Larry Graham / Graham Central Station

The Best of Larry Graham and Graham Central Station, Vol. 1

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Although Sly Stone was the musical genius of the legendary Sly & the Family Stone, bassist Larry Graham was their heart and soul. Graham proved to be a master of the bass while with the Family Stone, singlehandedly inventing the slap and pop technique of funk bass, which is now commonplace in popular music. Following his departure from the band after the 1971 classic There's a Riot Going On (due to Sly's unpredictable behavior and drug abuse), Graham set out to form his own band, Graham Central Station. And soon it became apparent that the party had moved -- Graham and company kept racking up the hits, while the Family Stone hit the skids. The Best of Larry Graham and Graham Central Station does an excellent job of collecting highlights from their 1974 debut all the way up to their softer early-'80s period. By far the best track on the compilation is the hard funk of "Hair," and a down-and-dirty number about equality not being based on appearance. Graham Central Station also had a knack for writing some infectious, up-tempo numbers that, once put on your turntable, turn the room into an instant party ("It's Alright," "The Jam," and especially "Now D-U-Wanta Dance"). Also included is the group's biggest hit, the soulful ballad "One In a Million You," which skyrocketed to number one on the R&B chart and hit number nine on the pop charts in 1980. The Best of Larry Graham and Graham Central Station Vol. 1 is essential funk.

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