Sly Family Stone Woodstock

Sly Family Stone Woodstock

I doubt many of the half million people at Woodstock had ever attended a show that had an act come on at 3:30 AM, but that’s when Sly and the Family Stone took the stage. And they took the crowd as well!

They’d only be on stage about 52 minutes, but what an amazing 52 minutes they were. Sly Stone is credited as composer for each of the songs

Band:

Setlist:

  • M’Lady
  • Sing A Simple Song
  • You Can Make It If You Try
  • Medley: Everyday People > Dance To The Music > Music Lover > I Want To Take You Higher
  • Love City
  • Stand!
Sly Family Stone Woodstock

M’Lady

Not that the crowd needed any encouragement, but M’Lady jump starts any sleepiness that may have crept into the bodies of the crowd. A Sly composition, the song came from their nearly year old album, Life.

 

M’Lady, M’Lady
M’Lady, M’Lady
A smile of pleasure,
Beautiful and kind
A pretty face, a pretty face
Oh what a gorgeous mind
Sees me when I, hey,
Give her some attention
Just thought I’d mention that
Give her some time (time, time)
Give her some time (time, time)
Give her some time (time, time)
M’Lady, M’Lady
M’Lady, M’Lady
Hoo now now, hoo now
Hoo now now yeah yeah yeah
M’Lady, M’Lady
M’Lady, M’Lady
Sly Family Stone Woodstock

Sing A Simple Song

Sly Family Stone Woodstock

Sly tells the crowd that they have some equipment problems, so would the crowd rather wait for resolution or forge ahead. The band forges ahead with a second Sly composition from their then most recent album, Stand! released in May.

Sing a simple song
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
I’m talking, talking, talking, talking, talking in my sleep
I’m walking, walking, walking, walking, walking in the street
Time is passing, I grow older, things are happening fast
All I have to hold on to is a simple song at last
Let me hear you say
“Ya, ya, ya, ya, ya
Ya, ya, ya, ya, ya”
Sing a simple song
Try a little do re mi fa so la ti do
Do re mi fa so la ti do
Do re mi fa so la ti do
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
I’m living, living, living life with all its ups and downs
I’m giving, giving, giving love and smiling at the frowns
You’re in trouble when you find it’s hard for you to smile
A simple song might make it better for a little while
Let me hear you say
“Ya, ya, ya, ya, ya
Ya, ya, ya, ya, ya”
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
I’m talking, talking, talking, talking
I’m walking, walking, walking, walking
I’m living, living, living, living
I’m giving love and lovin’ loving
Everybody sing together
Ya, ya, ya, ya, ya
Ya, ya, ya, ya, ya
Sing it in the shower
Sing it every hour
Sing it, sing it, sing it, sing it, sing it, sing it
Sing it with your mother sing it
Sing it, mama, sing it
Sing it with your father sing it
Sing it, papa, sing it, sing it, woo ta ta ta ta ta
Ya, ya, ya, ya, ya, ya, ya
I’m talking now, I’m walking
I’m walking, hey ey ey hey yeah
Okay, okay now
Sly Family Stone Woodstock

You Can Make It If You Try

Another song from Stand! The album would be the band’s most commercially successful.

You can make it if you try
You can make it if you try
Push a little harder
Think a little deeper
Don’t let the plastic
Bring you down
Yeah, yeah, yeah
Yeah, yeah, yeah
You can make it if you try
You can make it if you try
Time still creepin’
‘Specially when you’re sleepin’
Wake up and go
For what you know
Yeah, yeah, yeah
Yeah, yeah, yeah
You can make it if you try
You can make it if you try
You’ll get what’s due you
Everything coming to you
You got to move
If you want to be ahead
Yeah, yeah, yeah
Yeah, yeah, yeah
You can make it if you try
You can make it if you try
Time still creepin’
‘Specially when you’re sleepin’
Wake up and go
For what you know
Yeah, yeah, yeah
Yeah, yeah, yeah
You can make it if you try
Ma-ma-make it
You can make it if you try
Pa-pa-make it
You can make it if you try
You can make it if you try
You can make it if you try
Make it make it make it make it make it make it, make it make it make make it make it
You can make it if you try (da da da)
You can make it if you try
Make it make it make it make it don’t stop make it (good god)
You can make it if you try
You can make it if you try
Make it make it make it make it make it momma, make it momma, make it momma, make it
You can make it if you try
Make it, make it momma, make it momma, awh
Sly Family Stone Woodstock

