Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Sly & the Family Stone: Greatest Hits [Epic, 1970]
As someone who was converted to Sly over the radio rather than at the Fillmore, I still have my doubts about his albums--even Stand! falters during "Sex Machine." But this is among the greatest rock and roll LPs of all time. The rhythms, the arrangements, the singing, the playing, the production, and--can't forget this one--the rhythms are inspirational, good-humored, and trenchant throughout, and on only one cut ("Fun") are the lyrics merely competent. Sly Stone's gift for irresistible dance songs is a matter of world acclaim, but his gift for political anthems that are uplifting but never simplistic or sentimental is a gas. And oh yeah--his rhythms are amazing. A+