Friday, August 31, 2012

177. One nation under a groove. Make my funk the P funk.



Album: One Nation Under a Groove
Artist: Funkadelic
Year: 1978
Genre: Funk

Tracks


1. One Nation Under a Groove
2. Groovallegiance
3. Who Says a Funk Band Can't Play Rock?!
4. Promentalshitbackwashpsychosis Enema Squad (The Doo-Doo Chasers)
5. Into You
6. Cholly (Funk Getting Ready To Roll!)

To this day I have no idea why it took me so long to find and enjoy Funk. Funk is where it's at and it's everything good music should be. It's a bunch of talented people pushing each other to great heights while never taking themselves too seriously and losing sight of the fact that great music can be fun. Funk is the bomb and if given the choice then I would like to make my funk the P-funk thanks very much.

George Clinton is a seriously talented guy who is like a big planet of funk that sucks passing funk talent into his orbit. He surrounds himself with funky greatness and churns out moments of funkified foolishness such as One Nation Under a Groove which is silly in the best possible way. It's some daft lyrics propelled forward by fantastic baselines and general grooviness. Whether it's Clinton's finest moment is often debated but you can't argue with your feet when they tap so hard your ankles hurt.

When One Nation Under a Groove is good it's very very good indeed. The title track is a groovy classic, Cholly (funk getting ready to roll) is awesome played loud and Who Says a Funk Band Can't Play Rock and Roll is a catchy slice of blistering guitar brilliance. The slower songs are a noble but less than successful attempt to widen the P-funk sound but the real dud is Promentalshitbackwashpsychosis Enema Squad, a less than funny attempt to string together a lot of poo jokes with a messy instrumentation that leads nowhere.

Even with a lumpen 11 minute turd in the middle of the album this is still masterful stuff and a huge amount of fun. Funk- get into early, there's no time to waste.

Highlight: The title track
Lowlight: The poo song

Influenced by: George Clinton's warped but funky mind
Influenced: Everyone who calls themselves funky.

Favourite Amazon Customer Review Quote: "I'm only 29 years old, but this is my kind of music."

-Only 29? You young spring chicken you.

So is this funky or just a load of poo? Let me know below.


Monday, August 27, 2012

178. The Byrds Greatest Hits. A fine Compylation



Album: The Byrds Greatest Hits
Artist: The Byrds
Year: 1967
Genre: Rock

Tracks

  1. Mr. Tambourine Man
  2. I'll Feel a Whole Lot Better
  3. The Bells of Rhymney
  4. Turn! Turn! Turn! (To Everything There is a Season)
  5. All I Really Want to Do
  6. Chimes of Freedom
  7. Eight Miles High
  8. Mr. Spaceman
  9. 5D (Fifth Dimension)
  10. So You Want to Be a Rock 'n' Roll Star
  11. My Back Pages
When they started The Byrds were a pop band who were trying to be The Beatles with better sunglasses. They recorded four albums which had some fantastic pop songs, some great Dylan covers and a trademark "jangly" 12 string guitar sound. Their albums didn't have the Beatles level of consistency but those first four had some fantastic moments.

Then it went downhill a bit. David Crosby left to become one third of CSN and then a quarter of CSNY and was replaced (eventually) by Gram Parsons. I have to be really careful saying this but things went downhill then as Parsons helped to take The Byrds into a tedious country direction which made them a dull shadow of what they once were. I'm ducking for cover now because I've learnt  that you don't go upsetting Gram Parsons fans. I've written some nasty things about lots of people on this blog. I've knocked Elvis, Eminem, Peter Gabriel, Morrissey and others and been dismissive of entire genres. Generally my comments have been met with rampant apathy but when I had the temerity to not enjoy The Flying Burrito Brothers I incurred the wrath of some very angry Parsons fans. I've got respect for Gram but if I had a choice between Byrds with Crosby or Byrds with Gram then Dave wins every time. He's a much more interesting song-writer.

