Stone Jam

by: Slave

The funk of the late '70s and early '80s can be divided into two main categories: hardcore funk (Parliament/Funkadelic, Cameo, Rick James, the Gap Band, the Ohio Players) and the type of smoother, so-called "sophisticated funk" associated with Rufus & Chaka Khan, Average White Band, Chic and Teena Marie. Slave first made a name for itself nationally playing the sweatiest, hardest funk, but when singer/drummer Steve Arrington's role in the Dayton, OH outfit increased, Slave shifted to more of a "sophisti-funk" approach. Except for "Sizzlin' Hot" and the title song, there's little on Slave's fifth album, Stone Jam, that can be called hardcore funk. From the laid-back hit "Watching You" to addictive jams like "Dreamin'," "Feel My Love" and "Let's Spend Some Time," this sleeker, consistently melodic Slave is every bit as appealing as the Slave that gave us such aggressive gems as "Slide" and "Screw Your Wig on Tite." Arrington's lead vocals played a major role in the success of this gold album (which Rhino reissued on CD in 1997), and the sexy lead singing of Starleana Young (who would soon make Aurra successful) certainly didn't hurt things either. ~ Alex Henderson

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