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4.6 out of 5 stars
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4.6 out of 5 stars
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First appearing in 2010 in the USA as part of Sony's "Original Album Classics" series of 5CD mini box sets (Cata No. 8869770802) - this 2013 repackaged version is out of Europe and uses different (some would say prettier) artwork and new catalogue number (88883743022). Although you get a flimsy card slipcase (as opposed to the hard card of the original American issues) - the best news is that you also get the 2007 BOB IRWIN/VIC ANESINI CD remasters - with all five of the albums retaining their expanded bonus tracks. In short there's a whole lot of historical Soul and Funk on here for not a lot of wedge. Here are the Luv N' Haight details...

Euro released August 2013 - "Original Album Classics" by SLY & THE FAMILY STONE on Epic/Legacy 88883743022 (Barcode 888837430227) breaks down as follows:

Disc 1 (56:36 minutes):
1. Underdog
2. If This Room Could Talk
3. Run, Run, Run
4. Turn Me Loose
5. Let Me Hear It From You
6. Advice
7. I Cannot Make It [Side 2]
8. Trip To Your Heart
9. I Hate To Love Her
10. Bad Risk
11. That Kind Of Person
12. Dog
Tracks 1 to 12 are their debut album "A Whole New Thing" - released October 1967 in the USA on Epic LN 24324 (Mono) and BN 26324 (Stereo) - the Stereo mix is used. There was no UK issue of this album.
BONUS TRACKS:
13. Underdog (Single Version, Mono) - 1967, USA 7" on Epic 10229, B-side to "Higher"
14. Let Me Hear It From You (Single Version, Mono) - 1967, USA 7" on Epic 10256, non-album B-side to "Dance To The Music"
15. Only One Way Out Of This Mess
16. What Would I Do
17. You Better Help Yourself (Instrumental)
Track 16 is previously unreleased and first appeared on the 1997 Legacy remaster of the "A Whole New Thing" album. Tracks 13, 14, 15 and 17 are Previously Unreleased also and first appeared on the 2007 Legacy Expanded CD remaster of the album

Disc 2 (58:18 minutes):
1. Dance To The Music
2. Higher
3. I Ain't Got Nobody (For Real)
4. Dance To The Medley: Music Is Alive/Dance In/Music Lover
5. Ride The Rhythm [Side 2]
6. Color Me True
7. Are You Ready
8. Don't Burn Baby
9. Never Will I Fall In Love Again
Tracks 1 to 9 are their 2nd album "Dance To The Music" - released April 1968 in the USA on Epic LN 24371 (Mono) and BN 26371 (Stereo) - the Stereo mix is used. It was issued September 1968 in the UK on Direction 8-63412
BONUS TRACKS:
10. Dance To The Music (Single Version, Mono)
11. Higher (Single Version, Mono)
12. Soul Clappin'
13. We Love All
14. I Can't Turn You Loose
15. Never Do Your Woman Wrong (Instrumental)
Tracks 11 and 13 to 15 Previously Unreleased - first appeared 2007 on the Legacy Expanded CD remaster of "Dance To The Music". Track 12 is previously unreleased and first appeared on the 1997 Legacy CD of the album.

Disc 3 (43:38 minutes):
1. Dynamite!
2. Chicken
3. Plastic Jam
4. Fun
5. Into My Own Thing
6. Harmony
7. Life [Side 2]
8. Love City
9. I'm An Animal
10. M`lady
11. Jane Is A Groupee
Tracks 1 to 11 are their 3rd album "Life" - released November 1968 in the USA on Epic BN 26397 (Stereo only) and January 1969 in the UK as "M'lady" on Direction 8-63461
BONUS TRACKS:
12. Dynamite! (Single Version, Mono)
13. Seven More Days
14. Pressure
15. Sorrow (Instrumental)
Tracks 12 to 15 are Previously Unreleased on CD - first appeared 2007 on the Legacy Expanded CD remaster of "Life"

Disc 4 (58:26 minutes):
1. Stand!
2. Don't Call Me N*****, Whitey
3. I Want To Take You Higher
4. Somebody's Watching You
5. Sing A Simple Song
6. Everyday People [Side 2]
7. Sex Machine
8. You Can Make It If You Try
Tracks 1 to 8 are their 4th album "Stand!" - released April 1969 in the USA on Epic BN 26456 (Stereo only) and July 1969 in the UK on Direction 8-63655.
BONUS TRACKS:
9. Stand! (Single Version, Mono)
10. I Want To Take You Higher (Single Version, Mono)
11. You Can Make It With You (Single Version, Mono)
12. Soul Clappin' II
13. My Brain (Zig-Zag) (Instrumental)
Tracks 12 and 13 are Previously Unreleased and all tracks first appeared on the 2007 Legacy expanded CD Remaster of "Stand!"

