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Album Review

Just a matter of months after Dance to the Music, Sly & the Family Stone turned around and delivered Life, a record that leapfrogged over its predecessor in terms of accomplishment and achievement. The most noteworthy difference is the heavier reliance on psychedelics and fuzz guitars, plus a sharpening of songcraft that extends to even throwaways like "Chicken." As it turned out, Life didn't have any hits — the double A-sided single "Life"/"M'Lady" barely cracked the Top 100 — yet this feels considerably more song-oriented than its predecessor, as each track is a concise slice of tightly wound dance-funk. All the more impressive is that the group is able to strut their stuff within this context, trading off vocals and blending into an unstoppable force where it's impossible to separate the instruments, even as they solo. The songwriting might still be perfunctory or derivative in spots — listen to how they appropriate "Eleanor Rigby" on "Plastic Jim" — but what's impressive is how even the borrowed or recycled moments sound fresh in context. And then there are the cuts that work on their own, whether it's the aforementioned double-sided single, "Fun," "Dynamite!," or several other cuts here — these are brilliant, intoxicating slices of funk-pop that get by as much on sound as song, and they're hard to resist.

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...
Full bio
Life, Sly & The Family Stone
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  • 8,99 €
  • Genres: R&B/Soul, Music, Rock, Soul, Pop, Pop/Rock, Funk
  • Released: Sep 1968

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