Customer Reviews: Stand!
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on May 3, 2004
To say that Sly & The Family stone were influential is probably an understatement. Prince has admitted many times that he grew up listening to (and loving) Sly & Company's music, and if you listen to Prince's music, you can hear where he got some of his ideas and techniques. George Clinton and Parliament/Funkadelic were influenced as well. Sly was probably the singlemost interesting (not to mention, the baddest) funkmeister this side of James Brown (and for what it's worth, I grew up listening to, and loving the music of other funksters like The Ohio Players, Rufus/Chaka Khan, Earth, Wind & Fire, George Clinton and others.)
1969's _Stand_ is a non-stop joy-fest: it's almost impossible not to feel uplifted after listening to this. Similarly, it'll also be difficult to stay still, as the grooves on here are just sexy, funky, infectious and downright delicious. Sly mixed up genders and races in his band, and when listening to the music, you can feel the celebration of harmony, and desire for transcendence over the many ills that have plagued society for the longest time. It was all about injecting positivity and exuberance into this mix of psychedelic funk, soul and rock, and the sunny vibe that runs throughout this album is one of the many things that make this effort highly intoxicating - so intoxicating, that even after three decades since it's release, listeners are, more than possibly, still feeling drunk from it's juices.
Just take a look at some of the song titles: "Stand!," "I Want To Take You Higher," "You Can Make It If You Try" -- the vibes are positive and spiritually uplifting throughout. And leave it to clever Sly to turn something as controversial and touchy as racism ("Don't Call Me...") into something so sexy, intoxicating, scrumptious and downright orgasmic. It's one of the most powerful forms of irony, I think. A reviewer below says there's not enough substance in the lyrics to support the topic. Well, all I have to say about that, is sometimes it's best to let the music do most -- if not all -- of the talking.. and this music doesn't just talk, it hollers! Just listen to the motif in particular (it opens up the song) where Sly is featured on what sounds like a guitar talk box (not sure if it's that, or a production technique), and how it blends with the trumpet calls, the wah-wah (or what I call the 'wow-wow') pedals, the underlying funky two-note bassline punch, and other subtle things. This particular motif is repeated many times throughout the song. However, when this particular motif is heard the final time, it reaches such an intense climax, as these instruments increase in volume and dynamics, not to mention sprinkles of soulful voices coiling around the whole thing, it becomes a devouring, orgasmic ocean of sound and emotion.
The aforementioned gargantuan of sound heard in the previous track said alot more to me than most things ever have (or could) through words. What is it that this music is hollering about? What is it trying to say? What is it pleading for? Transcendence - it's begging and screaming for transcendence over most of the unfortunate happenings (and stupidity) that plague society - racism being a part of this stupidity.
Elsewhere, tracks like "Sing A Simple Song" will get you to do just that -- sing (and dance) right along, and many people (especially of this generation) must be familiar with "Everyday People," as it's been used in certain commercials (as well as being covered by hip-hop band Arrested Development), and the 13-minute "Sex Machine" gives a bluesy I-IV-V a sexy, intoxicating, psychedelic twist, topped off by a drum solo, and some joyful laughter from Sly and gang at the end of the track.
Not much more can be said from me, as words fail to do this band and album justice. The positivity sadly turned sour on their next effort, 1971's _There's A Riot Goin' On_ (another intoxicating effort), as Sly would fall (deeper) into drug abuse and depression. Sly & The Family Stone's music has influenced countless musicians, and they are revered for good reason. This album is one example of their talent and influence.
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on May 15, 2007
In 1969, Sly & the Family Stone finally found their voice with "Stand!". Continuing his fusion of nearly all sounds he could find while redefining what funk was, leader Sly Stone crafted an album with no less than 4 charting singles, topped off by #1 hit "Everyday People".

The album is dominated by something entirely new-- Stone has taken the band's funk sounds and injected some space, some openness into the music. Take the aformentioned "Everyday People"-- it's a funk song, there's no doubt, but it's got a breeziness to it that's somewhat indefinable (that and an irrestible chorus shouted passionately by the band with Sly on top). Likewise title track "Stand!" has this same openness, almost a California pop song to its verses, again with Stone's soulful vocal leading the way.

