Nov 18

Sly and the Family Stone: “Loose Booty”


One of Sly’s last grasps at normalcy before a deep dive into drug-fueled madness.

Hey! Long time no read! I’m back after a long absence. Didn’t go anywhere, in particular — just haven’t been posting. My apologies if that has been disappointing, but trust me, you can’t be any more disappointed than I am that it has been so long. But I have an advance announcement that might be of interest to the more music-geeky among you: Reselect will soon be adding a podcast to its array of media offerings! Yes, now you’ll have not just one, but two (2!) options to choose from: a blog and a podcast. That’s if you don’t count the aborted attempt at a YouTube video show earlier this year. (Feel free to go check out the three episodes that were posted before we decided it was too much trouble to worry about the video setup. I also hate watching myself talking — don’t say I didn’t warn you.)

The podcast, tentatively entitled “The Reselect Music Saloon,” will include those YouTube video episodes converted to audio-only (thank god), in addition to new episodes where we will select an artist and dig deep into their catalog between shows and then discuss our thoughts about their discography. My co-host for the podcast will be my ol’ buddy ol’ pal Eric Greene, and if the episode about Sly and the Family Stone that we recently recorded is any indication, these could be extended listening — we had a lot to discuss! In any case, the podcasts are not yet available, but I will post here again to let you know when they are.

In the meantime, I’m posting a Sly and the Family Stone song here that really grew on me as I did my in-depth listening for that episode: “Loose Booty,” from Sly’s 1974 album, Small Talk. I was very familiar with their output up through and including the 1973 album, Fresh, but beyond that I hadn’t done a lot of listening, based on iffy reviews that I’d read. But despite Small Talk getting a lot of flack from critics, I actually found it quite enjoyable overall (save for the crying baby on the opening title track) and only a smallish step down from their better work. For most other artists it would have been considered an excellent album, but when you’re talking about someone as remarkable as Sly Stone, the bar had been set very high.

I’m not the only one who recognized some of the album’s greatness: “Loose Booty” is the song that the Beastie Boys sampled to build their song “Shadrach,” from Paul’s Boutique. Much of “Loose Booty” features sly repeating the refrain “Shadrach, Meshach, Abednego” — the part the Beastie Boys so deftly sampled. As it turns out, those are the names of three Jewish youths featured in a story from the Bible, and if I was more inclined to do so I might relate that story, but I’m not, so you’ll have to go Google it for yourself like I did. But don’t worry too much about needing to, because there really is absolutely no purpose that I can see in Sly repeating those names in a song called, of all things, “Loose Booty.” He sure sounds good doing it, though, because it makes for one hell of a funky song. He overdubs himself on those lyrics at the beginning of the song, in a higher-pitched voice, giving it a real sense of urgency — underscored by the backing vocals and the way the song bursts into life, like you’ve just thrown open the doors to the dance floor at a club only to find everyone already getting down. And getting down is exactly what you’ll be doing as you put “Loose Booty” on repeat both here and in your head for the next few days. It has a way of getting in there and not letting go, so don’t say I didn’t warn you.

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