As we head towards our 2nd anniversary here on Gazfunk (where has the time gone?) I’ve always been keen to try and feature the lesser known names in the funk & soul world. Occasionally though we have featured some of the big hitters but sadly this has mainly been down to their untimely passing. Today’s update brings into focus one of THE most important figures in funk history and someone who is long overdue a feature on the blog.
Those who know me will know that I have little time (or love for) funk & soul music of the 80s. In my humble opinion this is where it lost it’s way. Gone were the uptempo sounds of Motown & Stax and the rawness & gritty sound of 70s funk delivering a message about the streets and in it’s place was this over produced, cleanly packaged schmaltzy “soul” as popularised by artists like Alexander O’Neill & Luther Vandross amongst others. One just needs to listen to the output of soul legends like Smokey Robinson & Stevie Wonder (particularly tracks like “Being With You” & “I Just Called To Say I Love You”) to see where soul music was going horribly wrong.
However just before this style of soul/funk became de rigueur in the early eighties, one man was still making records that continued on with his much loved (and highly regarded) musical style. That man was Sly Stone. Listen to this track taken from his 1979 comeback album (one of many!) “Back On The Right Track” and this could easily sit alongside any of his great works during the previous decade. So let’s all raise a glass to Mr Sylvester Stewart as he certainly remembered who he was!