As you'd expect, each of the albums now comes with a gaggle of bonus tracks. None of them are all that revelatory, but the inclusion of the original mono single mixes of the hits is definitely a good idea. Sly's '60s recordings were very well produced for their day, but as was often the case back then, the mono just sounds punchier. And anyway, if you grew up (as I did, truth be told) hearing those records on your AM car radio, this is the Sly you remember.
On the down side, the liner notes (I'm sorry - the critical essays) by seven different journalists are, in general, quite underwhelming. Joel Selvin's notes for 1971's There's a Riot Goin' On are particularly perfunctory - although, to be fair, just about any writing on Riot will come up short compared with Greil Marcus's definitive treatment in his classic Mystery Train. Then again, Selvin's exegesis is À la recherche du temps perdu compared with the stunningly trite musings that the scribe known as Touré unleashes on 1973's Fresh. But let's not delve into this any further except to say that Bud Scoppa's account of the making of 1967's A Whole New Thing has the virtue of at least being informative, if largely recycled.
As for the music, three things need to be said. The first is that, for reasons I find unfathomable, Epic/Legacy chose not to include a remastered version of Greatest Hits in the slipcase of this so-called Collection. Which means that three of Sly's best and most famous songs - "Hot Fun in the Summertime," "Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)," and the transcendently gorgeous "Everybody Is a Star" - are nowhere to be found. Apparently, the label plans to reissue Greatest Hits separately this summer, but it should have been included in the set.
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