Riot in Mojo

Reproduced below is a 4-Star review of Miles Marshall Lewis’s book about Sly Stone, from the October issue of Mojo.


While focusing primarily on Sly Stone’s chillingly ambivalent snapshot of post-“Love Decade” unrest, acclaimed essayist Miles Marshall Lewis stretches the conventions of Continuum’s 33 1/3 series on specific albums, offering heartfelt insight into the bitter arc of the Family Stone’s career, and the grander malaise that contributed to their downfall. Lewis’s track-by-track analysis is informed and impassioned, exploring the murk of distressed funk and murmured paranoia, while an opening, novelistic father-and-son conversation sets a mise en scène of social uprising and progressive soul with effective subtlety. Quotes drawn from Dave Marsh’s brilliant (and out-of-print) Stone oral history give crucial context, and Lewis doesn’t shy away from the dirt of the Riot sessions’ nihilistic hedonism. But it’s his ability to make sense of this album’s cocktail of crushed optimism and acrimonious revolt that makes this volume so impressive. — By Stevie Chick

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