But there's something else on here as well, an almost claustrophobically dense sound that's beginning to emerge (and that would define the album's followup "There's a Riot Goin' On"). I think in some capacity it's evident everywhere, but it can most be heard in "Don't Call Me N*gger, Whitey" and the 12 minute jam "Sex Machine"-- a dark, bleak sound that doesn't lend itself to open structure but somehow maintains the same irresistability that the rest of the material has. On the former, Sly Stone sings the chorus with a venom over the dense funk dirge, the latter is wholly instrumental, but in roughly the same vein. Both also feature Sly Stone singing through a vocodor run through a wah-wah pedal to extraordinary effect. One thing about them that's definitely, even at their extended lengths (nearly 6 minutes and over 13 minutes respectively), both of them are incredibly intense and intriguing. Both also highly informed the future of music, be it Miles Davis' superb '70s records or pretty m uch the entire genres of soul, funk, r&b and hip hop.

Perhaps when the album does best is when it sits somewhere in between these-- "Somebody's Watching You" wiht its laid back groove and great dirty guitars ends up being one of the creepiest recordings on record and "I Want to Take You Higher" (a remake of "Higher" from a couple years ago) takes the claustrophobia and uses it to push ecstacy to new heights, proving to be downright overwhelming.

This reissue remasters the record and appends a handful of bonus tracks-- mostly single mixes and a couple unreleased recordings and includes detailed liner notes. Sonically, this improvement is fantastic-- the record is crisp and clear and presented as you'd like it to be. The only complaint I have is the choice to leave off singles "Hot Fun in the Summertime" and double A-side "Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)"/"Everybody is a Star". The three pieces were slated for a followup to "Stand!" that never materialized and ended up being stuck on a "Greatest Hits" record. While strictly speaking they don't belong either here or with this record's followup, it'd've been nice if they were included somewhere with this batch of remasters (for anyone looking, they can be found on "The Essential Sly & the Family Stone").

Bottom line on "Stand!" is that it's one of the great albums of it's era, and together with "There's a Riot Goin' On" forms the peak of Sly & the Family Stone. This is essential listening. Highly recommended.
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on October 29, 1999
This is one of the CDs you can't get away from. It was 1969 when this album by Sly & TFS was released and I bet the people haven't heard & seen something like this before. First of all the musical style: Too positive to be blues, too much rock to be soul and too much soul to be rock - the PROTOTYPE of a FUNK album. Then the look: Sly was the first one dressed in multi-colored clothes onstage what even inspired George Clinton for Parliament and -most of all- Funkadelic. Then they were a multi-racial group. The title track "Stand!" is more related to the Beatles' music in the first part of the song but is transforming into Sly's thang in second. Amazing ! Then the other tracks are reflecting every band member (remind Larry Graham's Central Station), they're full of political attitude (f.e. Stand!, Don't Call Me N*****, Whitey !; Sly's tracking down a guitar sound made with his mouth and Wah-Wah effect), sexual exploitation (a sharp bluesy track called "Sex Machine") and Pop standards ("Everyday People"). Wild things and topics were explored on this OVERLOOKED (yes, it is !)'69 masterpiece and you could also find a bunch of HipHop samples in here like Digital Underground's beat for the "Humpty Dance" (f.e.). It seems that the kids 2day are not interested in this music so the way to teach them simply is HipHop. Sampling kept the FUNK alive. But it's all about the promotion, then Sly would even beat out the Stones... !
Other suggestions are: "There's A Riot Going On", "Dance To The Music", "Life" and "Fresh."
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on September 18, 2000
Maybe the best rock or soul album of the 60's.I first heard this in 1969 in Vietnam and yes there were racial tensions there.This album transcended them and maybe the war itself.A work of genius that is as fresh now as 30 years ago.If this album doesn't get you up and moving nothing will.
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on July 13, 2001
For those of us who were around when this album came out, we remember being blown away. Thirty plus years later, I still am when I still listen to it. I unfortunately couldn't rate it a 5 because of the sound quality. There's some distortion in places and it's missing some low end especially on Larry Graham's bass on "Sex Machine." which is a great jam with an infectious groove anchored by Larry. If you are lucky enough to have or find a vinyl copy, hold on to it. Other than this minor point, there's not a weak minute of music on the disc. Highly recommended.
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This album was one of the first life-changing albums
for me in my musical evolution!
It's just chucked with funk classics, and if you want
to know what the pre-cursor to the funk phenomenon of the 1970's was, then this is it!
( with due respect to JB & "The One!!")
"Stand"--- begat Parliament / Funkadelic,
The Ohio Players, Mandrill, WAR, E,W&F, Cameo,
Graham Central Station (literally!),
Bootsy's Rubberband, The '70's incarnation of the
Isley Brothers, Prince, etc., etc.!!
Not to mention that, quite ironically, a lot of these generational touchstone songs are mere T.V. jingles now!

