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There's a Riot Goin on

46 customer reviews

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Audio CD, July 13, 2010
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Frequently Bought Together

There's a Riot Goin on + Stand! + Fresh
Price for all three: $23.42

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Editorial Reviews

Riot is unlike any of Sly & the Family Stone's other albums. Stripped of the effervescence that flowed through his previous albums, it is a dark come down from the late '60's high. What makes Riot so remarkable is that it's hard not to get drawn in with him, as you're seduced by the narcotic grooves, seductive vocal slurs, leering electric pianos, and crawling guitars. Featuring the hits ''Family Affair'' (You Caught Me) Smilin''' and now with 4 bonus tracks.

1. Luv N' Haight
2. Just Like a Baby
3. Poet
4. Family Affair
5. Africa Talks to You "The Asphalt Jungle"
6. Brave & Strong
7. (You Caught Me) Smilin'
8. Time
9. Spaced Cowboy
10. Runnin' Away
11. Thank You for Talkin' to Me Africa
12. Runnin' Away
13. My Gorilla Is My Butler
14. Do You Know What?
15. That's Pretty Clean

Product Details

  • Audio CD (July 13, 2010)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Epic
  • ASIN: B0013384JW
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7,886 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

34 of 36 people found the following review helpful By Michael Stack VINE VOICE on May 16, 2007
Format: Audio CD
Sly and the Family Stone's "Stand!" was an album of optimism and the brightness of '60s counterculture, but creeping just below the surface on that record was a darkness and claustrophobia-- an edge that separated "Stand!" from any of its predecessors or its peers. That darkness is the sound of "There's a Riot Goin' On", Sly Stone's bleak masterpiece, in its way the sound of civil unrest and, in my assessment, the greatest funk album ever recorded.

When I speak of claustrophobia, I mean it as a production vaue, and it's something evident throughout the record. There's a density to the record, even on the looser and less arranged pieces, that really sets the tone for the album. And while not all the album's songs have a message to match this claustrophobia, it does have a tendency to make even the optimistic material sound like you're trying to remember a dream after you've woken up. Take single "Family Affair"-- it's loose, based around a gentle pop vocal hook and is presented with a smooth baritone lead, but it sounds like "Stand!" dragged through the mud. It works out fantastically. All of this is accentuated by the tendency to move towards funk vamps for everything-- sometiems as much as seven minutes of the same riff feeds into this feeling of density.

But really, it's dark funk that dominates the record throughout-- wah wah guitars, dirty basslines, snapping horns, and Sly Stone vocalizing and singing all over the map, fierce and at times nearly out of control-- opener "Luv N' Haight" and Brave & Strong" are two fine examples of this.
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28 of 30 people found the following review helpful By B. Bowman on February 15, 2006
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This is one of my favorite CD's of all time. If you are considering buying this do yourself a favor and get this version (the import) rather than the U.S. version available for $9.99. Sonically I didn't notice too much of a difference between the two, but it's worth the extra few bucks for the packaging alone: this edition has a glossy cardboard case with the original cover, photos, and liner notes. The other version has an alternate cover (a live shot of the band onstage) and NO information of any kind offered aside from the track listing. This album has a famously muddy sound. I've heard several theories as to why, most seem to center around Sly Stone's increasing drug use at the time this album was recorded. However, the dark quality of the production fits the music and never affected my opinion of the album. I was not alive when this was released in the early seventies, but I can imagine the shock that listeners must have experienced upon absorbing this release as a whole. The optimistic anthems of Sly's music in the sixties were replaced by grinding funk with a bleak and bitter tone. As one looks back at the period in which this music was recorded, the sense of disillusion was not just Sly's; a general sense that many of the ideals of the 1960's had died with the end of the decade was prevalent among many of the "flower power" generation. (As far as Sly's drug intake at this point was concerned, I'm sure that didn't help either. I read that he sank over a million dollars into building his infamous "Pit", the creation of which was to give users a place to use and hang out.) Regardless of the circumstances, this disc is addictive. Every song is bass heavy and funky, which often makes me forget about the bleakness of the lyrics altogether.Read more ›
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By finulanu on May 27, 2008
Format: Audio CD
If you're wondering what the big deal about Sly is, start here. Sly's famous "response" to Marvin Gaye's What's Going On is his masterpiece, a dark, murky funk album recorded while he was in the deepest throes of his depression. His drug dependency was hurtling out of control, his band was collapsing, and he had lost all faith in the counterculture he once banked his life on. Conflicts within the band got so bad that most of it was actually performed by Sly alone - any other musicians there may have been were dubbed in later. More proof that the best of music often comes from the worst of times. The album doesn't seem like a collection of individual songs, but instead a dark, deep, murky stew of foreboding grooves. But for simplicity's sake I'll describe these songs individually. "Family Affair" was the #1 hit, and its primitive drum machine rhythm is way ahead of its time - it also boasts a fine chorus (co-sung by Rosie Stone) and electric piano (courtesy of Billy Preston). And while it's the best song on the album, there are plenty of competitors. Like all of them. "Brave and Strong" has wonderful slap bass, horns and organ; "Poet", some of the best lyrics on the album; "Just Like a Baby" contains a beautifully melancholy melody; "You Caught Me Smilin'" is a light, mellow break from all the menace; "Luv `n' Haight" is a powerful indictment of the hippie culture; the gentle waltz "Time" is at once mournful, soothing, and desperate; the tripped-out yodeling on "Spaced Cowboy" is a blast and much-needed comic relief; "Running Away" makes for a triumphant, if wizened, return to the Family's old sound.Read more ›
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