So the Byrds started with some good albums and then fell away. What would be perfect was if someone put together a compilation of the best moments from the Crosby era. The good news is they have and here it is. Two sides of vinyl which take in the best of their originals (I'll feel a whole lot better, Eight Miles High) and their Dylan Covers (My Back Pages, Mr Tambourine Man) with no notable omissions, no tedious remixed versions, no obscure B-sides which are unavailable elsewhere but not as good as the rest of the album, just those fantastic harmonies, jangly guitar and classic songs.

The Byrds Greatest Hits is the perfect compilation- it focuses entirely on their best era and does exactly what it says on the tin. Joyously perfect. Listen, enjoy but for goodness sake don't tell any Gram Parsons fans I said so.

Highlight: Eight Miles High
Lowlight: Mr Spaceman

Influenced by: Dylan
Influenced: Early Primal Scream

Favourite Amazon Customer Review Quote: "This CD was a nice fit in my collection."

-Excellent. It's like you had a CD shaped hole in between two CD's. That worked out well.

So are do you lyke the Byrds or fynd them yrytating? Let me know below

Friday, August 24, 2012

179. Curtis Mayfield The Anthology. Do it the Curtisy of a good listen.




Album: Curtis Mayfield and the Ipressions Anthology
Artist: Curtis Mayfield and the Impressions
Genre: Soul
Year: 1992

Tracks
  1. Gypsy Woman
  2. Grow Closer Together
  3. Never Let Me Go
  4. Little Young Lover
  5. Minstrel and Queen
  6. I'm the One Who Loves You
  7. Sad Sad Girl and Boy
  8. It's All Right
  9. Talking About My Baby
  10. I'm So Proud
  11. Keep on Pushing
  12. You Must Believe Me
  13. See the Real Me
  14. Amen
  15. I've Been Trying
  16. People Get Ready
  17. It's Hard to Believe
  18. Woman's Got Soul
  19. Meeting Over Yonder
  20. I Need You
  21. You've Been Cheatin'
  22. Man Oh Man
  23. Can't Satisfy
  24. We're a Winner
  25. I Loved and I Lost
  26. We're Rolling On (Part One)


  1. Fool For You
  2. This is My Country
  3. Choice of Colors
  4. Check Out Your Mind
  5. Move On Up
  6. (Don't Worry) If There's a Hell Below, We're All Going to Go
  7. The Makings of You
  8. Beautiful Brother of Mine
  9. Freddie's Dead
  10. Superfly
  11. Pusherman
  12. So In Love
  13. Only You Babe
  14. Do Do Wap is Strong in Here

Firstly I have to apologise if you find this disapointing but The Impressions are a band and not a collection of impersonations that Curtis Mayfield does. If you thought Curtis Mayfield and the Impressions was going to be a laugh-filled hour of Curtis doing John Wayne and Groucho Marx then this is not the album for you.

The good news is that Mayfield is capable of doing musical genre impressions and mastering them all. He can handle soul, gospel, ballads and funk and has lent his outstanding voice to songs as wholesome as People Get Ready and as downright dirty as Superfly.

Unlike a lot of other great Soul Singers, Mayfield's voice is higher in the register which gives him a distinctive sound. But like his contemporaries he knew how to use his voice as an instrument. Listening to him sing is like having your brain licked into a happy state. I defy anyone, even the most ardent and militant atheist, to listen to People Get Ready and not think it's a slice of beauty and pop perfection. I frequently rail annoyingly against over production and unnecessary instrumentation but there's nothing I could imagine doing to to change this small slice of musical perfection

Curtis Mayfield was a massive talent and this is one of those compilations which does a brilliant job of showcasing every aspect of the artist's ability. It's a joy.

Highlight: People Get Ready
Lowlight: Meeting over Yonder

Influenced by: Shifting genres
Influenced: Michael Jackson.

