - Sly and the Family Stone

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Album Review

Few funk bands have been anthologized, parsed, and repackaged more thoroughly (even redundantly) than Sly & the Family Stone, but as always, the Japanese anthology series Free Soul finds something new to say on its given subject. Simply put, each Free Soul volume is something more — something better — than a greatest-hits package. Compiler Toru Hashimoto weaves together chart smashes, fan favorites, and deep album cuts to distill the absolute essence of the artist in question, summarizing their greatness in terms of scope, depth, and economy. This Sly & the Family Stone collection is no exception, focusing on the band's halcyon Epic Records tenure to document the power-to-the-people soul anthems and the serpentine acid-funk jams that essentially created the blueprint for a generation of black music to follow. Highlights include "Everybody Is a Star," "If You Want Me to Stay," and "Runnin' Away."

Biography

Formed: 1967 in San Francisco, CA

Genre: R&B/Soul

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s

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...
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