1968, Music

Dance to the Music (1968) by Sly and the Family Stone

It’s easy to understand why this band captured everyone’s attention; though the music is undeniably funky for the era, and soulful, there’s also enough of other elements that it’s accessible to people who would not have listened to James Brown or Stax or what have you. It’s significantly less psychedelic than I assumed it was, but that’s pretty typical of a lot of music from 1967 and 1968, which broke from traditional pop rock rules, but was not actually psychedelic. It’s a compelling fusion, though it definitely skews more to the soul and funk side, than the rock side. I want to like it more than I do.

The reason for that is because the material is not great. Aside from the title track, which is an absolute classic, most of the songs here are not very memorable. I can recall the other hit single after I listen but most of the rest of it I can’t really recall once I’ve stopped listening to it. And it’s repetitive, too, as they re-use a couple ideas.

And that’s a shame, because the conceit is relatively novel (though they obviously did it on their debut too) and because this band is very good – it’s no wonder they have these fill showcases, as they are all strong musicians.

With better songs this would probably be a classic record. Alas.


Read my reviews of music from 1968 or read all of my Family Stone reviews.

All songs written by Sylvester Stewart, and produced and arranged by Sly Stone

  1. “Dance to the Music” – 3:00
  2. “Higher” – 2:49
  3. “I Ain’t Got Nobody (For Real)” – 4:26
  4. Dance to the Medley – 12:12:
    1. “Music Is Alive”
    2. “Dance In”
    3. “Music Lover”
  5. “Ride the Rhythm” – 2:48
  6. “Color Me True” – 3:10
  7. “Are You Ready” – 2:50
  8. “Don’t Burn Baby” – 3:14
  9. “I’ll Never Fall in Love Again” – 3:25
  • Sly Stone – vocals, organ, guitar, piano, harmonica, and more
  • Freddie Stone – vocals, guitar
  • Larry Graham – vocals, bass guitar
  • Rose Stone – vocals, piano, keyboards
  • Cynthia Robinson – trumpet, vocal ad-libs
  • Jerry Martini – saxophone
  • Greg Errico – drums
  • Little Sister (Vet Stone, Mary McCreary, Elva Mouton) – backing vocals

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