Friday, March 8, 2013

118. Stand! ...and then dance.



Album: Stand!
Artist: Sly and the family Stone
Genre: Funk
Year: 1969

Tracks



  1. Stand!
  2. Don't Call Me Nigger, Whitey
  3. I Want to Take You Higher
  4. Somebody's Watching You
  5. Sing a Simple Song
  6. Everyday People
  7. Sex Machine
  8. You Can Make It If You Try



A lot of people have recorded funk music. It's got a definite blueprint that on paper appears easy to replicate. All you have to do is put down a funk rhythm and then make everything you lay on top of that try and sound as groovy and sexy as possible.

If you can accomplish that then a lot of other stuff is basically just icing on the dance-cake. All you need to succeed is the beat but a great funk album throws in the following ingredients as well:

Melody

If you have rhythm then you don't need melody but if you can provide it then you can turn you funk into a hit. Sly Stone could write songs and Stand is full of catchy tunes, none more so than I want to Take you Higher which forces the listener to sing as well as dance.

Licks

Some funk establish a great bass groove and then just sort of sits there with it for a while, it's great for the first minute or so but then starts to get a bit repetitive and you can imagine the players looking at each other with their earlier grins fading from their faces as they realise their groove is fast becoming a rut. Fiery solos can lift a song as good players realise the funk they've laid down is a good launching place for them to take things into space. Sex Machine features some monster soloing and is enough to satisfy those who love a good instrumental break.

Lyrics

Funk is good, as I think we've established. One problem however is the fact that a lot of funky people never really write lyrics about any other subject that how good funk is. A lot of funk lyrics are just "Yeah we're funky, goodness we're funky. We can funk, you should funk, lets all funk". Stand addresses issues and unlike a lot of attempts to address things like racism, actually has something worth saying and an intelligent way to say it. "Don't call me nigger whitey" is actually a pretty cool slogan for a funk generation.

Stand is the funk. It's got grooves, rhythm and soul in equal doses and is superb in every way it's possible to be superb. It might be a solo more than band effort (Sly was something of a control freak) but it's a great album and it will make you dance, sing and air-guitar at the same time, a rare thing for a funk release.

Highlight: I want to take you higher
Lowlight: Sing a Simple Song

Influenced by: James Brown and Social Justice
Influenced: The Red Hot Chilli Peppers

Favourite Amazon Customer Review Quote: "Inspiring rock-funk rarely deteriorates into extended-jamland, instead winding tight layers of gospel-thrust into their own special brand of righteous rock and roll."

-I like it when the go to jamland but I have to say this is a very good one sentence review.

So can you take this sitting down? Let me know below

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