Sly Stone: I’m Back! Family & Friends
Sly Stones’ thirteen studio album, I’m Back! Family & Friends, sees the master songwriter/musician/producer revisiting his hits with some special guests. There’s that bleating Doors’ organ on “Dance To the Music,” a certainly distinctive Ray Manzarek sound. Ann Wilson of Heart is featured on a rather sedate read of “Everyday People,” but the lady still sings amazingly well. “Family Affair” has a great updated feel with good Sly vocals, while “Stand!” features the always amazing Carmine Appice on drums with Ernie Watts.
While I would have liked more new tunes then just the three we’re given here, it is good to hear Sly at it again.
Two amazing electric guitar players are featured: the bluesy and always inspiring Johnny Winter on “Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)” and Jeff Beck flipping effortless through “(I Want To Take You) Higher.” What seems like the centerpiece of the album is Sly’s collaboration with the truly joyful Bootsy Collins, who seems so thrilled to be on this album you can hear his excitement blasting through “Hot Fun In the Summertime.”
When you hear all these tunes, you truly remember how great Sly Stone is, how much his hits seeped into our collective unconscious, how the man integrated his band with men and women of all colors and when you realize the guy is still out there ready to make new music, (I hope) you realize the world is a better place because of Sly Stone.