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Any Major Sly Stone Songbook

March 23rd, 2023 Leave a comment Go to comments



Last week, on 15 March, it was Sly Stone’s 80th birthday. It passed me by until I saw a friend mentioning it on Facebook, expressing his surprise that the man born Sylvester Stewart was still alive. And it indeed seems to be a miracle, given Sly’s unwholesome lifestyle as a younger man.

Sly’s use of cocaine — stored in a violin case — was so prolific that it destroyed his nasal cavities. Apparently, his party trick was to insert a shoelace up one nostril and pull it out through the other. When Sly appeared at the Grammys in 2006, he looked ready for knocking on heaven’s door. But 17 years later, at 80, he’s still with us. Stand!

His body of work merits Any Major Songbook, kicking off with a collaboration of the man himself with Buddy Guy and John Mayer, from an album of collaborations with well-known names.

Some tracks here are by acts whose decision to cover Sly & The Family Stone is not surprising. But one name you might not have immediately thought of as featuring on this mix when you saw the title is that of James Last. The German bandleader was the perpetrator of much disposal easy listening fare, but it’s not well-known that the baton-swinger Last could be dangerously funky, as he is on Sing A Simple Song. Nor would you have expected venerable Big Band leader Woody Herman to cover a track called Sex Machine, his first name notwithstanding.

The bonus tracks include an early, pre-Family Stone track which Sly co-wrote and produced for Bobby Freeman in 1964. C’mon And Swim was a #5 pop hit in the US, and thus Sylvester’s first chart outing. He had been involved in music since he was a child, singing gospel music with his siblings Loretta, Freddie and Rose. The latter two would become members of Sly & The Family Stone, and are also survivors of their band’s militant hedonism pf the 1970s. Their solitary single as juvenile gospel singers, released in 1952, featured on Saved! Vol. 1.

Sly & The Family Stone are important as a musical act, having integrated various genres to create their funky music, using a drum machine when that was still nascent technology, and so on. And they were one of the first major multiracial act to score hits — much to the chagrin of the Black Panthers, who demanded the two white members be replaced. That wasn’t Sly’s way. His way was to advise abstention from the use of racial epithets.

This collection exceeds CD-R length, though tracks 1-19 are timed to fit on one, and so covers made be mice elf are included, as is the above text in a PDF. PW in comments.

1. Sly & The Family Stone with Buddy Guy & John Mayer – You Can Make It If You Try (2005)
2. Bettye LaVette – Thankful N’ Thoughtful (2012)
3. Manhattan Transfer with Chaka Kahn – Hot Fun In The Summertime (1995)
4. Dr John – Thank You (Falletin’ Me Be Mice Elf Again) (1994)
5. Billy Paul – Everyday People (1970)
6. The Ghana Soul Explosion – Family Affair (1973)
7. The Nineteenth Whole – You Caught Me Smilin’ Again (1972)
8. Al Jarreau – Somebody’s Watching You (1976)
9. Gladys Knight & The Pips – Everybody Is A Star (1971)
10. The Jackson 5 – Stand (1969)
11. Ike & Tina Turner – I Want To Take You Higher (1970)
12. The Three Degrees – You’re The One (1970)
13. Love Childs Afro Cuban Blues Band – Life And Death In G&A (1975)
14. James Last – Sing A Simple Song (1972)
15. Bar-Kays – Dance To The Music (1971)
16. Gene Harris – Don’t Call Me Nigger, Whitey (1974)
17. Dillard-Hartford-Dillard – The Same Thing (1980)
18. The Colourfield – Running Away (1987)
19. Maceo Parker – In Time (1990)
Bonus Tracks:
20. Bobby Freeman – C’mon And Swim (1964)
21. Eric Burdon & The Animals – I’m An Animal (1975)
22. George Howard – Just Like A Baby (1998)
23. Diana Ross – Le Lo Li (1976)
24. Simply Red – Let Me Have It All (1987)
25. Mercury Rev – If You Want Me To Stay (1992)
26. Woody Herman – Sex Machine (1969)


Previous Songbooks:
Ashford & Simpson
Barry Gibb Vol. 1
Barry Gibb Vol. 2
Bill Withers
Bob Dylan Volumes 1-5
Brian Wilson
Bruce Springsteen
Burt Bacharach & Hal David Vol. 1
Burt Bacharach & Hal David Vol. 2
Burt Bacharach’s Lesser-Known Songbook
Carole Bayer Sager
Carole King Vol. 1
Carole King Vol. 2
Chuck Berry
Cole Porter Vol. 1
Cole Porter Vol. 2
Elton John & Bernie Taupin
George Harrison
John Prine
Jimmy Webb Vol. 1
Jimmy Webb Vol. 2
Jimmy Webb Vol. 3
Lamont Dozier
Laura Nyro
Leonard Cohen
Neil Diamond
Paul McCartney Vol. 1
Paul McCartney Vol. 2
Rod Temperton
Steely Dan

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  1. amdwhah
    March 23rd, 2023 at 12:56 | #1

    PW = amdwhah

  2. March 23rd, 2023 at 14:49 | #2

    Oooh, nice, looks like a good one! And MEGA has been a good site for me for the past five years or so. Hope it works out as well for you.

  3. rat-a-tat-tat
    March 23rd, 2023 at 18:56 | #3

    Ah, to be young and your intern on re-upping all the old mixes… soooo much stuff that looks great and the links have died. (covered with soul! what I was able to nab is the best)
    Thx for your work on this Sly Stone mix. I thought the bonus cuts were worthy enough to make this a 2 CD burn.

  4. Cram
    March 23rd, 2023 at 19:47 | #4

    Great songbook! Thanks for all your work.

  5. Psychfan
    March 24th, 2023 at 18:10 | #5

    Many thanks! Great selections.

  6. johnny bacardi
    June 6th, 2023 at 13:19 | #6

    A suggestion for a future one, perhaps: Joe Henry’s “Let Me Have It All”.

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