Sly Stone (born Sylvester Stewart, March 15, 1943) He was young, handsome, and hugely talented, had a killer afro and a huge drug problem, but Jesus Christ, what the hell happened to Sly. It’s hard to imagine just how popular and influential Sly and the Family Stone were in the late sixties. It’s also hard to imagine how groundbreaking it was to be a multiracial funk band at that time. Sly along with Parliment-Funkadelic led the charge in late sixties early seventies funk explosion. S & the FS hits would include Dance to the Music, Stand, Hot Fun in the Summertime and Everyday People (to name only a few). more below
Then came the drugs (cocaine & PCP) and the concert no-shows. Live bookings had steadily dropped since 1970, because promoters were afraid that Stone or one of the band members might miss the gig, refuse to play, or pass out on stage from drug use. At many of these gigs, concert goers rioted if the band failed to show up, or if Stone walked out before finishing his set.
The 80’s saw Sly release 4 LPs under his name and the Family Stone moniker but w/ no original members and to limited success. A collaboration w/ George Clinton of Parliment failed to bring any hits. And then he vanished – sort of. It wasn’t until the Grammy appearance in 2006 that anyone really saw what became of Sly Stone. Sporting an enormous blonde mohawk, thick sunglasses, a “Sly” beltbuckle and a silver lamé suit, he joined in on “I Want To Take You Higher.” Hunched over the keyboards, he wore a cast on his right hand (the result of a recent motorcycle mishap), and a hunched back caused him to look down through most of the performance. His voice, though strong, was barely audible over the production. Stone walked to the front of the stage toward the end of the performance, sang a verse and then with a wave to the audience, sauntered offstage before the song was over. And that’s pretty much, that. Sly has sense sued is former manager receiving $5 million but continues to live out of his van in the Crenshaw neighborhood of LA. He appears occasionally but can’t really seem to make it through more than a song or two.
While looking through bad album cover design (something I love to do) I noticed how some of the cover models must have thought how goddamn hot they looked or that the persona they chose for themselves was one of pure sex and charisma and they just had to share it with the world. Some are just purely ill-conceived – what the monkey was Action Bronson trying to say w/ his LP Saab Stories? And goddamn it if I’m not tired of seeing Madonnas old crotch staring at me from the shelves. You just can’t say enough about former Dexy’s Midnight Runner front man and singer of 80’s staple “Come On Ilene – To Ra Aye” cross dressing LP My Beauty. Of course there’ll be LPs designed to shock “My Pussy Belongs to Daddy” and the wonderfully named Nigel Pepper Cock’s hit – Fresh White Reeboks Kicking Your Ass. PS – Vince Capretta is wearing underpants – I think.
Clarence Henry Reid aka Blow Fly (February 14, 1939 – January 17, 2016) Before he became Blow Fly he was simply Clarence Henry Reid born in Vienna Georgia on Valentines Day, 1939. During the 1960s and 1970s Reid wrote for and produced artists including Betty Wright, Sam & Dave, Bobby Byrd and KC and the Sunshine Band. During this period he was also a recording artist, cutting many of his own songs, including semi-hit “Nobody But You Babe”.
Reid would write sexually explicit lyrics to popular songs for his friends and to perform at parties (much like a dirty Weird Al). In 1971 he was persuaded – for better or worse – to record an LP of these beauties. Titled “The Weird World of Blow Fly”. He conceived a character of a low rent superhero to protect his identity and lucrative song writing career.
Having heard a couple of Blow Fly LPs let me tell you they are shit. Such titles as “If Eating You Is Wrong, I Don’t Want To Be Right”, “The First Time Ever You Sucked My Dick”, and “Ain’t No Head Like My Woman’s Head” tells you right away what your in for.
Reid would tour as Blow Fly sporadically for years. A 2010 documentary by Jonathan Furmanski would increase his popularity a bit but by that time he was in his 70’s and in poor health. Clarence Henry Reid passed away on Jan 17 from liver cancer.
“And these signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up serpents with their hands; and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover.” Mark 16: 17-18
Well it says it in the bible so it must be true. The practice of snake handling was introduced by George Went Hensley in the early 1900’s and became part of the southern Holiness Movement. The idea being not to worship snakes but to handle them safely and fearlessly as a sign of salvation and God’s protection. If believers truly had the Holy Spirit within them, Hensley argued, they should be able to handle rattlesnakes and any number of other venomous serpents. They should also be able to drink poison and suffer no harm whatsoever. Snake handling as a test or demonstration of faith became popular wherever Hensley traveled and preached in the small towns of Tennessee, Kentucky, the Carolinas, Virginia, Ohio, and Indiana. Sister-churches later sprang up throughout the Appalachian region where it continues to this day.
90 miles from Palm Springs, CA in the middle of the desolate wind blown Colorado Desert, a few of miles from Slab City (a whole different story) and near the beautifully awful Salton Sea lies Salvation Mountain. Salvation Mountain was created by local resident Leonard Knight (1931–2014) out of adobe, straw and paint – lots and lots and lots of paint (all toxic free btw). It encompasses numerous murals and areas painted with Christian sayings and Bible verses, – its philosophy built around the Sinners’ Prayer which is the focal point of the mountain captured in a large red heart.
The current Salvation Mountain is actually the second of its kind. Knight began the first Salvation Mountain in 1980, though it was incredibly unstable. The Mountain fell into a heap of rubble, though Knight was not discouraged; he rather saw it as God’s way of letting him know the Mountain was not safe. He began a second Salvation Mountain, the one currently standing, stating that he had the chance this time to “do it with more smarts”
The Folk Art Society of America declared it “a folk art site worthy of preservation and protection” in the year 2000. In an address to the US Congress California Senator Barbara Boxer described it as “a unique and visionary sculpture… a national treasure… profoundly strange and beautifully accessible, and worthy of the international acclaim it receives”
After close to 40 years of working on his vision Leonard Knight passed away in 2014 at the age of 83. Concern has been raised for the future of the site, which requires constant maintenance due to the harsh surrounding environment. Many visitors bring paint to donate to the project, and a group of volunteers has been working to protect and maintain the site. In 2012, a public charity, Salvation Mountain, Inc., was established to support the project.