Favourite Amazon Customer Review Quote: "My only complaint about this anthology is that it's lacking a third disc."

-I can understand how that would be a legitimate complaint.

So what's your impression? Let me know below.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

180 The definitive collection. A hell of a lot Abba.



Album: The Definitive Collection
Artist: Abba
Genre: Pop
Year: 2001

Tracks

  1. People Need Love
  2. He is Your Brother
  3. Ring Ring
  4. Love Isn't Easy (But It Sure Is Hard Enough)
  5. Waterloo
  6. Honey, Honey
  7. So Long
  8. I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do
  9. SOS
  10. Mamma Mia
  11. Fernando
  12. Dancing Queen
  13. Money, Money, Money
  14. Knowing Me, Knowing You
  15. The Name of the Game
  16. Take a Chance on Me
  17. Eagle
  18. Summer Night City
  19. Chiquitita
  20. Does Your Mother Know
  21. Rock Me
  22. Hasta Mañana
  1. Voulez-Vous
  2. Angeleyes
  3. Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight)
  4. I Have a Dream
  5. The Winner Takes It All
  6. Super Trouper
  7. On and On and On
  8. Lay All Your Love on Me
  9. One of Us
  10. When All Is Said and Done
  11. Head Over Heels
  12. The Visitors
  13. The Day Before You Came
  14. Under Attack
  15. Thank You for the Music
When I started this blog I made a commitment to listen to every album four times. If the first listen made me want to bang my head on the desk in frustration and pray for blessed deafness I would still persist and listen three more times in the hope that hidden joys would emerge amidst the pain. If the album was one I'd heard a million times before I would still give it four more listens in order to appreciate the album and try and articulate why I loved it so much. Every album- four listens. That was the rule.

But come on... two full discs of Abba? Two CD's full of music which I know full well I can't stand. Four repeats means hours of forgoing listening that I adore in order to dedicate myself to an experience that I know for a fact will be agonizing, torturous and soul-destroying. Hours spent with clenched fists and a volume level cranked to maximum so I can hear music I hate over the sound of my own grinding teeth.

I know all these songs. I've endured Dancing Queen at wedding receptions; I've sat in doctor's waiting rooms feeling my infection gain strength and resolve thanks to The Winner Takes It All; I've heard snatches of Money Money every damn time a TV current affairs programs shows stacks of cash for some reason; I can't actually recall why I keep hearing Thank You For The Music but I do know I can sing pretty much every word despite never voluntarily turning it on.

Did you honestly think I was going to listen to a double disc Abba compilation eight times in order to write this? What did you think I'd discover? Scorching lead guitar breaks I'd previously never noticed? A few songs from Abba's little-known blues-jam period? A quiet ballad with a lone acoustic guitar and low-key production?

But a promise is a promise and a commitment is a commitment. I'll leave it to you to decide whether I'm typing this at the tail end of hours of Abba or just hurling it out without ever having endured a note. The fact remains that Abba is over-produced, synthesised girly pop of the most irritating kind. The fact that it's so hard to escape from makes it all the more annoying.

Influenced by: Snow.
Influenced: Wedding receptions.

Highlight: The fact they've never reunited
Lowlight: Their reluctance to deny anyone the rights to their music.

Favourite Amazon Customer Review Quote: "Comprised of four good-looking yet sinister Europeans, ABBA (taken from the name of a Nordic rune meaning "My boat is leaking"), received their questionable start by winning a European talent contest."

-Hang on. Sinister? I'm not the biggest Abba fan as you may have noticed but even I wouldn't call them sinister. And what's this about the leaking boat? Abba is an acronym made up of their first names surely? My boat is leaking? What the hell is that about?

So could you listen to this four times? Let me know below.

