Sly & the Family Stone

Slyest Freshest Funkiest Rarest

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In 1967, before signing to Epic, Sly cut four tracks at Leo Kulka's Golden State Recorders studio--"Can't Turn You Loose," "I Ain't Got Nobody," "Take My Advice," and "Life of Fortune and Fame." All of those are here, plus 20 -- yes, 20 -- outtakes of instrumental backing tracks for those four tunes. So what you have here, basically, is the kind of thing that's better-suited for a small-circulation bootleg for rabid fans than general release. The four primary tracks do have their interest: "Can't Turn You Loose" is direct evidence of Stone's soul roots, "Life of Fortune and Fame" shows his lyrical ambitions starting to flower, and "I Ain't Got Nobody" offers intriguing proof that Santana weren't the only San Francisco rock band around that devised rearrangements of that Latin-soul-jazz tune. The instrumental outtakes, most of which are pretty brief, are more suited for scholarly listening than entertainment, though Sly-heads may find the insight it affords into the young maestro's working methods interesting. If you can do without these outtakes, the four complete tracks are also available on such other shadowy reissues of early Sly material as In the Still of the Night and Spotlight on Sly and the Family Stone.