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Sly Stone - Recorded In San Francisco 1964-67 (LP)
 

Sly Stone - Recorded In San Francisco 1964-67 (LP)

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Genre: rock
Rating: ** (2 stars)
Title:  Sly Stone Recorded In San Francisco: 1964-67
Company: Sculpture
Catalog: SCP-2001
Year: 197?
Country/State: Dallas, Texas
Grade (cover/record): VG+ / VG
Comments: minor ring wear on cover
Available: 1
Catalog ID: 4362
Price: $15.00

Not nearly as expansive as Hendrix, Zeppelin, or some of the other mega names, but for better or worse a small cottage industry has grown up around Sly Stone bootlegs. Released by the cheapo exploito Springboard Records (actually the Springboard affiliated Sculpture label), "Sly Stone Recorded In San Francisco: 1964-67" pulled together a haphazard mixture of early Sly solo, and Sly with the Family Stone demos, studio efforts, and other flotsom and jetsam. If the advertised timeframe was correct (1964-1967), Stone would have been signed to Tom Donahue and Bob Mitchell's Autumn Records where he worked as a producer and songwriter. In terms of quality the nine tracks were all over the spectrum, ranging from surprisingly good ('Take My Advice') and the odd Broadway-meets-rock 'Life of Future & Fame'; to abysmal selections such as the 1950s R&B flavored instrumental 'My Love'. Throw in a needless cover of Herbie Hancock's 'Watermelon Man'' and the raw demo 'Rock Dirge' and you had a bizarre collection that was obvious released in an effort to capitalize on Sly's mid-1970s commercial successes. For the hardcore Sly fan, weirdest of the weird was the spoken word narrative 'Deck of Cards'. Elsewhere, ' I Ain't Got Nobody' was interesting as it had been released by the small San Francisco-based Loadstone label as the first Sly and the Family Stone single. Unfortunately the complete absence of useful liner notes didn't exactly help the set, so it was probably of little interest to anyone other than hardcore Sly fans.

- I have to admit that hearing Sly turn in a funked up cover of the Otis Redding classic 'I Can't Turn You Loose' was actually pretty cool. Sly was too smart to mess with the song's basic structure, but that didn't stop him from speeding it up and slathering it with his unique vocal effects. I suspect Redding would have approved of the cover. The song itself was originally released as the 'B' side on the first Sly and the Family Stone single - 1967's 'I Ain't Got Nobody' (Loadstone catalog number 3951 A). rating: *** stars
- It would have been nice to have some information on the genesis of these tracks; especially one like 'Take My Advice'. To my ears this has a md-1960s flavor and is interesting because it sounds like Sly before he discovered the magic of the funk. The result was a surprisingly mainstream and commercial slice of pop ... rating: *** stars
- One of two instrumentals on the album, 'Watermelon Man' was a rather rote cover of the Herbie Hancock hit - Ellie Smith was featured on sax. rating: ** stars
- 'I Ain't Got Nobody' was the 'A' side on the first Sly and the Family Stone single - 1967's 'I Ain't Got Nobody' b/w 'I Can't Turn You Lose' (Loadstone catalog number 3951 A). Nice up-tempo rocker. rating: **** stars
- Another instrumental featuring sax player Ellie Smith, 'My Love' featured a '50s-styled blues feel. Very atypical for Sly and won't be of much interest to casual fans. rating: ** stars
- As mentioned above, 'Life of Future & Fame' found Sly and company exploring a weird mix of over emoted ballad with soul horns. This one was unlike anything else he's ever recorded. I'm not saying it was particularly good, but it was different ... rating: ** stars
- Also showcasing sax player Ellie Smith, 'If You Were Blue' was the album's third instrumental and to my ears sounded a lot like the earlier 'My Love'. rating: ** stars
- 'Deck of Cards' was a totally bizarre spoken word story ... simply amazing to hear Stone narrating this religious story. rating: ** stars
- Basically a keyboard and drums jam session, 'Rock Dirge' sounded like an early demo; perhaps something Stone had written for Billy Preston. It could have been good, but in this early form there just wasn't enough to warrant more than passing interest. rating: ** stars

Again, only hardcore fans need bother with this one.

"Sly Stone Recorded In San Francisco: 1964-1967" track listing:
(side 1)
1.) I Can't Turn You Loose (Otis Redding) - 3:25
2.) Take My Advice - 2:13
3.) Watermelon Man (instrumental) (Herbie Hancock) - 4:58
4.) I Ain't Got Nobody (Sylvester Stewart) - 2:44
5.) My Love (instrumental) (Alair - Lind Stone) - 2:20

(side 2)
1.) Life of Future & Fame - 3:30
2.) If You Were Blue (instrumental) - 2:16
3.) Deck of Cards (T. Texas Tyler) - 3:09
4.) Rock Dirge (instrumental) - 6:07
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