- 21 October 2014
In 1970, The Family Stone were at the peak of their popularity, but the maestro Sly Stone had already moved his head to a completely different space. The first evidence of Sly’s musical about-turn was revealed by the small catalog of his new label, Stone Flower: a pioneering, peculiar, minimal electro-funk sound that unfolded over just four seven-inch singles. Stone Flower’s releases were credited to their individual artists, but each had Sly’s design and musicianship stamped into the grooves–and the words “Written by Sylvester Stewart/Produced and arranged by Sly Stone” on the sticker.
Set up by Stone’s manager David Kapralik with distribution by Atlantic Records, Stone Flower was, predictably, a family affair: the first release was by Little Sister, fronted by Stone’s little sister Vaetta Stewart. It was short lived too–the imprint folded in 1971–but its influence was longer lasting. The sound Stone formulated while working on Stone Flower’s output would shape the next phase in his own career as a recording artist: it was here he began experimenting with the brand new Maestro Rhythm King drum machine. In conjunction with languid, effected organ and guitar sounds and a distinctly lo-fi soundscape, Sly’s productions for Stone Flower would inform the basis of his masterwork There’s A Riot Goin’ On.
The first 45 came in February 1970: Little Sister’s dancefloor-ready “You’re The One” hit Number 22 in the charts–the label’s highest showing. The follow-up, “Stanga," also by Little Sister, made the wah pedal the star. The third release came from 6IX, a six-piece multi-racial rock group whose sole release, a super-slow version of The Family Stone’s “Dynamite," featured only the lead singer and harmonica player from the group. Joe Hicks was the final Stone Flower stablemate; his pulsing, electronic "Life And Death In G&A” is one of the bleakest moments Sly Stone ever created on disc (Hicks’ prior single for Scepter, “Home Sweet Home,” the first released Stone Flower production, is also included).
This compilation of Sly’s Stone Flower era gathers each side of the five 45s plus ten previously unissued cuts from the label archives, all newly remastered from the original tapes. In these grooves you’ll find the missing link between the rocky, soulful Sly Stone of Stand! and the dark, drum machine-punctuated, overdubbed sound of There’s A Riot Going On. I’m Just Like You: Sly’s Stone Flower 1969-70 opens up the mysteries of an obscure but monumental phase in Stone’s career.
1. Little Sister - You're the One (Parts 1 & 2)
2. Sly Stone - Just Like a Baby
3. Joe Hicks - Home Sweet Home (Part 2)
4. 6IX - I'm Just Like You
5. Little Sister - Somebody's Watching You (Full Band Version)
6. Joe Hicks - Life & Death in G & A
7. 6IX - Trying to Make You Feel Good
8. Little Sister - Stanga
9. 6IX - Dynamite
10. Little Sister - You're the One (Early Version)
11. Sly Stone - Africa
12. Joe Hicks - I'm Goin' Home (Part 1)
13. Little Sister - Somebody's Watching You
14. 6IX - You Can, We Can
15. Sly Stone - Spirit
16. 6IX - I'm Just Like You (Full Band Version)
17. Sly Stone - Scared
18. 6IX - Dynamite (Alternate Version)
Rolling Stone review: 3 1/2 stars
- 3 July 2014
Sly & The Family Stone's "If You Want Me To Stay" is one of the songs featured in the new movie, Tammy, starring Melissa McCarthy in theaters now. Can't wait to hear it in the movie? Get the song now at iTunes!
- 11 June 2014
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is staging a variety of free programs related to its interactive exhibit, "Common Ground: The Music Festival Experience.''
The first is at 1 p.m. Friday, June 20, in the Rock Hall's Foster Theater. Lauren Onkey, the vice president of education and public programs, will interview original Sly & The Family Stone members Cynthia Robinson, Greg Errico and Jerry Martini, who played trumpet, drums and sax, respectively, for rock's first integrated, multi-gender band.
And they know their festivals, having been part of Woodstock in 1969 and the 1970 Isle of Wight Festival in the United Kingdom. The event is free with a reservation, available at tickets.rockhall.com or at the Rock Hall box office.
Read more at Cleveland.com.
- 21 May 2014
Legacy Recordings Releasing Studio Rio Presents: The Brazil Connection, Iconic Vocal Recordings Fused With New Brazilian Grooves via Production Vision of The Berman Brothers
Celebrates the All In One Rhythm™ Theme of 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™ With 12 New Brazilian Arrangements of Classic Tracks By Bill Withers, the Isley Brothers, Marvin Gaye, Nina Simone, and More
Tracks From This Innovative Album Are Set To Be Included in
ESPN’s Comprehensive 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™ Coverage Starting June 12th
Studio Rio Presents: The Brazil Connection Digital Release Now Available; 12” Vinyl Due May 27th; CD Arrives On June 23rd
* * * * *
Legacy Recordings, the catalog division of Sony Music Entertainment, will release Studio Rio Presents: The Brazil Connection, an innovative collection of 12 beloved vocal recordings re-experienced through new samba and bossa nova arrangements created by iconic Brazilian musicians and The Berman Brothers. The perfect summer soundtrack party album, Studio Rio Presents: The Brazil Connection includes first single, “Lovely Day (Studio Rio Version)” by Bill Withers with Studio Rio and will be released just in time for the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™, scheduled for June 12th - July 13th. Studio Rio Presents: The Brazil Connection is available now at all digital music providers; the 12” vinyl LP arrives on May 27th with a CD edition following on June 23rd.
