Sly Stone I’m Back! Family And Friends
A true genius of pop music, Sly Stone demands attention any time he offers up new music. But contrary to its emphatic title, I’m Back! Family And Friends isn’t so much a full-fledged comeback album as a mildly inspiring three-song EP surrounded by truly horrible re-recordings and remixes of Stone’s biggest hits of the late ’60s and early ’70s. It’s shameful how little of the adoration and respect that songs like “Dance To The Music” and “Everyday People” have earned over the years seems to be felt by Stone himself on I’m Back! The album plays like a perverse experiment proving that even classic, universally beloved pop tunes can be ruined by lethargic performances featuring “family and friends” like Ray Manzarek and Johnny Winter, and lifeless recordings overseen by a tragically deluded artist. But the covers are nothing compared to the embarrassing “dubstep mix” treatment given to “Family Affair,” or the “electro club” redux of “Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin),” which are the definition of worthless filler. The saddest part of I’m Back! is that so much rehashed garbage obscures three fairly decent new songs, including the funky nonsense of “Plain Jane” and the psychedelic spiritual “His Eye Is On The Sparrow.” Neither track justifies the existence I’m Back! but they indicate that any future “new” Sly Stone albums might be worth a listen.