The Essential Sly & The Family Stone
When Sylvester Stone and his intergender and interracial Family Stone burst out of San Francisco in 1967, they appealed to both hippies and soul heads. This collection handily and chronologically wraps up Stone’s musical milieu. The tone of the psych-soul opener, “Underdog,” only intensifies through “Dance to the Music,” which nails their freaky Meters/Beatles/James Brown anthemic sounds to perfection. “Are You Ready?” begs the eternal question (why hate?), while “Stand!” and “Don’t Call Me N****r, Whitey” draw hard cultural lines for reciprocal respect. “I Want to Take You Higher” caps the '60s in a fit of spiritual (and chemical) uplift. 1975’s “I Get High on You” caps this mind-blowing, 35-song set.