Friday, August 17, 2012

181. The Rolling Stones Now!



Album: The Rolling Stones Now!
Artist: The Rolling Stones
Genre: Rock
Year: 1965

Tracks 


1. Everybody Needs Somebody to Love
2. Down Home Girl
3. You Can't Catch Me
4. Heart of Stone
5. What a Shame
6. Mona (I Need You Baby)
7. Down the Road Apiece
8. Off the Hook
9. Pain in My Heart
10. Oh Baby (We Got a Good Thing Goin')
11. Little Red Rooster
12. Surprise, Surprise

There are times when I'm listening to albums for this blog and I'm hearing a completely new set of songs; an entirely unfamiliar album that throws up a series of previously unheard tracks. There are other times when I have to pull a well worn CD from my shelf and play something I've heard a million times before.

And then there are albums like this one.

I have never heard The Rolling Stones Now! before in my life. It's totally new to me but every track is one I know well. I'm familiar with all the songs on this album- just not in this order.

It's a long abandoned practice but in the sixties it was common for American's to hear entirely different albums to the rest of the world. The Beatles, the Rolling Stones and others would release albums in their home country and their American record labels would take bits from one and sploodge them onto tracks from another and create an entirely different album.

The Rolling Stones Now contains a few songs from Rolling Stones Number 2 (their latest British release) along with a few singles and songs the English hadn't even heard yet. The overall effect is a strange mix of roads the Stones had travelled and not a snapshot of where they were at the time. The UK releases were a coherent picture of what the Stones were up to but their US albums were a grab bag of past Stones moments mixed together and plonked onto the market with a hastilly reproduced cover.

Which is not to say this isn't a fantastic album. Even a hodge-podge of sixties Stones is better than most other bands going around at the time. Jagger leads the band through a collection of blues, soul and R&B covers which are familiar to everyone now but were new to white audiences back in the 1965. Everybody needs Somebody to Love, Little Red Rooster, Mona and Pain in My Heart are all given convincing renditions and haven't dated at all.

Hidden among the covers are a few originals. Most provide the flat points on the album but Heart of Stone proved to American audiences that The Stones weren't just a cover band. The writing team that would one day provide a string of hits first made its presence felt with this perfect little pop song that takes less than three minutes to provide a showcase for all the band members and announce Jagger and Richards as writers capable of rivalling McCartney Lennon.

Do I recommend this? No. You can get your hands on the UK releases which make more sense than this cobbled together oddity but there's no doubt I'd still choose this over about a hundred other albums on the countdown. It's 60's Stones, and 60's Stones are incredibly hard to beat.

Influenced by: The Blues
Influenced: Guys who write riffs

Highlight: Heart of Stone
Lowlight: What a Shame

Favourite Amazon Customer Review Quote: "Unfortunately, this vile creation is quite a stain on the band's earlier history. Some of the worst possible songs are selected for covers, and while the original material still outshines this material, it's of a lesser quality than on the previous 2 outings."

-What? Since when is Everybody Needs Somebody to Love one of the worst possible songs?

So is this album very now or very very then? Let me know below.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

182. Natty Dread. Back to reggaeland.



Album: Natty Dread
Artist: Bob Marley and the Wailers
Genre: Reggae
Year: 1975

Tracks
  1. Lively Up Yourself
  2. No Woman, No Cry
  3. Them Belly Full (But We Hungry)
  4. Rebel Music (3 O'Clock Roadblock)
  5. So Jah S'eh
  6. Natty Dread
  7. Bend Down Low
  8. Talkin' Blues
  9. Revolution

A documentary movie named Marley was recently released to considerable critical acclaim. It was apparently a brilliant study of the the life of reggae's biggest superstar that didn't shy away from presenting the legend as a man and not just a musical genius. From the sound of it, Marley is an excellent way of getting under the skin of Bob which is something I think I need to do to appreciate his music.

