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In 1969 came the fourth album from Sly & The Family Stone, "Stand!". It was seen as an advancement from the Psychedelic Soul, Rock and Funk band as one which had them really break through into the mainstream with songs which reached out even further than before. The impact of its release is evident in how it continues to be brought back in the Hip Hop and R&B world.
The album begins to the band coming with a warming song which has them getting right down to the issues which have influenced them to create this project here as they come with one which has them taking of how people have to take action in their lives to speak on behalf of their representative communities at a very relevant time. As with many of this time, it takes a while to get to the most impactful material and at the end they bring in the Funk.
2. "Don't Call Me N****r, Whitey"
The title seems to express all you need to know about this one as this one has them turning their attention to the very topical issue of racism in their country as they talk on their experiences of it whilst travelling the country. The way it is composed seems to have been a heavy influence upon how Funk would be done from this point, through onto the seventies.
3. "I Want To Take You Higher"
In this one Sly Stone is seen to compose a hyped joint which moves things away from the intensity which you get form the two tune which came prior to it, and I felt that it did its job well at turning their attention to much more open things as they just get loose with lots of brass work and funky percussion.
4. "Somebody's Watching You"
This is a light tune from them, and it is seen to make a few big changes in the way hey go about the music as this one seems to take on a much more Pop-based styled (as was seen on many occasion on the album prior to this). I felt that it wasn't rally that engaging and so lost what came before it as the momentum runs out as you get on to an average tune, which only shows originality through late breaks.
5. "Sing A Simple Song"
Covered by the likes of Miles Davis, The Supremes and The Jackson 5 (in addition to being sampled by the Gorillaz, Public Enemy and 2Pac) this is a heavy tune from them which has them showing just how well they can drive things through by performing in a composition which reflects the prominent Funk sounds (that would have been heard from James Brown) can be adapted to a rather lyrically-simplistic song.
6. "Everyday People"
This was a massive single from the album and too had many memorable covers from the likes of Musiq Soulchild, Pearl Jam and Arrested Development. It has them doing another which is based upon the problems which were seen to have a massive impact upon the time as they try out this material in a Soul style instead.
7. "Sex Machine"
Lasting for nearly 13 minutes, this is an extremely lengthy jam form the group and has them much more than anywhere else as they try out many experimental things in this time to see just how far they can take their music without the use of many proper vocals whatsoever. Its title is perfectly-suited to the music they bring as they do one which is based mainly around the wah-wahs of Freddie Stone and Sly on the vocoder for futuristic sound effects.
8. "You Can Make It If You Try"
The album ends with the band coming up with a song which makes full use of what they have to offer. I felt that it rounded it off well as they come with a tune which represented the time well as Funk was on the rise and to they show that they are able to deliver extremely well in this field just as they can with the more traditional genres.
I felt that this was their biggest album up to this point as they moved away from the erratically-composed Psychedelic music in favour of tunes which represents the progression and maturation which they had undergone over the years to come up with a strong album which only really slips noticeably on one track.
Disc #1 Tracklisting
2 Don't Call Me Nigger, Whitey
3 I Want To Take You Higher
4 Somebody's Watching You
5 Sing A Simple Song
6 Everyday People
7 Sex Machine
8 You Can Make It If You Try
9 Stand! (single version)
10 I Want To Take You Higher (single version)
11 You Can Make It If You Try (unissued single version)
12 Soul Clappin' II
13 My Brain (Zig-Zag) (instrumental)