Disc 5 (65:32 minutes):
1. Luv N' Haight
2. Just Like A Baby
3. Poet
4. Family Affair
5. Africa Talks To You ("The Asphalt Jungle")
6. There's A Riot Goin' On
7. Brave & Strong [Side 2]
8. (You Caught Me) Smilin'
9. Time
10. Spaced Cowboy
11. Runnin' Away
12. Thank You For Talkin' To Me, Africa
Tracks 1 to 12 are their 5th album "There's A Riot Goin' On" - released November 1971 in the USA on Epic KC 30986 and January 1972 in the UK on Epic S EPC 64613). Although the title is famously listed as "There's A Riot Goin' On" at the end of Side 1 on the original vinyl album - the song is in fact not there (no seconds - no playing time). In order to acknowledge its presence however - the CD reissue gives it a playing time of 4 seconds of silence (hence the confusion with people feeling it's a mastering mistake/track missing - it's not)
BONUS TRACKS:
13. Runnin' Away (Single Version)
14. My Gorilla Is My Butler (Instrumental)
15. Do You Know What? (Instrumental)
16. That's Pretty Clean (Instrumental)

The carp repro sleeves are lovely to look at for the first three upbeat Soul albums - but with "Stand!" having a virtually blank rear and "There's A Riot Goin' On" missing its gatefold (with all the recording info on the inner) - there's nothing to get your teeth into reading wise. And as fans will know - there have been almost entire books devoted to the recording, release of and posthumous importance of the acidic and incoherently trippy "There's A Riot Goin' On" LP (a US R&B Number 1) alone. This is one of those times in this value-for-money series where you wish a half-decent booklet accompanied the release - because there's much to say (and learn).

The 2007 VIC ANESINI Stereo remasters are thankfully used and are typically superb especially on the first three albums. "Underdog" and "Let Me Hear It From You" have amazing clarity - both the vocals and brass. The hard guitar opening of "Dynamite!" is incredible as are the drums and fairground piano on "Into My Thing". But perhaps best soundwise is the near fourteen-minute Side 2 Funk workout on "Stand!" - "Sex Machine". It has moments of hiss for sure but that warbling vocal, sustained organ note, shuffling rhythm section and guitar soloing all the way to the end - are all clear and reporting for duty. Even on the notorious overdubbed tape mess that is 1971's "Riot" where Sly went over things so many times that to this day there is `muddiness' to the whole recording that cannot be removed (and some would say cannot be improved upon either) - even that is audibly improved (to a degree). That blurred sound to the brass work on "Runnin' Away" is a good example and the mumbling druggy crap that he spouts in "Spaced Cowboy" is almost coherent (almost). But then you get magnificence like the nine-minute funk of "Africa Talks To You..." with its drum/keyboard/vocal layers that amble but yet somehow work. The CD audio is excellent compared to my battered British vinyl original where turning it up back in the day only elicited walls of hiss.

The mega singles like "Dance To The Music", "I Want To Take You Higher", "Family Affair" and the joyous "Everyday People" all sound glorious - the Mono versions of "Let Me Hear It From You" and "You Can Make It If You Try" are impressively punchy too. But a quick look down the track lists will show some obvious holes - huge hits like "Hot Fun In The Summertime" and especially "Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)" aren't here (which is a damn shame). But at this price you can't have everything.