I'm a great believer in appreciating the context music comes from. Someone once said analyzing comedy is like dissecting a frog, nobody laughs and the frog dies. Studying music however never fails to give me a great appreciation of where it came from and what the artist is trying to achieve. I need to get a handle on Bob Marley, who he was and what drove him. It also wouldn't hurt me to get more of an understanding of rastafarian culture (which must involve more than just a hat).

I just can't get into reggae. It leaves me kind of cold. I know I said that last time I reviewed some Marley and nothing has really changed. I don't really have a huge amount that's new to say except that Lively Up Yourself is fun (and also the least reggae track here). I still find No Woman No Cry really dull.

I missed Marley when it hit the cinemas but it must be due for a DVD release soon. When it's out I promise to try and track it down before I have to review my next Marley release. Hopefully then I'll write a review which is more than just "Reggae- Meh" which is what I've churned out this time.

Influenced by: Bob Marley's life (which I should know more about)
Influenced: All reggae. The whole thing.

Highlight: Lively up yourself
Lowlight: So Jah s'eh

Favourite Amazon Customer Review Quote: "Who remastered it? It sure wasn't Bob"

-Yes I think we can rule him out of the equation, him and everyone else who is technically dead.

So do you Dread this album or is it just Natty? Let me know below.

Friday, August 10, 2012

183 Fleetwood Mac. I prefer their old stuff



Album: Fleetwood Mac
Artist: Fleetwood Mac
Genre: Pop
Year: 1975

Tracks

1. Monday Morning
2. Warm Ways
3. Blue Letter
4. Rhiannon
5. Over My Head
6. Crystal
7. Say You Love Me
8. Landslide
9. World Turning
10. Sugar Daddy
11. I'm So Afraid

People are often amazed when I say I'm a huge fan of Fleetwood mac. "You don't strike me as a fan of girly pop" to which I respond with "You're correct but here's the thing..." actually I don't respond that way I usually get annoyed and a bit ranty and embarrassing.

The truth is that Fleetwood Mac make me a bit angry.

Too few people know that The Mac started back in the sixties with a different line up. They still featured Mick Fleetwood on drums and John McVie on bass but there were no female vocalists and in their place was a legend named Peter Green.  Green was a brilliant blues player. He was regularly placed in the same category as Eric Clapton and was revered and loved by Jerry Garcia, Duane Allman and others. Under his guidance Fleetwood Mac were a truly magnificent blues-based rock and roll band. They released some fantastic albums, wrote some great original material (Oh Well is just perfect and Black Magic Woman is originally a Mac composition) and performed some outstanding shows (buy The Boston Tea Party box set- buy it now!)

Fleetwood Mac were seriously outstanding and should have gone on forever. Sadly it wasn't to be. Green didn't handle LSD all that well and in the early seventies he left the band and then left polite society for a while, living as a recluse before being coaxed back to music in the late nineties. The band floundered around without him for a while until they finally found a new guitarist and two female vocalists to fill the void and they sold out.

I hate the term "sold out" but it actually fits in this case. Fleetwood is a great blues drummer and McVie is a fine bass player. They both started in blues bands and love the genre first and foremost (as Fleetwood's pet projects prove) but they realised the big money was in pop. They traded in the music that they loved in order to become the tedious backing rhythm outfit for pop singers.

I'm not for a second saying Lindsey Buckingham, Stevie Nicks and Chrissie McVie aren't talented but I can't listen to them without picturing Fleetwood behind his drums playing a dull beat and wistfully dreaming of the old days when he used to fire up on an intense jam in which he was part of a group and not just keeping time for his friend's wife.

If you love Rhiannon then you will probably love the rest of this album (and know it already) but if you love good blues music played by talented musicians I urge you to check out the original line up. You won't be disappointed.

Influenced by: Money
Influenced: Girly pop

Highlight: The cover (what the hell is going on there)
Lowlight: Sugar Daddy

Favourite Amazon Customer Review Quote: "I have a decent stereo (NAD S500i CD player, NAD S300 integrated amp, Dynaudio Contour 1.3 Mark II speakers and a Velodyne FSR-10 sub), and most well-done remasters sound wonderful on it, but these three recordings are extremely bright and sibilant; harsh really."

