Sly & the Family Stone – A Rhythm and Blues Act? You Betcha

I was recently asked, “What’s your favorite R&B act?” You might be surprised to learn that act is none other than Sly & the Family Stone. Why this act instead of the associated R&B artists you might be wondering? The answer to that question is that Sly & the Family Stone evolved from R&B, through funk to become the pioneers of “psychedelic soul“.

Sly & the Family Stone’s début album, A Whole New Thing deserves some listening attention.  A much overlooked  recording the record represents the Bay Area’s very first rhythm and blues group to go national. (Read more: http://www.rollingstone.com/music/albumreviews/a-whole-new-thing-19671214#ixzz2BIlS007A).

A Whole New Thing (Sly and the Family Stone album)
A Whole New Thing (Sly and the Family Stone album) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I learned from reading Rolling Stone Magazine my primary source of music journalism in the late 60’s, Sly Stone was at one time the San Francisco Bay Area’s top rated rhythm and blues disc jockey. In the late Sixties and early Seventies, Sly & the Family Stone fused R&B rhythms, radio-ready hooks and psychedelia to create a new pop/soul/rock hybrid.

File:Dance-to-the-music-sly-sing.jpgBeing an East Coast suburban I didn’t catch on to Sly & the Family Stone until their 1968 radio hit “Dance to the Music“.  They were a positive explosion for my consciousness. I just heard that song today and it still makes me move my feet 😉

My favorite member of Sly & the Family Stone was Larry Graham. Between that deep voice and his wild, funky bass I became more hooked than ever.

I think I will dig into some Sly & the Family Stone along with Larry Graham and Graham Central Station this evening and beyond 😉

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