A double-dose of funk, we move today from the land of jambalaya to the political hotbed of the Bay Area for our first encounter with Sly and the Family Stone. Today’s album, “Stand!”, is a politically charged and powerful collection of hit singles and experimental tracks, and is rated as the 6th greatest funk album of all time by digitaldreamdoors.com.
Sly and the Family Stone elevated the sound of funk to a much higher level, and represented one of the first major acts in America with a racially integrated lineup and male and female members. The first track, the title track “Stand!”, kicks this album off in an anthemic manner, and the free jam that is “I Want to Take You Higher” continues to turn up the heat, musically and socially. I have always most freely associated Sly Stone with the song “Everyday People”, yet another fun AND relevant song, that is the centerpiece of this album.
From a 2 minute masterpiece hit single, we move into “Sex Machine”, which is not the song by James Brown. It is a 13 minute jam based on a single five note riff. As redundant as it may seem, it is highly infectious and I was surprised how much I liked it. The album then ends with “You Can Make It If You Try”, another upbeat song of hope from this funk powerhouse.
This is a great album, and I’m honestly surprised this album isn’t on the Top 500 list from Rolling Stone. There is a lot to love here, and back to back with the Meters on my list, a perfect double dose of funk.