For too many years, Sly & the Family Stone fans have had to content themselves with the landmark group's 1970 greatest-hits compilation.

For too many years, Sly & the Family Stone fans have had to content themselves with the landmark group's 1970 greatest-hits compilation. This two-CD, 35-song anthology finally rights that travesty. Featuring digital remasters of every chart hit (from 1968 anthem "Dance to the Music" to the 1975 classic "I Get High on You"), key B-sides ("Everybody Is a Star"), and early outings ("Underdog" from 1967), this chronological compilation also includes such album gems as the race-relations treatise "Don't Call Me Nigger, Whitey" and "Thank You for Talkin' Me to Africa." Whether partyin' hard or politically discoursing, the prolific Sylvester Stewart ("different strokes for different folks") and his colorful crew pumped out an enduring mix of rock, R&B/soul, gospel, pop, jazz, and funk that unfortunately ended with Stewart's self-imposed retreat. While aficionados will no doubt decry the missing Fresh track "Que Sera, Sera," The Essential Sly remains hot fun, indeed.—GM