Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Sly & The Family Stone: Family Affair - One Hour Radio Special

Another informative and entertaining radio documentary produced under the auspices of Sony Music, this one from 2007, promoting that year's release of the box set and individual reissues of Sly and The Family Stone's seven classic albums for the Epic label. (See here for our post of an earlier, withdrawn CD version of Sly's Fresh album that mistakenly featured alternate mixes.) Any fan of the band's will be interested in the insights herein from Family Stone members Rose Stone, Larry Graham, Gregg Errico, and Andy Newmark, alongside oral historian Joel Selvin and legendary musicians Isaac Hayes and Chuck D. The special is hosted by longtime Rolling Stone journalist Ben Fong-Torres. Sly's own viewpoint is conspicuous by its absence, but that's just the way of the world.

Enjoy the latest in these radio special posts. Some of the artists still to come in our series (not necessarily in this order):

Bob Dylan (yep, another one!), The Clash, Johnny Cash, Jimi Hendrix, R.E.M.,
Willie Nelson, Neil Young, Ani DiFranco, Rickie Lee Jones, Dolly Parton, and more! These posts have been a little slower in coming than I'd like, due to some computer issues on my end, but do stay tuned.

Plus, if this series isn't exactly your bag, don't fret -- more non-radio-special music posts are are on the horizon too, such as Rare Stuff from The Waterboys, and more material from the lovely Mary Margaret O'Hara,

Happy October!

Link in comments, so why not leave one?


  1. http://www.megaupload.com/?d=KETJA5MI

  2. I bought the box when it was released because I owned no 'Sly' albums. As I listened to the discs in chronological order, it quickly became apparant that Sylvester Stewart has recieved far less credit than he should have. He is the single most responsible person for bringing electric rock instrumentation to soul music. Sly was there at the dawn of it all. And, when no one else would, he jumped from the crowd and started imitating a God...armed with no more than a vision, stood on the threshing floor of Newness an MADE SOMETHING HAPPEN! He created an amalgam which set off its own chain of events (FUNK,etc.). But it was Sly who was slinky before anyone else. Just check out the mental zapping he gives Dick Cavett on Dick's Rock Legends dvd set!!! He was the first, the last, the one AND ONLY!!! Thanks for the radio program.

  3. Preach it, Kwai! Thanks so much for contributing your insight and enthusiasm here. Everything you say is true, which makes it even sadder that in many ways, it's Sly himself who was his own worst enemy in terms of ensuring his lasting reputation. First, starting with the Riot era, his drug problems made him a chronic late- or no-show at his own gigs, alienating his fans, and delayed album releases to the point that the audience would go elsewhere meanwhile -- often to those same new funk artists whose very existence would have been unthinkable without Sly's innovations. Those persistent problems ensured that he never was able to mount any kind of serious attempt at a comeback -- and how can your legacy be honored if you're just not around? He didn't even have the good career sense to die young (j/k) or he might have been remembered as a martyr like so many others. Instead, he became a sad cultural joke to those who even remembered him at all.

    And as the depressing flipside to the Cavett interview on that DVD set, there used to be a clip from the Mike Douglas Show on YouTube (but taken down due to a copyright claim) from a few years later where Sly is not just out to lunch, he stays for dinner too, while sitting opposite him is a very serious Muhammad Ali who is trying to make some serious points about racism while continually interrupted by our hero, and gets so mad it looks like he wants to punch him in the face. Here's Ali, eloquently bemoaning the plight of blacks in '70s America, and there, right across from him, is a caricature of every bad stereotype of them -- a drawling, drugged-out clown. It's sad to think that mere years before, Sly had been such an inspiring, incisive symbol of trans-racial harmony and gettin' down. So sad in fact that, fascinating as it was, I'm almost glad the clip has been taken down.

  4. For a broader perspective on Sly, with recent quotes (and a Foreword) by the man himself, check my I Want to Take You Higher: The Life and Times of Sly & the Family Stone (Backbeat Books), now in its second edition.

  5. Thanks for saying hello, Jeff! I was almost going to mention your book, which I really enjoyed, in my comment above (along with Joel Selvin's now-impossible-to-find book, and that scary Spin article from the '80s). Thanks for so doggedly tracking the man down and getting him on the record!

    Best, another Jeff

  6. Your response makes me happy and sad. I consider Muhammad Ali to be a role model for the world and can't believe Sly didn't feel the same way (or didn't he know who the other guests were gonna be?). A missed opportunity, that had it reached it's potential, probably wouldn't have aired anyway. I simply have got to find that clip for BOTH archives. Thanks for enlightening me. To know is not enough, Sly...one must apply the knowlege! Peace!

  7. Sly was indeed trying to ingratiate himself to Ali, it was Ali who rejected him because, if you saw the clip, you wouldn't want someone like that on your side of a debate, either. There was one specific point on which Ali specifically bit his head off, I can't remember what, but Sly wasn't clear-headed enough to really have anything resembling a point.

  8. And to be clear, it was Ali who looked like he wanted to slug Sly, not the other way around.

    I fully agree with your opinion on Ali's significance. Once, as a kid, I was on the same airplane flight as him, and while getting off the plane he noticed me looking at him and asked me (wordlessly, of course, but in gestures) for a stick of the gum I was carrying. Wrigley's Spearmint. To think there was even a tiny something I could give him after everything he's given the world -- it was a great moment.

  9. Thank you, ever so kindly, for the 'Zen & Mike Douglas Show' anecdote that was truth for us all (at least, Sly, Ali, you and me). As you already know, with every gain there is loss ...and with every loss, there is gain! The Yin and The Yang are equal, but opposite, forces that exist in harmony within the perfect orb.
    Footnote: The only more 'well-known' face in FAVOR with the people (worldwide) than the Beatles, was Muhammad Ali!!! That means the MOST influential face. 'Serious magnetism' for all you beginners... To meet the man, now THAT'S HIGH. Maybe Sly's real contribution will be that he brought a REAL ROLE MODEL(Ali) to everyone's attention. However, politically, Sly was considered to be a 'NON-threat' and Muhammad wound up with 'Parkinson's Disease'... Hmmmm.
    That's enough for now.

  10. all I want to know is the name of the effect Sly used on his guitar in Sex Machine..

  11. Maybe Sly started hanging with Eddie Hazel (who was cutting his own road to the BOTTOM), but Sly couldn't master the final move: ricochet off of your own prison-cell into an drug overdose matress complete with earthworms and Tombstone (no pepperoni). Just checking in! Everything looks awesome. Keep it up! ...um, and, uh, thaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaank you!

  12. "I am everyday people."

  13. Link is dead. Please re-up.

  14. Please Reup..Dead Link...



    1. REPOST PLEASE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


If you get a link, let us know what you think!