Known more in recent months for its hip-hop deluxe editions, Get On Down has always been about SOUL, with multiple classics from the African diaspora – from the blues of Muddy Waters to the otherworldly reggae of Lee “Scratch” Perry – shining amongst its label discography.
For proof, look no further than our new “Gold Edition” CD box of Sly & The Family Stone’s There’s A Riot Goin’ On. The album is available for pre-sale now and will be available at www.GetOnDown.com and fine stores everywhere on July 30.
The CD box boasts some very unique features, including a “24k Audiophile Gold Disc,” with embedded 24-karat gold (as seen in recent deluxes like Nas’ Illmatic and Ghostface Killah’s Ironman).
Most striking of all may be the unique, embroidered flag cover, presented on the set’s CD box cover as an actual embroidered fabric square. This is a tribute to the album’s original cover, which was, in future years, replaced by Sly’s record label with a different cover image. Its recreation has been carefully overseen by Get On Down to reflect and represent the original.
Beyond that, the “Gold Edition” includes an impressive 48-page hard-cover liner notes book, with new essay by A. Scott Galloway and more than 20 photos and album-related images.
Oh, and there’s that truly incredible music as well….
42 years after its original release, debates still simmer about Sly’s fifth studio LP, praised as one of the greatest albums ever by fans and musicians, but ranked only #99 in a list of the “500 Greatest Albums of All Time” by Rolling Stone (in 2003). On the other side of the coin, noted rock critic Robert Christgau gave the album a retroactive “A+” rating in his Village Voice “Consumer Guide” (after his initial 1971 rating of “A-.”)
No matter how fans and critics have ranked it, it remains perhaps Sly’s most complex and perplexing work.
After two years in production, the follow-up to Sly & The Family Stone’s 1969 smash Stand! was unveiled to the world in November 1971. Not only did it contain radio hits like “Family Affair,” “Runnin’ Away,” and “(You Caught Me) Smilin’,” it also – in true Sly fashion – dove deeper into a trippy sonic and lyrical universe that explored societal tensions (“Brave & Strong”), the motherland (“Thank You For Talkin’ To Me Africa”), personal relationships (“Just Like A Baby”) and artistic expression itself (“Poet”).
There were three singles released from the album: “Family Affair,” “Runnin’ Away” and “(You Caught Me) Smilin’.” The Album reached # 1 on both the Pop and R&B charts and, years later, was certified platinum, gaining tens of thousands of new fans with each passing year.
As noted journalist A. Scott Galloway explains in the set’s extensive liner notes book, knowing the background of the album’s recording is essential to a deeper understanding of what Sly was going through at the time:
“The songs that comprised There’s A Riot Goin’ On were recorded in three places: The Record Plant studio in Sausalito, his custom Winnebago motor home with state of the art studio and, primarily, in an elaborate home studio that previous owners John & Michelle Phillips had built into the attic of Sly’s $12,000 a month Bel Air abode … Master tapes were recorded on and erased to the point of massive oxidation resulting in excess hiss. Some tapes disappeared altogether. Six engineers and a consultant are credited, pushed to their limits of patience, professionalism and sanity. Stress on Stone ranged from Epic hounding him for past due product to the Black Panther Party pressuring him to drop the band’s non-Black members as well as their White manager [David] Kapralik … It is in this seamy Southern California cauldron where menace married bliss that There’s A Riot Goin’ On emerged from the deep. Composed by Sylvester Stewart and produced by Sly Stone, the album feels like a man in a tug of war with who he has become vs. who he has always strived to be.”
Galloway also recounts the story of the iconic original album cover:
“In an interview with Jonathan Dakss … Sly definitively explained his concept for the cover art as it related to the overall theme of the album: ‘I wanted the flag to truly represent people of all colors. I wanted the color black because it is the absence of color. I wanted the color white because it is the combination of all colors. And I wanted the color red because it represents the one thing that all people have in common: blood. I wanted suns instead of stars because stars to me imply searching, like you search for your star. And there are already too many stars in this world. But the sun, that’s something that is always there, looking right at you. Betsy Ross did the best she could with what she had. I thought I could do better.’”
That flag has been recreated by Get On Down to bring texture and feel to an album which is already full to the brim with feeling. It’s another way to pay tribute to one of the late 20th century’s musical geniuses: a man who brought fans together during one of America’s most turbulent eras.
To pre-order this impressive new “Gold Edition” deluxe or to get more information and images, GO HERE!