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iTunes Review

Sly & The Family Stone were a singular power in their day: an extended family of musicians who broke past racial and gender lines to create music that played equally well on the concise format of AM Top 40 radio and the freeform anything-goes head music of late-'60s FM stations. While the hits drew fans to the group, the sustained artistry heard during Sly’s earliest days (as Sylvester Stewart) and the experimental nature of his work with The Family Stone firmly established his legend—and made his downfall in the '70s a tragedy of epic proportions. With 77 songs—including 17 previously unreleased tracks, mono mixes, instrumental tracks, demos, and live recordings—this is the first time an extensive look has been given to every facet of Sly’s career. It occasionally eschews the official hit version of a song to tell a truer story of the band’s versatility and talents. (Those looking for a more concise summary should consider Higher! (Highlights) or The Essential Sly & The Family Stone.)

Customer Reviews

A Rediscovery

I was hesitant about purchasing this, since I already have his major albums and a couple of his lackluster later ones. Sound-bytes are by nature deceptive, but I took the plunge anyway. So what happened?

This was a rediscovery of Sly. I realized I had no idea that his really early material would be so exciting -- sometimes Zappa-like, sometime James Brown-ish, and many more influences (big time zany horns, harmonies, and organ), but always top notch songs. The ultimate craftsman, a man born to do this only.

I'm not sure what the concept is behind this anthology, but I found many gems that left me floored. Sure, not all will please you, but you get a powerful sense of his musicality and his changing visions. There's deep commitment and often high inspiration in each song.

Highly recommended.

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 groups...
Full Bio

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