Review Summary: The Psychedelic Soul/Funk prototype which is overlooked because of its agressive, politically charged brothers.
Whilst everyone raves about the duo of 'Stand!' and 'There's A Riot Goin' on', they do not seem to care as to what came before them. 'Dance to The Music' is a brilliant prototype for Psychedelic Soul and Funk and if you're slightly bemused, like I am, at the heavy themes of 'There's A Riot Going On' this album could be the perfect antedote to your sorrows and sees the band branch out from their debut, more soulful effort, 'A Whole New Thing'. Sly is seen as an emerging talent with bundles of energy and the rest of the band are able to join in this feeling of naive hope, with horns,vocals,guitar and just about any instrument they can get their hands on.
The opener, 'Dance To The Music', is one of the bands most famous songs and seems to be almost an introduction as everyone is seemingly 'greeted' into the band. Ranked 223 in the Rolling Stone 500 songs list it deserves all the credit it gets. For me, its a little too poppy, but hey, its still brilliant. The next track, 'Higher' feels like the epilogue to 'I Want To Take You Higher' and is lighter sounding with comic organ and impressive vocals. This track seems to represent the beginning of the bands story before it gets darker and more serious during the track on Stand! with the similar name. 'I Ain't got Nobody' features a battle between organ and piano creating more depth than is seen in any other song on the album. The wailing vocals express lonliness but this is contrasted by the upbeat sound. The final track on side 1 is the incredible medley which starts off with a tense psychedelic sound and then bursts into life lasting 12 minutes and retaining pace throughout. Its my favourite track from the album, a large number of instrumentals, incredible crescendos and inspiring vocals.
'Ride The Rhythm' starts side 2 off, with matching energy with Sly telling of the problems bands face in the lightest and most fun of ways ('Look at a drummer, keep in time'). 'Colour Me True' presents a more sombre picture of being underpaid and repressed (Origins of Stand! and There's A Riot Goin' On me thinks?) but the mood is lightened again by 'Are You Ready' which features a memorable drumming performance and Sly anthemically shouting 'Areeee You Readdyyy?' whilst telling everyone to get along with each other. 'Don't Burn Baby' is slightly dissapointing with lifeless rhymes but its one savour is that it is easily danceable. 'I'll Never Fall In Love Again' is old sounding but not particulary stand out but the album ends with the delightful 'Soul Clappin'' which features stereotypical funky lyrics, but it doesn't matter by this point, you're too lost trying to dance your funky ass off!