-Where's another place I can boast about my stereo? I know: Amazon.

So do you want the old Mac Back or do you cut the new Mac some slack? Let me know below.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

184 Red Headed Stranger. Freckles optional




Album: Red Headed Stranger
Artist: Willie Nelson
Genre: Country
Year: 1975

Tracks

  1. Time of the Preacher
  2. I Couldn't Believe It Was True
  3. Time of the Preacher Theme
  4. Medley: Blue Rock Montana/Red Headed Stranger
  5. Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain
  6. Red Headed Stranger
  7. Time of the Preacher Theme
  8. Just As I Am
  9. Denver
  10. O'er the Waves
  11. Down Yonder
  12. Can I Sleep in Your Arms
  13. Remember Me
  14. Hands on the Wheel
  15. Bandera
There are two things I traditionally don't like. The first is country music. I'm just not a fan of country. Many of my worst nightmares have country as a soundtrack.

The second thing I generally can't stand is the concept album. Stringing songs together to give them some kind of unified theme usually means taking a few good songs and padding them out with a lot of pointless filler which is supposed to set the mood but are usually just bits lifted from a sound effects library and played on a loop.

So a country concept album is like a melding of my two least favourite things. It's like a clown-baby for someone who is afraid of clowns and babies. It's an eight-legged Mike Tyson for a racist arachnophobic. It's a dentist with a drill made of sharks for people who... nevermind you get the picture. The point is I shouldn't like this. But it turns out I do. Because of Willie.

Willie Nelson has a fantastic voice doesn't he? The man's tones are just dulcet. If someone handed me a pair of tongs and said "go grab me some dulcet" I'd have them down Willie's throat quicker than you can say "National icon abuse". He doesn't give his voice an affected country twang or move out of his range, he has one of the most natural voices in all of music and it's lovely to listen to.

Nelson also knows his strength and appreciates that his music doesn't need any embellishment to work. He doesn't have to cram the vinyl grooves with pedal steel and backing vocals he only needs simple instrumentation to get his message across.

Consequently Red Headed Stranger is a really pleasant listen. It's an honest man with a brilliant voice playing songs that mean something to him that actually benefit from an ongoing narrative. The tracks are a mixture of covers and originals but they all sound like Willie (don't snigger at the back). He makes them his own and makes them great.

Best country album on the countdown so far. Best concept album on the countdown. One of the best voices in the top 500. Give it a try.

Highlight: Willie's voice
Lowlight: Denver

Influenced by: The road
Influenced: Alt-country

Favourite Amazon Customer Review Quote: "I had this record many years ago (in the '70s) and was very happy to find it on ebay."

-I'm not sure Amazon would be thrilled to have you promoting the competition on their site.

So are you happy to have met this stranger or wish you'd remained estranged?

Saturday, August 4, 2012

185. The Stooges. 1969 but not as you know it.



Album: The Stooges
Artist: The Stooges
Genre: Rock
Year: 1969

Tracks
  1. 1969
  2. I Wanna Be Your Dog
  3. We Will Fall
  4. No Fun
  5. Real Cool Time
  6. Ann
  7. Not Right
  8. Little Doll

Back in 1969 Dylan was simplifying his sound and releasing the quietly country affected Nashville Skyline, The Beatles were trying to return to simple roots while they recorded Let it Be and CSN, The Grateful Dead and others were trying to get back to America's roots with a folkier sound. The rock world seemed to be turning its back on the musical excesses. Meanwhile the Stooges were in a studio somewhere recording... this.

