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Wednesday, December 19, 2001

The Jam: The Larry Graham & Graham Central Station Anthology

Posted By on Wed, Dec 19, 2001 at 12:00 AM

When Larry Graham put Graham Central Station together, he may have saved a lot of souls caught in limbo after he left Sly & the Family Stone. GCS probably sang the sentiments of Graham fans when they said, “We’ve been waiting for so long.”

GCS’ music is chicken soup for the soul. Its sound picked up where Sly left off, utilizing a raw blend of harmonies consisting of hot tenor riffs and first soprano notes, with dashes of bass. Guitars and horns were a hallmark of songs such as “Can You Handle It?” and “People.”

’70s funk was the hood’s celebration of humanity. And Graham Central Station’s music provided an escape from the tension of America’s dense social and political climate, without forgetting the issues of the day. This is evidenced in the commentary of “Hair,” GCS’ discussion of the rebellious symbolism of long locks. This compilation underscores the importance of Graham Central Station to ’70s funk, and Larry Graham’s indispensability as one of its leaders.

Find more great recordings to grab and wrap this season, including a DIY Detroit garage-rock box set, and Rhino's comprehensive collections of American black music ("wonderfully balanced ... a timeless gift"), '70s soul ("a six-disc trip through the funkiest era in American music") and Graham Central Station ("chicken soup for the soul"). Metro Times musical experts also report on the year's very best jazz and classical recordings. There's something for everyone!

Khary Kimani Turner writes about music for Metro Times. E-mail letters@metrotimes.com.

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