Sunday, September 25, 2011

You Caught Me Smilin': Waiting For Sly Stone's Comeback (Again)

Today's New York Post has an article about Sly Stone, how he is living out of a van in Los Angeles.

As I posted on Facebook, this sort of thing is more depressing than hearing that a performer has died.

The word genius is used too freely -- I'm guilty of overusing the word, I know -- but Sly Stone really was one of the very few musical geniuses of the Sixties and early Seventies.

Even though I had Stevie Wonder records as a kid, and my mom played good disco and soul in the apartment, and my biological father played nothing but old pre-Beatles black music, I think I sometimes took for granted stuff that was current at the time.

But I can recall hearing "Everyday People" on the radio as a small child and loving its Utopian vision.

As a teenager in the Eighties, I got into Prince and quickly looked back and realized how much he owed to Sly Stone.

Not only that but Mr. Sylvester Stewart produced some great music prior to forming The Family Stone.

Need proof? "Laugh, Laugh" by The Beau Brummels -- one of the finest pop records ever made by a bunch of Beatles-loving Americans -- is the work of Sly Stone/Sylvester Stewart as producer.

Go back and listen to Sly Stone's work. There's some good clips of the man on YouTube from "The Mike Douglas Show" and "Midnight Special" and his early Eighties attempted comeback on David Letterman's show.

But rather than post a live clip here, I'm going to post this cut from the monumental There's A Riot Goin' On (1971) record. The sad/beautiful song is a marvel of melody and production.

I hope Sly lives long enough to make music half this good again.

Sly and The Family Stone - "(You Caught Me) Smilin'" from 1971...