The story behind the making of the album that signaled the descent of Sylvester Sly Stone Stewart into a haze of drug addiction and delirium is captivating enough for the cinema. In the spacious attic of a Beverly Hills mansion belonging to John and Michelle Phillips (of the Mamas and the Papas), during the fall of 1970, Sly Stone began recording his follow-up to 1969's Stand!, the most popular album of his band's career.
Narrator Bill Quinn's conversational tone quickly builds a rapport with listeners, which suits the intimate feel of this analysis of Sly and the Family Stone's infamous fifth album There's a Riot Goin' On. Using his own personal history to introduce and examine Sly's importance to his fans and to African American culture in general, writer Miles Marshall Lewis sets up the colorful background of the album's recording. Quinn provides an earnest counterpoint to Lewis' critical eye, although he applies a more somber tone to the stories about Sly's tragic descent into drug addiction. Fans will particularly enjoy the perceptive song analyses which Quinn convincingly delivers.
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