- Audio CD (29 Mar. 2010)
- Number of Discs: 1
- Format: CD
- Label: Ace Records
- ASIN: B0037M5X1E
- Other Editions: Audio CD
- Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 79,206 in CDs & Vinyl (See Top 100 in CDs & Vinyl)
Listen To The Voices: Sly Stone In The Studio: 1965-70 CD
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* Ace finally present a sequel to the much-loved, decade-old compilation of Sly Stone's pre-fame productions, "Precious Stone: Sly Stone In The Studio 1963-65".
* "Listen To The Voices: Sly Stone In The Studio 1965-70" carries on a chronological path, covering not only the earliest recordings of the Family Stone but also the various outside productions this remarkable musician dabbled in, whilst simultaneously topping the charts with his inimitable blend of rock, soul and funk in the late 1960s.
* The package includes all the singles written and produced by Sly under his Stone Flower Productions umbrella. The material by Joe Hicks, 6IX and Little Sister (featuring Sly's sisters Vaetta and Tiny) is in the same idiosyncratic style that made the Family Stone a household name.
* "Listen To The Voices" also features fascinating and previously unheard stops along the way in Sly's journey toward success, such as early collaborations with Billy Preston and the Beau Brummels, and pre-Family Stone recordings by Freddie & The Stone Souls, featuring Freddie Stone and Greg Errico.
* The package also benefits from fresh, in-depth research into the Family Stones formative years, including unprecedented commentary upon the contents from Sly himself.
Top customer reviews
At his peak he was responsible for a series of albums which helped to usher in a new era for Black music, and this collection covers the bulk of that period, immediately before the release of "There's a Riot Going On" in 1971. The sheer variety of musical genres covered here should come as no surprise to those familiar with Sly's melting pot approach, so you'll find a couple of Beau Brummel's tracks that sound like they could have featured on a late '60's Byrds album (think "Hey Mr Tambourine Man") alongside Soul workouts by brother Freddie's band and a French version of "Dance to the Music". Cover versions never featured heavily on albums by Sly & the Family Stone (a notable exception being a stoned cover of Doris Day's Que Sera) but here he works over the Kinks "You Really Got Me" and the 4 Tops "Something About You" (as producer) and almost matches Otis on "Can't Turn You Loose".
Sly's increasingly darker view of the world characterised his output with the Family Stone, as the uptempo, upbeat sounds of his early years gave way to the sleazy, fuzzy Funk which shocked the world when "Riot" was released. That progression is is clear to see (or hear) on this set. So it is that the tracks by Little Sister and 6ix fit firmly into late era Sly, and 2 versions of "Life & Death in G&A" illustrate the point perfectly; the Abaco Dream track a relatively straight horn led Soul/Funk workout (which put me in mind of Jimmy Castor's "We've Just Begun"), while Joe Hicks version features a metronomic beat, heavy base and a random staccato organ, intruding on Hicks drawled vocal, which could have come straight from "Riot".
So there's much to recommend here. Personal favourites include "Man Does Not Live", where Sly evokes JB's "This is a Man's World" to wonderful effect, the beautiful "I Remember", a straight ballad with Sly vocals, and "I'm Just Like You". For anyone familiar with Sly Stone, I can heartily recommend this set.
Stand-outs for me are "Dance A La Musique" by the "French Fries" (not confirmed but quite obviously the Family Stone), a fuzzy cover of "Dance To The Music" with a French twist for fun, it shows how great a good piece of fuzzy, psychedelic soul can be; the Family Stone's early version of Otis Redding's "I Can't Turn You Loose", for me even better than the versions they later did; plus earlier versions of other Family Stone tracks, particularly "I Ain't Got Nobody (For Real) and "Take My Advice", this compilation is a fascinating insight into the forging of the Family Stone itself, and the way Sly's stamp on his production work was so unmistakably his sound, you can pick him out easily even when he's in the background playing one of the instruments. So with that in mind, this is perhaps more interesting to those who know Sly's material well and I would encourage people to check out key Sly albums first, particularly Dance To The Music, Stand, There's A Riot Goin' On, Fresh and Small Talk. If however you already know and like his music, I'm sure you will find this as big a delight as I did.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
While most of this music falls into Sly's usual musical territory --- a mix of funk & rock & pop & soul --- there are also a few surprising twists, most notably the two songs that Sly produced for the Beau Brummels in 1965. The Beau Brummels were an American band that sounded British to some ears. They had a pleasing folk-rock style that was light years from what Sly was doing during most of that decade, but just the fact that Sly would be involved with a band like this, and do such a good job, shows what a daring and multi- talented (musician, producer, songwriter) fellow that he was himself.
