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The Essential Sly & The Family Stone

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Album Review

The Essential Sly & the Family Stone does what a double-CD best-of/career overview should do: it packs a lot of career highlights into a two-disc set for listeners who want more than the basic greatest hits, but don't want every last album. Of course, all of those greatest hits are here, including a few from 1970 that didn't make it onto album releases at the time. As you'd expect, the fattest slice comes from Sly & the Family Stone's late-'60s/early-'70s peak: in fact, most of the tracks from the Stand! and There's a Riot Goin' On albums are here. The fun extras come in the not-too-well-known tracks from pre-Stand! albums and Fresh (which is actually amply represented, with six cuts). This doesn't quite deserve the highest rating, as the post-There's a Riot Goin' On material doesn't keep up the momentum of the rest of the set. Small Talk and Sly Stone's 1975 solo effort, High on You, are wisely lightly plucked, though at least the hits from those albums are the three cuts selected. This deserves better annotation than the cursory liner notes, but otherwise it's an excellent summary of a major rock and soul band.

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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The Essential Sly & The Family Stone, Sly & The Family Stone
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