Small Talk (Sly and the Family Stone album)

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Small Talk
Studio album by Sly and the Family Stone
Released July 1974 (1974-07)
Recorded 1974
Genre Funk, soul
Length 40:30
Label Epic (PE 32930)
Producer Sly Stone
Sly and the Family Stone chronology
Small Talk
High on You
(Sly Stone)
(1975)High on You1975
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 3/5 stars[1]
Austin Chronicle 2/5 stars[2]
Robert Christgau (C)[3]
Džuboks (mixed)[4]
The Guardian 2/5 stars[5]
Let It Rock (favorable)[6]
Rolling Stone 3/5 stars[7]
Uncut 2/5 stars[8]

Small Talk is the seventh album by Sly and the Family Stone, released by Epic/CBS Records in 1974. This album was the final LP to feature the original Family Stone, which broke up in January 1975.

Small Talk's singles were "Time For Livin'" (the band's final Top 40 hit) and "Loose Booty", an up-tempo funk track which uses the names of Bible characters Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego as a chant. Pictured on the album cover with Sly in a photograph by Norman Seeff are his then-wife Kathleen Silva and his son Sylvester, Jr.

In addition to its standard stereo release, Small Talk was also released in quadraphonic sound.

Beastie Boys sampled the words Shadrach, Meshach, Abednego on the track "Shadrach" from the album Paul's Boutique (1989). Beastie Boys also covered "Time For Livin" which was released on the album Check Your Head in 1992 along with a live music video.[9]

Music and lyrics[edit]

The album is more mellow and restful than earlier efforts, critic Alex Stimmel observes.[10] prominence of strings distinguishes the album from earlier recordings by the band, and violin player Sid Page is credited as a band member. According to critic Alex Stimmer, the string section is used to "cushion the mood, augment vocal lines, create melodies, or sting riffs once reserved for horns."[11] Stimmer writes that this aspect of the music shows Sly Stone as "the producer-genius that he was." Other than that, the album has a spare sound in comparison to the band's earlier records. More than half the tracks include studio chatter, which according to Stimmel makes for "an air of spontaneity from the sessions, as if the tape was just rolling and the band was finally having a good time again."[10] In addition to the single releases, other hard funk counterpoints to the mellow tunes are "Can't Strain My Brain" and "Better Thee Than Me".[10]

Some lyrics reflect the familial love, Sly Stone having been recently married, yet the message music characteristic of the '60s hits returns for the last time in the "raucous, vengeful 'Time For Livin'".


The cover of the album showed a picture of Sly, his wife Kathleen Silva, and baby Sly, Jr. On 5 June 1974 the pair were married onstage at Madison Square Garden; the marriage lasted five months.[10]

Track listing[edit]

All tracks written by Sylvester Stewart, save for "Small Talk", written by Sylvester Stewart and W. Silva. All songs produced and arranged by Sly Stone for Fresh Productions.

Side one[edit]

  1. "Small Talk" – 3:22
  2. "Say You Will" – 3:19
  3. "Mother Beautiful" – 2:01
  4. "Time For Livin'" – 3:17
  5. "Can't Strain My Brain" – 4:09

Side two[edit]

  1. "Loose Booty" – 3:47
  2. "Holdin' On" – 3:39
  3. "Wishful Thinkin'" – 4:26
  4. "Better Thee Than Me" – 3:35
  5. "Livin' While I'm Livin'" – 2:58
  6. "This is Love" – 2:54

CD bonus tracks[edit]

Added for 2007 limited edition compact disc reissue:

  • "Crossword Puzzle" (early version)
  • "Time For Livin'" (alternate take)
  • "Loose Booty" (alternate take)
  • "Positive" (previously unreleased instrumental)



  1. ^ Small Talk at AllMusic
  2. ^ Gray, Christopher; Fri.; 4, May; 2007. "Sly & the Family Stone". Retrieved 8 July 2017. 
  3. ^ "Robert Christgau: CG: Sly". Retrieved 8 July 2017. 
  4. ^ Vrdoljak, Dražen. "Sly and the Family Stone". Džuboks (in Serbian). Gornji Milanovac: Dečje novine (10 (second series)): 23. 
  5. ^ Petridis, Alexis (5 April 2007). "Sly and the Family Stone". Retrieved 8 July 2017 – via The Guardian. 
  6. ^ "Sly Stone: Small Talk. By Pete Wingfield : Articles, reviews and interviews from Rock's Backpages.". Retrieved 8 July 2017. 
  7. ^ "Robert Christgau: Sly and the Family Stone". Retrieved 8 July 2017. 
  8. ^ "Uncut". Retrieved 8 July 2017. 
  9. ^ "Official Video Remastered By James Beilke". 
  10. ^ a b c d Alex Stimmel, liner notes to the 2007 Deluxe Edition. Sony BMG Music Entertainment 88697045402
  11. ^ Stimmel (2007).