Some Sunday Love: “Stand!” Sly and the Family Stone, 1969
Are you fired up and ready to go? This is a salute to all those delegates at the Democratic Convention, representing their families, communities, and their deeply-held points of view. This is also for those with like values who watched them on TV, and may have regained a sense of confidence, hope and/or pride and purpose.
What is Stand? It’s both an album and a song by Sly and the Family Stone. It was their fourth studio album and the second to become a commercially successful album. It has been called their breakout album, which included the songs, “Everyday People,” and “I Want to Take You Higher,” and “Sing a Simple Song,” as well as this one.
Stand! begins with the title track. Sly Stone sings lead on “Stand”, which plays out as a mid-tempo number for two minutes before launching into a gospel break for the final forty-nine seconds of the song. Most of the Family Stone was unavailable for the session where Sly recorded the final version of the gospel extension, and he, drummer Gregg Errico, and horn players Cynthia Robinson and Jerry Martini used session players instead. Errico recalls that many liked the gospel extension more than they did the song proper: “People would always ask, ‘why didn’t you go there and let that be the song?’”
I know. That extension is the signal for dancing, prophesying and joyful music. After struggle, there is joy. Stevie Wonder used such an extension in a less political manner in his last song on Fulfillingness’ First Finale, called “Please Don’t Go,” in which he pleads for his woman not to leave him crying for her loving in the midnight hour. There is joy in that pain there.
Joy at being able to love and affirm, and in reaching out beyond himself. And so it is, at times, with political activism. We are nothing without each other in these parlous times.
So get fired up and take a stand. There is one more month until Election Day. Be strong and don’t let anything in the days ahead turn you around.
- Family Stone, minus Sly, to play on USS Midway (utsandiego.com)
- Sly & the Family Stone Greatest Hits (cmoneyspinner.wordpress.com)
- Sly and the Family Stone (greatamericanthings.net)
- Song Of The Day – Sly and The Family Stone – “If You Want Me To Stay” (joebeans2002.wordpress.com)