Medley

Sly Family Stone Woodstock

I’m often surprised that bands mostly play one song at a time as opposed to stringing several together. If a medley has the right combination, a show can be supercharged. That’s why Sly did: Everyday People > Dance To The Music > Music Lover > Higher

Sly Family Stone Woodstock
Everyday People

Again from their Stand! album where it appeared as a stand alone.

Sometimes I’m right and I can be wrong
My own beliefs are in my song
The butcher, the banker, the drummer and then
Makes no difference what group I’m in
I am everyday people, yeah yeah
There is a blue one who can’t accept the green one
For living with a fat one trying to be a skinny one
And different strokes for different folks
And so on and so on and scooby dooby doo
Oh sha sha we got to live together
I am no better and neither are you
We are the same whatever we do
You love me you hate me you know me and then
You can’t figure out the bag I’m in
I am everyday people, yeah yeah
There is a long hair that doesn’t like the short hair
For bein’ such a rich one that will not help the poor one
And different strokes for different folks
And so on and so on and scooby dooby doo
Oh sha sha we got to live together
There is a yellow one that won’t accept the black one
That won’t accept the red one that won’t accept the white one
And different strokes for different folks
And so on and so on and scooby dooby doo
I am everyday people
Dance To The Music

From their 1967 album, Dance To the Music. It had been the band’s first single to reach the Billboard Top 10. There are no long solos in any of the set’s songs, but each member is regularly given their moment in the spotlight.

Get up and dance to the music!
Get on up and dance to the fonky music!
Dance to the Music, dance to the music
Dance to the Music, dance to the music
All we need is a drummer
For people who only need a beat
I’m gonna add a little guitar
And make it easy to move your feet
I’m gonna add some bottom
So that the dancers just won’t hide
You might like to hear my organ
I said ride Sally ride
If I could hear the horns blow
Cynthia on the throne, yeah!
Cynthia and Jerry got a message that’s sayin’
All the squares, go home!
Dance to the Music, dance to the music
Dance to the Music, dance to the music
Music Lover

The song had not appeared on any album to this point, but did appear on the historic Woodstock movie soundtrack release.

Hey music lover
L-O-V-E-R across the nation
What a G-double-O-D vibration

Hey music lover, yeah, yeah
Let us start with the beat
If you like it, move your feet

Hey music lover
Hey music lover
Music for the human race
I’m gonna add some funky bass

Hey music lover
Hey music lover
Don’t wanna be no social drag by playin guitar
Hey music lover
I just wanna sing to you
Cos playin’ dead is hard to do
Hey music lover
Hey-hey-hey it’s alright
Hey-hey-hey-hey-hey it’s alright
Hey music lover
Tryin’ my best to lay it funky style
Don’t wanna put nobody down
Hey music lover

All I wanna do
I wanna take you higher (higher)
Higher (higher)
Higher (higher)
Higher (higher)
Up, up and away, yeah
Up, up and away, yeah

Hey music lover
Hey music lover
Hey music lover
Hey music lover

Woo-ooo…

Up, up and away, yeah (hey music lover)
Up, up and away, yeah (hey music lover)
Up, up and away, yeah (hey music lover)
Up, up and away, yeah (hey music lover)

I Want To Take You Higher

Completing the 4-song medley, I Want To Take You Higher had also appeared on Stand! as a stand alone album. During a brief band-backed interlude, Sly explains to the crowd that he’d like this part to be a sing-along. That it may seem old fashion and that “most of us need approval…need approval from our neighbors before we can actually let it all hang down…but it’s not a fashion, it’s a feeling. If it was good in the past, it’s still good.”

This version is a remake of “Higher,” from the band’s 1968 Dance to the Music LP.

The success of Sly’s hope if proven by listening to the crowd repeatedly echo his shout of “Higher!”

