Year of Release: 1969
Sly and the Family Stone aren't discussed nearly enough these days in the discourse of music critics, and when they are I'm always left with the impression that some feel that they were a bit of a dead-end at the time, that nobody was doing anything similar. In actual fact, both in the UK and the USA, the rather restrictive term "soul rock" was briefly bandied around to describe all kinds of other artists who might conceivably be thrown into the same barrel. Needless to say, none were as successful.
The Washington-based Flavor were one such act who only managed three singles, of which this was their last. Earlier in their career their approximation of soul had actually sounded frighteningly close to the Small Faces at times (check out "Heart-Teaser" on YouTube) but on this disc, you can hear something a bit closer to the roots than that, especially on the hand-clapping, gospel-inspired flip.
"Dancing In The Street" is a fantastic little rave-up, though, far better than Bowie and Jagger's later version in the eighties, and managing to bring some new ideas to the mix rather than being an imitation. This rolls a lot more freely than the Martha and the Vandellas version, and while it's not the better option - I happen to think that the Vandella's effort is one of the best Motown sides going - it doesn't shame the original material at all. You're left with the impression that Flavor could have had a decent career with the right push, but for whatever reason, that just didn't happen.
And who were they? If anyone knows, please get in touch.