A pioneer, a hero, a drugged-up nutjob - Sly Stone was all of these and more. Mostly though you're left impressed and wanting more...and that's a complaint I'll take any day of the week...
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on 2 April 2014
To clarify: ALL 5 LPs included here are classic. NOT just "Riot". The others are NOT just classic singles + filler.
My personal favourite is "Life" but that's just me. The only problem with this release is you don't get "Everybody is a star" or "Thank you falettinme be mice elf again". If you can play vinyl, get the single. Then you have all you need.
5 truly great LPs by a truly great group who didn't so much tear up the rule book as take a huge dump on it.
Highest possible recommendation.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 5 August 2016
Five albums of blistering funk for a tenner by the man who, with the parallel recordings of James Brown, virtually invented the genre is not to be sniffed at. There's a famous quote about Sly Stone than runs something like "There are two types of black music - black music before Sly Stone, and black music after Sly Stone" and there's more than a grain of truth in that statement. Initially billed as 'Psychedelic Soul', the influence on groups such as The Temptations and Marvin Gaye is clear; the direct line to the later styling of Prince also beyond doubt. These are indeed seminal albums that show the development of Funk, with many great singles along the way - not that the album's include any filler. Whilst that Funk sound isn't fully formed on opener 'A Whole New Thing' the title gives the game away and is amazingly prescient. At the time this was a commercial flop, but hindsight reveals listeners in 1967 probably weren't ready for the new style. Less orientated towards pop than what was to follow, it's a worthy debut album.

By contrast 'Dance To The Music' marks a commercial breakthrough and forms the template for the group's trademark sound. If you know that classic single you've pretty much got the feel of the album. 'Life' moves back a little towards the style of 'A Whole New Thing' and didn't gain quite the success of its predecessor, influencing the direction of next album 'Stand!' This, and the final album of this collection 'There's A Riot Going On' both make Rolling Stone's Top 500 albums of all time list, and it's easy to hear why. Huge tracks such as 'Stand!', 'I Want To Take You Higher', 'Sing A Simple Song', 'You Can Make It If You Try', 'Family Affair', and Runnin' Away' pop up, 'A' grade funk abounds. Of the pair 'There's A Riot Going On' is more experimental, blending in an early drum machine to unconventional production with multi-instrumentalist Sly himself dominating the album. These final two albums would be worth the price alone.

The packaging is basic - card sleeves reproducing the basic album artwork containing each album in an outer card case with just the track listings. But each album has bonus tracks - single mixes and otherwise unreleased tracks, a significant number of them instrumental. At the price however this really is a bargain and an object lesson in creating something unique out of thin air.
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on 19 August 2016
Great collection to have, looking forward to hearing how Sly and the band developed, with the bonus of the delivery deadline of 31 Aug being beaten by more than 2 weeks, on 15 Aug! Thanks to Amazon and Dodax..
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on 15 March 2012
i agree this is the best way to sample music at low cost much cheaper than downloads!
muso snobs can always put them in plastic sleeves with fake obis and picture labels.
i have a big collection of these mini box sets and i get to listen to a lot of great music i would have never heard.
Original Album Classics
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on 6 November 2012
An other worldy melting pot of soul, funk, pop, rock, black and white. The man is a genius and his family are peerless. Superb bargain- five classic remastered albums with bonus tracks.
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on 14 April 2012
OK first thing packaging isn't great but I wasn't buying it for that I was buying for the music.

Having first seen Sly & the Family Stone on the original Woodstock concert film many years ago, and then realising that I did possess a lot of their stuff scattered over several old compilations (tapes etc). I decided to get at least one CD for my slightly eclectic collection. Originally I was going to get the recently reissued and repackaged "There's a Riot Going On" album; but then decided to buy this boxset instead - slightly more money but 4 albums more music.

I haven't been disappointed.

The music is great and considering some is as old as me, has not dated at all (I wish I could say the same). From the title track of Dance to the Music to the later "Family Affair" (off of "...Riot...") the music sounds fresh and is great in the car on the way to work especially on a nice sunny morning.
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on 3 September 2015
This is five classic albums from Sly as outlined in other reviews. If you want to explore the development of soul/funk with classic songs that you will know then buy. Superb value.
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on 20 October 2015
Perhaps these are not five star records individually but in terms of value for money, historical important and sheer musical exhilaration there is not anything that comes close
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on 23 September 2015
excellent. received in good time .the musics great and i love way it was packaged x.
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