Sly & the Family Stone

Back on the Right Track

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By the late '70s, Sly Stone had been so thoroughly written off as a has-been that few listeners checked out Back on the Right Track. Nor have listeners been inspired to rediscover the album, since his late-'60s/early-'70s classics cast such a huge shadow over his subsequent work. It comes as somewhat of a surprise, then, to find the basic Stone soul/rock/funk foundation still firmly in place here. There were two problems: the foundation didn't make any notable advancements on the territory he'd already mapped out by the early '70s, and the songs themselves weren't that special, sounding more like basic vamps or promising scraps than fully baked ideas. Judged solely on its own terms, it's actually a respectable slice of funk; it's only when stacked against Stone's other works that the disappointment becomes intense.

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