Earlier this year, Epic Legacy began the long overdue task of restoring Sly And The Family Stone's original catalog, and reissuing the albums in newly remastered deluxe editions. These came complete with newly discovered tracks, exhaustive liner notes, and all the usual bells and whistles that accompany such projects.
This process culminated with the release of the boxed set Collection, which gathers together all of the tracks from the groundbreaking funk-rock pioneers' seven original studio albums on one massive collection.
It was about time.
Record companies have undertaken many such restoration projects of late — presumably in an effort to keep the core baby-boomer demographic interested in the bread and butter CD format, and from crossing over to the "dark side" of MP3 downloads. From a strictly historical perspective, some of these catalog overhauls have been warranted, while several others have probably not.
But in the case of Sly And The Family Stone, the "remastered" treatment was an absolute necessity. Music obsessives and other record collector types who have publicly groused for years in the pages of magazines like Goldmine and Ice over the poor quality of existing Sly recordings, greeted last spring's remastered editions like manna from heaven itself.
To Epic Legacy's absolute credit, they did a bang-up job too. The new recordings are crisp and clear, and the extra tracks included shed new light on what must have gone into the creative process of a slightly warped genius like Sly Stone. But even with all of that, the project was not complete — at least, until now.
Sly And The Family Stone's Greatest Hits will finally be reissued in its own remastered edition next Tuesday, completing the cycle that began last spring. Unlike the other albums in the series, Greatest Hits will contain no additional bonus tracks. Who needs em'? Breaking the mold of many other so-called best-of packages, Sly's Greatest Hits truly lives up to the promise of its title. Each and every single track on this CD is a bonafide smash — and they all sound great in their digitally enhanced form here.
Even for Sly fans who have all of the other releases now, Greatest Hits is an absolute must. Not only is this the only way you can get all of the band's hits together on a single disc — talk about your ultimate mix tape! — but you also get the otherwise unavailable hits, "Hot Fun In The Summertime," "Everybody Is A Star," and "Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)". Sly And The Family Stone's Greatest Hits is the only album release containing these tracks.