One of the biggest success stories of the Woodstock Festival and movie, Sly & The Family Stone built up their international reputation in the years prior to 1969 with such ground-breaking albums as “Dance To The Music” and “M’Lady”. Sly successfully fused soul, funk and rock, in a totally natural way.The music he created then (and in classic later works like There’s A Riot Going On) changed the face of black music for ever. Sly’s ideas not only influenced those working at the popular end of black music (paving the way for such artists as Prince) but also the creative jazz process (affecting the music Miles Davis made on such albums as “On The Corner” and subsequently laying the groundwork rhythms for groups like Herbie Hancock’s Headhunters). “Precious Stone: In The Studio With Sly Stone” is a fascinating exploration of how Sly was to so convincingly integrate rock with dance music. It captures the early recordings he made tor the Autumn label when, as Tom Donahue and Bob Mitchell’s house producer and A&R staffer, the 19-year old Sly also cut many early 60s West Coast rock sides with bands like The Beau Brummels. Between 1963 and 1966, Sly was also leading the house band and MCing at Bay Area spectaculars at the Cow Palace, DJing on KDIA and KSOL and, generally, pulsing to the heartbeat of the emerging West Coast rock and R&B scenes. From the start, Sly produced his own sessions tor Autumn. Often these were unfinished, probably no more than demos or ideas for other artists to use. I’ll Never Fall In Love Again is included here in a fast, previously unissued, version by Bobby Freeman. Sly liked the song enough to include it later on his own “Dance To The Music” album. Freeman also cut C’mon And Swim for Sly and it blasted to the top of the charts, propelling Freeman to the premier position at Autumn. Also of great interest are 4 previously unissued demos Sly made with Billy Preston (all probably remained in the can as Preston was then signed to Vee Jay) and a previously unissued Dance All Night with brother Freddie (later of The Family Stone). 16 of the cuts are previously unreleased tracks. Alec Palao’s detailed sleevenotes tell the early Sly story and the whole package is a must both for fans of Sly Stone and those who savour all things West Coast pop.