Sly and the Family Stone, ‘Higher!’


Aidin Vaziri | The new four-CD box set from Sly and the Family Stone gives fans the opportunity to dissect the stereo, mono and live versions of familiar hit singles like “Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)” and “Dance to the Music.” But it’s the 17 unreleased tracks the San Francisco band knocked out during its heyday that the label is banking on to get most people to splurge. The rarities are hit and miss: There are some unremarkable instrumentals, an amazing version of Otis Redding’s “I Can’t Turn You Loose,” and at least one cut where the band is merely used in service of another Epic artist, such as Johnny Robinson’s bruising psychedelic soul jam, “Dynamite!” The deal maker might be the 104-page booklet that accompanies the music, filled with seldom-seen pictures and artifacts from the era when Sly ruled the world.