There's a Riot Goin' On - 1971
Somewhere following the massive success of Stand! and the comedown from Woodstock, Sly Stone lost it. Having released four albums in four years and subsequently achieving more adolation than he could have dreamed, the man holed himself up in his attic recording studio and began his descent into cocaine addition and the long journey towards creating the darkest record ever to reach #1 on the charts. Reeking of stoned decadence, Riot is a seductive brew of slurred vocals, leering electric pianos, messy guitars and primitive drum machines -- most of which were laid down by Sly himself. One of the explanations for the albums muddy production and warm blanket of tape hiss is that Sly would regularly invite groupies in to record background vocals, only to erase their tracks once they left in the morning. Despite the muck, this is one of the most carefully detailed albums ever recorded and a true joy to listen to through a set of headphones. Quite possibly my favorite record.