Embracing the All In One Rhythm™ Theme of the 2014 FIFA World Cup, Studio Rio Presents: The Brazil Connection blends 12 iconic performances - from Bill Withers, Aretha Franklin, Marvin Gaye, Billie Holiday, Sly & The Family Stone, The Isley Brothers, Mel Tormé, Nina Simone, Johnny Nash, Dave Brubeck with Carmen McRae, Andy Williams and Sarah Vaughan - with new samba and bossa nova arrangements and production inspired by the spirit of Brazilian music.
Tracks from Studio Rio Presents: The Brazil Connection will be included throughout ESPN’s comprehensive coverage of the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™, with multiple songs from the album slated to soundtrack the network’s multi-platform presentation of the quadrennial tournament. In addition, the collection’s “It’s Your Thing” (Studio Rio Version)” by The Isley Brothers with Studio Rio is among the highlights included on Sony Music Entertainment’s recently released One Love, One Rhythm – The Official 2014 FIFA World Cup Album.
Studio Rio Presents: The Brazil Connection is the latest innovative musical project from the award-winning production duo, the Berman Brothers (Frank and Christian). The project saw the Berman Brothers seeking out the original multi-track masters and then utilizing state-of-the-art separation technology from Science of Sounds to extract exquisitely pristine and detailed vocals. The newly isolated vocals were then melded with brand-new, authentic backing arrangements played by Studio Rio, an all-star cast of Brazilian musical pioneers from the bossa nova and samba genres, including Latin GRAMMY® Lifetime Achievement Award winner Roberto Menescal and Brazilian musical legend Marcos Valle.
"Music is the heart and soul of Brazil, celebrating with syncopated beats and beautifully expressive melodies. It’s the life force of the entire culture," wrote the Berman Brothers in their notes for Studio Rio Presents: The Brazil Connection. "We have always had a huge appreciation of Brazilian music. Between us, we have a massive collection of bossa nova and samba recordings, new and old, a lot which we found in flea markets in Amsterdam, Paris, and London.... Once you get into this music, there really is no way to stop. It was this joyful and timeless music that inspired the idea for this collection. Our goal was to bring the Brazilian joie de vivre to iconic performances by well-known American artists like Billie Holiday, Aretha Franklin, Marvin Gaye, The Isley Brothers, and many others. What would these classic songs sound like had they been recorded in the studios of Rio de Janeiro in the first place, with the best Brazilian musicians and arrangers?”
“It was an amazing journey—bringing together these American classics and the vibrancy of Brazilian music with the help of so many talented musicians, arrangers and a dedicated production team. We learned many things putting together this music including what was the most important, and least surprising lesson of all: Brazil is the most musical place we have ever been in our lives.”
The Berman Brothers have a long history of coupling classic and contemporary sounds from around the world, including Rhythms Del Mundo (2006), a cross-cultural album summit which fused an all-star cast of Cuban musicians like Ibrahim Ferrer and Omara Portuondo of the Buena Vista Social Club with US and UK artists and superstars including U2, Coldplay, Sting, Jack Johnson, Maroon5, Arctic Monkeys, Franz Ferdinand, Kaiser Chiefs and others. Rhythms del Mundo was released in more than 61 countries and received multiple sales awards worldwide.
During the past 20 years, the Berman Brothers have received more than 90 gold and platinum awards, two BMI Awards, a GRAMMY® nomination (for "Love One Another," recorded by Cher) and a place in history for their production and remix of the Baha Men's colossal hit, "Who Let the Dogs Out." As producers, writers and publishers, the Bermans have worked with an array of international superstars including Coldplay, Sting, Cher, Real McCoy, Dido, Maroon5, Sophie B. Hawkins, Reamonn, and members of the legendary Buena Vista Social Club.
Studio Rio Presents: The Brazil Connection
1. Bill Withers with Studio Rio - Lovely Day
2. Aretha Franklin with Studio Rio - Walk On By
3. Marvin Gaye with Studio Rio - Sexual Healing
4. Billie Holiday with Studio Rio - You’ve Changed
5. Sly & The Family Stone with Studio Rio - Family Affair
6. The Isley Brothers with Studio Rio - It’s Your Thing
7. Mel Tormé with Studio Rio - I’ve Got You Under My Skin
8. Nina Simone with Studio Rio – I Wish I Knew What It Means To Be Free
9. Johnny Nash with Studio Rio - I Can See Clearly Now
10. Dave Brubeck with Carmen McRae with Studio Rio - Take 5
11. Andy Williams with Studio Rio - Music To Watch Girls By
12. Sarah Vaughan with Studio Rio – Summertime