In addition to those Beau Brummels tracks, among the more ear-opening moments on this compilation are the songs from Joe Hicks, 6ix, Little Sister (diehard soul & funk fans will know about this artist already; it was in fact Sly's sister!), Freddie & the Stone Souls (featuring Sly's brother!), and the legendary Billy Preston. Whether the songs are demos or fully-realized productions, they sparkle and shin with energy, soul, and some truly gritty funk. The only two tracks I don't care for are Sly's cover of "You Really Got Me" and the closing track, "Small Fries" by the French Fries, which was clearly a silly studio experiment, sounding like a take on The Chipmunks.
Although most of these songs remained buried in the studio vaults, they are much more than mere curiosity pieces. This is truly fine music and will be of interest to most Sly Stone fans and those who dig that late '60s and early '70s soul sound. As the liner notes say: "If most of the material remained in the can, it was because it was unfinished, or that Sly felt dissatisfied, because it didn't measure up to the standards David Froelich (Sly's early mentor) had instilled in him. However, it is precisely those standards, that understanding of his craft, that endless search for feeling, that make Sly Stone's off-cuts more interesting than most other artists' entire careers."
Yes indeed! Some listeners may have noticed a similar compilation of rare Sly in the studio music that was reissued last year: "I'm Just Like You." Both CDs have many of the same songs, but this compilation covers more years (the newer one focuses only on 1969-70) and has more tracks (26 songs versus 18). This CD also includes a 24-page booklet with very informative liner notes by Alec Palao, including portions of an interview conducted with Sly in 2009.
This second volume (the first-"Precious Stone,In The Studio With Sly Stone 1963-1965") continues the focus on Stone's work with several artists,and his own groups,during his Autumn Records days,and later work in other studios. There are some early tracks (some of the first) by SLY AND THE FAMILY STONE,and various off-shoots of that group. Also included is music from THE FRENCH FRIES,ABACO DREAM,Joe Hicks,and Billy Preston-all benefiting from Stone's writing,arranging,playing,and producing efforts. Even the demos are worthwhile because they ooze that raw,funky sound Stone is famous for. An added treat is the fact that Stone played on most (if not all) the tracks on this set. He's heard on bass,guitar,harmonica,etc.,which helped immensely with the sound. The only group that has a truly different sound is THE BEAU BRUMMELS. Their English sounding music (Stone was responsible for their hit "Laugh Laugh" for example,not heard here) stands out from the other tracks-and Stone played guitar on these also. Listeners will recognize the songs "You Really Got Me" by THE KINKS,and "I Can't Turn You Loose" by Otis Redding. Both of these tunes have been transformed into the sound Stone and his band made famous.
This volume is full of good,sometimes great,fun,exciting music,that stands up to repeated listening. The bass-propelled,highly rhythmic music,along with Stone's molasses-like vocals on many tracks is proof of Sly Stone's command of the studio. The other artists here,especially Joe Hicks,and Billy Preston,benefit greatly from Stone's prowess in the studio. This set is just below Stone's more famous recordings he did with his own group,that everyone is familiar with. The works in progress in this collection aren't as strong as his finished work,but have an appeal and strength all their own. If that sound appeals to you-you will find a lot to like in this collection.
The one song in this package that I already knew was Little Sister's "You're the One". There are other songs on this CD that could have been hits but weren't, maybe because they were ahead of their time. My favorites of the early Sly and the Family Stone songs are "Man Does Not Live" and "Life of Fortune and Fame" which both have very deep lyrical messages. I also especially enjoyed both of the collaborations with keyboard legend Billy Preston. The work of Joe Hicks with Sly is also first rate.
Overall, there are no really weak moments anywhere in this collection. It's a wonderful and interesting look into the creative process of how Sly became Sly!!
Sounds like something else and it's something very strong and grooves well to rock, pop and soul fans.
Take a chance on this and you'll enjoy it.