I Want To Take You Higher

Sly Family Stone Woodstock

After a few moment, the medley jumps into I Want To Take You Higher. It was the B-side of their successful single, Stand! As if the crowd needed any more encouragement, the song brings everyone to their feet.

Feeling’s gettin’ stronger
Music’s gettin’ longer too
Music is flashin’ me
I want to, I want to, I want to take you higher
I want to take you higher
Baby, baby, baby, light my fire
I want to take you higher
Boom shaka-laka-laka
Boom shaka-laka-laka
Feeling’s nitty-gritty
Sound is in your city too
Music’s still flashin’ me
Don’t ya, don’t ya, don’t ya want to get higher
Don’t ya want to get higher
Baby, baby, baby, light my fire
Want to take you higher
Boom shaka-laka-laka
Boom shaka-laka-laka
Higher!
Higher!
Higher!
Higher!
Higher!
C’mon light my fire
Want to take you higher
Feeling that should make you move
Sounds is there to help you groove
Music still flashin’ me
Take your places
I want to take you higher
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
I want to take you higher
Baby, baby, baby, light my fire
I want to take you higher
Boom shaka-laka-laka
Boom shaka-laka-laka
Higher!
Let’s take you
Higher!
Do you want to go
Higher!
Just meet me
Higher!
Yes, you do
Higher!
Would you light my fire
Higher!
Wanna take you higher
Boom shaka-laka-laka
Boom shaka-laka-laka
Higher!
I’m feelin’
Higher!
Yeah
Higher!
Higher!
Higher
Just wanna go higher!
Higher!
I wanna take you higher!
Yea, yea
Boom shaka-laka-laka
Boom shaka-laka-laka
Higher!
Always got the slip
Higher!
Ain’t no way to miss
Higher!
Higher!
I wanna take you higher
Higher!
Higher!
I wanna take you higher
Higher!
Boom shaka-laka-laka
Boom shaka-laka-laka
Boom shaka-laka-laka
Boom shaka-laka-laka
Boom shaka-laka-laka
Boom shaka-laka-laka
Everybody higher, higher, higher, higher, higher, higher
Sly Family Stone Woodstock

Love City

Sly Family Stone Woodstock

The encores begin. From the Life album where it was a mere 2 minute 43 second song, this live version is 5:46. At about the 4 minute mark, Sly calls out that he wants them to spell a four-letter word, but his isn’t Country Joe.  The letters are L-O-V-E.

Knowing what works, Sly ends the song with another call for “I want to take you higher!

Love city
Love city
Another generation
Who do you wanna be?
Get into your own thing
Everybody’s free, free, free, free
Love city
Love city
Look into the future
Tell me what you see
Brothers and sisters holding hands
And you sitting next to me, now
Peaceful minds and beautiful heads
You see short and long hair
You just might even see Harry Truman
Groovin’ with ‘The Squares’, yeah
I can see a big reunion
How could we go wrong, now?
All these wonderful people singin’
All these wonderful songs, yeah
Love city, love city
Love city, love city
Love city, love city
Love city, love city
I want it, love city
I want it now, now, now, now
Love city, love city
I want it now, now, now, now
Sly Family Stone Woodstock

Stand!

The crowd still wants more.  Chip Monck  stretches a bit to give the band time to reset and reminds the crowd that The Who are next.

Stand
In the end you’ll still be you
One that’s done all the things you set out to do
Stand
There’s a cross for you to bear
Things to go through if you’re going anywhere
Stand
For the things you know are right
It s the truth that the truth makes them so uptight
Stand
All the things you want are real
You have you to complete and there is no deal
Stand. stand, stand
Stand. stand, stand
Stand
You’ve been sitting much too long

There’s a permanent crease in your right and wrong
Stand
There’s a midget standing tall
And the giant beside him about to fall
Stand. stand, stand
Stand. stand, stand
Stand
They will try to make you crawl
And they know what you’re saying makes sense and all
Stand
Don’t you know that you are free
Well at least in your mind if you want to be

Everybody
Stand, stand, stand

Sly Family Stone Woodstock