This was Sly, the genius, before the ravages of drugs and
dissipation clipped his creative wings!---Sly at 1000%!!
Even though he did some great ditties after this album like
"Thank You (Faletinmebemiceelfagin!)", "Everybody Is A Star",
"Hot Fun In The Summertime", "Family Affair",
"You Caught Me Smilin'", Runnin' Away",
"If You Want Me To Stay", "In Time", "Que Sera, Sera"
& "Loose Booty" to name a few...all which had their
impact on later decades as well, this album is his
and that ground-breaking multi-gender / multi-racial
band's funk masterpiece!

Too bad Sly Stone is only a footnote today, because he
didn't stay coherent enough to pimp his legacy like
other great pop artists of the past have!
Because he definitely deserves a place up there with
Hendrix, Brown, Lennon & McCartney, Dylan,
Clinton, Marley, etc.!!
But as long as there are die-hard music purists like myself
and many of the inquisitive young 'unz coming up today
who have boldly dared to pick up real instruments,
hone their craft and learn their music history,
then Sly & The Family Stone's legacy will survive!
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on January 26, 2005
When Sylvester Stewart decided to come out from behind the microphone (as a San Francisco DJ) and focus attention on making music for other DJs to spin, he crafted some of the best funk/R&B ever made. Taking rock solid funk rhythms, melding them to catchy melodies and integration minded lyrics made him one of the late 60s/70s era's big hit makers as well. The title track, "I Want to Take You Higher","Sing a Simple Song", "Everyday People" and "You Can Make it if You Try" all graced the charts.

Listening to these tunes even now, it's obvious why. Sly knows exactly what needs to be added to keep momentum going and the tune interesting: Handclaps and a blaring clarinet figure in "Stand", the "All together now" shouts that punch up "You Can Make it If You Try", the "boom-acka-lacka-lacka-boom" in "I Want to Take You Higher", the "do-re-mi" section of "Sing a Simple Song". Even non-hit "Somebody's Watching You" is tuneful and compelling.

The only complete wash is "Sex Machine" which begins orgasmically with a great guitar riff ridden by what SOUNDS like a guitar talkbox effect that REALLY starts to cook when a second one is added...but unfortunately this goes on WAY past the point when there are still good musical ideas. (It's a 13:45 long instrumental..)

If you're new to Sly, start with the Greatest Hits..they'll give you a reason to delve further into his catalogue. When you start to do that, this is a great album to make your 2nd buy.
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on March 16, 2000
Sly. What an innovator! Seems as if just about every popular group from Chicago Transit Authority to Funkadelic owed Sly many props (not to mention Toyota!)
It was sure hard to top Sly's first album but somehow this one did. "I Want To Take You Higher", "Stand", "Everyday People", "Sex Machine".There was not much better in that time. This music still sounds great today, with sharp horn sections, LIVE vocals, and driving rhythms.
Wonderful music. Great messages. It doesn't get any better than this.
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on July 9, 2003
I first got into Sly and The Fam when I listened to "Theres A Riot Goin On". I thought that could not be beaten.I mean the albums incredible, from the begaining with the kick bum " Luv and Haight" to the mind blowing " Space cowboy" and "Running Away". The sort of dread that laces the album also stands out. Then through friends I was introduced to "Life" and then " Stand". what a pair of albums, you have everything. "Stand" just blows me away.From long musical exchanges from rock to funk, to stunning melodys that even Brian Wilson and Arthur Lee cant match and then the lyrics. The production is also worth mentioning. In the history of popular music the great producers are Brian Wilson and Phil Specter and George Martin. Well Sly, who produces most of the albums that the Family have done, just has a complete knack of making the music sound so complete. Buy it and be blown away.
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on February 18, 2000
One of the greatest albums ever made. My Stero never sounded better. Everyone was talking about this record when it came out. Its almost like a greatest hit tape,you want to play the whole Album. "Stand," "You can make it if you Try," and "Everyday People,"really helped alot of people who lost there way in the 60's. Prince couldn't come close to Sly when he was in his prime. I bought a couple of Albums after this one,but this is by far the best Sly and the Family Stone have recorded.
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