The holidays have dawned upon us again and it seems as if the unveiling of them gets sooner and sooner each year. In a world that has seen one of its toughest and tragic years in 2015, the beauty of the holidays is more than a traditional, religious bent, but more about the communion of people and the act of humanity that seems to crawl from the cobwebs only during this time for some people. Regardless of the volume rate, whenever something can collectively bond people together with a sense of energy that runs placid and empathetic, there’s something to be said about the perennial emotion that gets reserved for this time of year. And of course with this year, comes the giving and receiving of gifts and good cheer. And as is my wont for the past few years now, I too have been rather perennial in my choices for key music items to bestow upon good friends and loved ones this time of year. So here’s some picks for this some of this years A-list offerings in music. As usual, this list goes to eleven.
Here’s the Holiday Geek Gift Guide 2015 for Music…
Happy birthday today to one of music’s true eccentrics and geniuses, Sly Stone, who with his Family Stone, concocted a blend of genres like R&B, funk, light rock and roll, pop, and even psychedelia into one seamless quilt of songs and sounds that are still passionately loved, remembered, and influential to this day, the master songwriter/songcrafter and ultimate showman.
With songs like “Everyday People,” “Dance to the Music,” “Thank You Fallentinme Be Mice Elf (Agin),” “Stand” “Family Affair,” “If You Want Me To Stay,” “Hot Fun in the Summertime,” “Everybody is a Star,” “I Want To Take You Higher,” and plenty more, spanning albums through the mid 1960s to the early 1970s, when the band experienced a dizzying carnival ride of success before excess made it spin out of control, largely due to its leader, Sly and the Family Stone ushered in a multi-racial, kind of party-esque musical atmosphere that everyone was allowed to metaphorically imbibe on, a rainbow that everyone was able to surf on, an idyllic ocean filled with waves of notes and good vibes.
Anthology, an expansive collection of the best, most well-known work from Sly and the Family Stone, is now available in MP3 format from Amazon now for only $5.00 as part of their monthly $5 MP3 Album Deals.
Sly and The Family Stone remains an R&B ensemble who not only bridged together multi-racial unity within their lineup – being one of the first, if not the first, bands to sport black and white members (a practice that bands like War and Santana would also later utilize) – but also attempted to do that same bridging with their audience. The band acted as sort of the link between Motown, which brang classic R&B/pop to Caucasian audiences on an innocent assembly line and what was going on over at Stax Records, which was decidedly more African-American its approach and its output. Sly and the Family Stone changed their flavors and their styles often. They kept it light, they kept it heavy, they kept it relevant and irrelevant. They played it high, they played it low, they played it political, apolitical, and ultimately, they became a party band and a radical one as well.