Heard You Missed Me, Well I’m Back was the ninth and last album of original material that Sly Stone recorded for the Epic Label. 1975’s High On You had been credited to only Sly so now he returned to a group concept. The problem was The Family Stone, except for vocalist and trumpet player Cynthia Robinson, was long gone. A bevy of musicians were brought in to give the appearance of a working group, but ultimately it came down to basically another solo effort.
Sly continued to have problems outside the studio. Bankruptcy, divorce, and continual drug use led to him constantly missing concert dates. Musically the title was a statement that he was returning to his old style of music. In reality there were a few funk tracks but many of the songs came perilously close to a pop sound. It all added up to a critically panned album and a commercial disaster. It did not even make the Billboard top 200 and caused his long time label to drop him from their roster of artists. Likely adding insult to injury was that his former bass player, Larry Graham, and his group Graham Central Station, were a top selling funk group at the time.
This is yet another Sly album that I have not listened to in decades. When I place it in context of what was being released in 1976 it does not compare well. There are really only three tracks that have merit. The title song is the best of the lot. It is a classic funk track with a nice brass sound woven around very danceable rhythms. “Blessing In Disguise” has a mellow groove and an excellent lead vocal. “Everything In You,” likewise, has a nice vocal but its intertwining of horns and strings is what makes it interesting.