Album no. 160/1001
This is the fourth album from these guys – the first to appear on this list – and their most commercially successful. Over three million copies! Not bad for a day’s work.
Sly and the Family Stone had produced one top ten single (‘Dance to the Music’) but their album sales had been disappointing. By the time this album came out, ‘Everyday People’ was already a number one hit and the album was about to take off. Often described as a funk/soul band, Sly and the Family Stone were really influential on a lot of funky stuff that came later.
Have you listened to this album before?
CL: No – I don’t know anything about Sly and his/her family of stones. It’d be great if it was just Sly, then a bunch of pet rocks with googly eyes. I think this is unlikely though.
NK: THE FIRST BAND ON THE LIST I HAVE SEEN LIVE! Though admittedly without Sly, who has been a bit of a shut-in since the eighties. But no, I have never heard this album before.
CL: IT’S FUNKY. I think the first 3 tracks – ‘Stand!’, ‘Don’t Call Me Nigger,Whitey’ and ‘I Want To Take You Higher’ are SOLID GOLD. ‘Sing A Simple Song’ is baaaaaaaaanging as well.
NK: It’s funky as hell. ‘Stand!’, ‘Everyday People’ and ‘You Can Make It If You Try’ aren’t too bad. In a shocking twist I preferred the soul-ier stuff to the funkier stuff. The long instrumental jam in the middle of ‘Sex Machine’ is bloody awful.
When would be the best time to listen to this?
CL: Well, anytime you want to get groovy but be politically savvy and get your ‘activist’ on at the same time. It’s a multi-purpose album.
NK: When you’re really high? If you have to. I can think of more fun things to do.
Why has this album been included on the list?
CL: I know The Temptations brought the funk, but I think this is a more lo-fi, less polished, raw version. It’s a bit more grassrootsy. I like that.
NK: It’s like a harbinger of doom. It’s death, on a black horse, carrying a banner that says ‘HERE COMES THE FUNK’.
Will you be listening again?
CL: I don’t think I’d do the whole album again, just because there’s only so much funk I can take in one go. But the great songs are definitely standouts.