15 Songs, 57 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

With their second album, Sly & the Family Stone began transforming the pop music landscape. Released in 1968, the album’s title track immediately set radio and dance floors buzzing with its relentless groove and infectious optimism. Entire generations of soul, funk and hip-hop musicians take their cues from the elemental tracks contained here. That said, this is still a group in transformation. “Higher,” a rough prototype for the group’s later hit “I Want To Take You Higher,” and “Dance to the Medley” are inside looks at the group’s improvisational and experimental processes. Their sound was mapped out but, writing — or in this group’s case, uncovering — the songs that could support their explosive jams was still another lesson in an ongoing learning process. The expansive group featuring Jerry Martini’s sax, Cynthia Robinson’s trumpet and Sly and Rosie Stone’s keyboards informed the material with a swinging cinematic exuberance, but it’s the lively vocal interplay (the band had five vocalists) that gives a track like “Ride the Rhythm” its extra rush. The expanded edition includes several bonus cuts: mono single versions of the title track as well as previously unreleased recordings: “We Love All” and a vocally intense cover of Otis Redding’s “I Can’t Turn You Loose” that are worthy additions to the band’s established catalog.

EDITORS’ NOTES

With their second album, Sly & the Family Stone began transforming the pop music landscape. Released in 1968, the album’s title track immediately set radio and dance floors buzzing with its relentless groove and infectious optimism. Entire generations of soul, funk and hip-hop musicians take their cues from the elemental tracks contained here. That said, this is still a group in transformation. “Higher,” a rough prototype for the group’s later hit “I Want To Take You Higher,” and “Dance to the Medley” are inside looks at the group’s improvisational and experimental processes. Their sound was mapped out but, writing — or in this group’s case, uncovering — the songs that could support their explosive jams was still another lesson in an ongoing learning process. The expansive group featuring Jerry Martini’s sax, Cynthia Robinson’s trumpet and Sly and Rosie Stone’s keyboards informed the material with a swinging cinematic exuberance, but it’s the lively vocal interplay (the band had five vocalists) that gives a track like “Ride the Rhythm” its extra rush. The expanded edition includes several bonus cuts: mono single versions of the title track as well as previously unreleased recordings: “We Love All” and a vocally intense cover of Otis Redding’s “I Can’t Turn You Loose” that are worthy additions to the band’s established catalog.

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