Friday, June 19, 2015

“The Same Thing (Makes You Laugh, Makes You Cry)” by Sly & the Family Stone

The groundbreaking multi-genre band Sly & the Family Stone dropped this terrific underrated track back in 1979. The song is about life’s many paradoxes—how seemingly positive things could also have a negative component. The track boasts a moseying funk groove, which is deftly anchored by Keni Burke’s loafin’ bass line. The track also features some sweet guitar licks and cool talk-box work. And Sly delivers a strong lead vocal performance. His distinctive, malleable voice is in top-form here. Additionally, the background singers provide great support with their soulful, gospel-laced vocals.

This track was written by Sly and was a single from the Family Stone’s tenth studio album Back On The Right Track (1979). The collection was meant to be Sly’s big comeback LP—hence, the title. Unfortunately, the album failed to really catch fire. Its two singles (“Remember Who You Are” and “The Same Thing (Makes You Laugh, Makes You Cry)" didn’t crack the charts, and the album itself mainly got mixed reviews from most music critics, as well as failing to chart. It’s a solid collection of tracks, but it doesn’t measure up to the innovative and sterling recordings released during the band’s peak years (1968-’73).

In addition to Sly, the other original Family Stone members who played on the album were Cynthia Robinson (trumpet), Freddie Stone (guitar, vocals), Pat Rizzo (saxophone) and Rose Stone (vocals). Sly contributions on the album:  keyboards, vocals, harmonica and songwriting.

Some of the other musicians who played on the album included Alvin Taylor (drums), Keni Burke (bass), Ollie E. Brown (percussion) and Hamp Banks (guitar).

Back On The Right Track marked the first time that Sly didn’t produce his own album. The collection was produced by acclaimed music producer, arranger, songwriter and keyboardist Mark Davis. 

The Same Thing at Amazon

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