The Stooges doesn't sound like 1969. It sounds like something directly influenced by a band reacting against music from 1969. It's loud, dissonant, noisy and all over the place. It kicks off with two exciting rock and roll tracks that spring quick-fire out of your speakers and become more fun with each repeated listen. And then it dumps 10 minutes of slow dirging in your lap. Track three is called We Will Fall and features Iggy ranting a bit of over a viola drone supplied by producer John Cale and a repetitive chant kept up by the rest of the band that sounds like someone trying to hypnotise themselves to sleep.

The fact that this album ranks higher than Fun House seems to prove that this list favours influence over quality. According to all the research I could do, the vast majority of Stooges fans rank Fun House as a better release than their debut and I'm inclined to agree. Iggy Pop sounds a lot better on Fun house and is a big part of the attraction. On The Stooges he sounds a lot more restrained and tentative, like he still hasn't broken away from the conventions of sixties rock. The fact that ten minutes are taken up with what sounds like Cale's attempts to turn The Stooges into The Velvet Underground Mk 2 doesn't help either.

I enjoyed The Stooges but was mildly disappointed having expected it to be better than Fun House. Don't go listening to it making the same mistake I did.

Influenced by: The Velvet Underground
Influenced: The Red Hot Chilli Peppers

Highlight: I wanna Be Your Dog
Lowlight: We Will Fall

Favourite Amazon Customer Review Quote: "The ten-minute-plus "We Will Fall" is like waking up to find out that sweet little hippie girl from the night before drugged you and left you at a particularily sinister cult compound."

-Strange analogy but I kind of like it.

So are you a fan or do you just feel Stooged? Let me know below

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

186. Fresh. Still not passed its used by date



Album: Fresh
Artist: Sly and the Family Stone
Genre: Funk
Year: 1973

Tracks
  1. In Time
  2. If You Want Me to Stay
  3. Let Me Have It All
  4. Frisky
  5. Thankful N' Thoughtful
  6. Skin I'm In
  7. I Don't Know (Satisfaction)
  8. Keep on Dancin'
  9. Qué Será, Será (Whatever Will Be, Will Be)
  10. If It Were Left Up to Me
  11. Babies Makin' Babies

Fresh is funky. Damn Funky. Sly and the Family Stone are four extremely groovy individuals from the same family who started out as gospel singers but got a divinely inspired urge to pioneer a new sound. Along with James Brown they can claim credit for inventing what we now call funk. And thank the Lord they did (can I get an Amen!)

More than any other genre, Funk requires all its musicians to be very good at what they do. Pop can get away with a sub-average vocalist (as long as they look good), Rock can get away with a mediocre drummer or bass player and Punk can get away with an entire band that have only picked up an instrument that morning, but Funk needs a lot of talent. A funk drummer has to play some pretty complex beats and the bass player has to drive the thing forward. The guitarist has to send out some quickfire chords and manage some soloing and if the vocalist can't hit a huge range of notes with genuine enthusiasm while strutting the stage then the whole thing is worthless. It's incredibly demanding music which is why James Brown used to be so harsh on his backing band and it explains why truly great funk bands are few and far between.

Sly and the Family Stone are a damn talented outfit. Sly Stone is a true multi-instrumental prodigy who is a master of a range of instruments and his family are no slouches either. Everything on this album works which is why it's such a great listen. There's conspicous talent dripping off every track and no matter where your ear turns someone who is damn good at what they do is having a great time.

Of course it's all for nought if there aren't good songs to funk to and Sly could write a tune as well as play, sing and produce one. If you want me to stay is a great song that more people should hear in its original form and everything else, including the cover of Que Sera Sera is just golden.

If you've never heard Sly and the Family Stone then give this a listen and enjoy. It's magnificent stuff.

Influenced by: James Brown
Influenced: Everyone who brings on the funk

Highlight: If you want me to stay
Lowlight: Babies makin Babies

Favourite Amazon Customer Review Quote: "This would have to be one of my DID's."

-That took me a while. DID? DID? I assume it stands for Desert Island Disc

So is this Fresh or on the nose? Let me know below.