SLY AND THE FAMILY STONES (sic) – GREATEST HITS LIVE (WCF orig. # 36)

Sly & TFStone Greatest Hits Live

The label says “FAMILY”.

USA: 1971 – this seems to be one of the rarer WCF releases.

Source: Dutch VPRO radio recording of a live performance during their European tour recorded at Kasteel Groenevelt in Baarn, The Netherlands, broadcast in the last episode of a program called “Piknik”. The date is usually given as 1970-09-10.

The “Piknik” program shows were recorded in front of an audience and different parts of the shows were broadcasted on TV in mono and in FM stereo. As you can hear below, the audience sounds quiet and small.

 

“The current pride of VPRO-TV is Piknik, a bi-weekly show which broadcasts a live three-and-a-half hour pop concert from locations around Holland.

Piknik has to be the least structured television show on the air. About 400 Hollanders ranging from infants to senior citizens, but most of them between 15 and 24, are bussed to a secret location where stage and facilities are set up. The audience spreads itself across the terrain, talking, eating, sleeping, cooking on provided fires, making out and playing instruments. A certain amount of dope is smoked. At 7 PM, the cameras are turned on, and Piknik is on the air.

“Whatever happens, we film,” says Roelof Kiers, executive director and creator of Piknik. “The performers and the audience are equal parts of the show. We’re just here to communicate them to the viewers. No one is herded about or told what to do on Piknik. The five cameras just record without interfering. As on VPRO Friday, the Piknik microphones and cameras are open to individuals and groups who think they have something to say.

Piknik has attracted some of pop’s top talent. On the last show of the season (September 10), the first Piknik in color, Sly and the Family Stone, Canned Heat and Daddy Longlegs were featured. Frank Zappa made a big hit in June, and ended up playing overtime. With Piknik’s flexible structure, this was no problem, but when Traffic had to bow out after the show had started — their organ was broken — they had to ask another act to do a second set. The cameras keep grinding no matter what. In July, a freak cold front and rain storm hit the show, but audience, musicians and crew gritted their teeth and struggled through.

Some two million viewers, happy to escape from reruns, watch Piknik, and not all of them are young. The second biggest group of viewers are between 35 and 64 years old. Predictably, the biggest group are the teenagers.

And there are signs that Piknik viewers are fairly hip. On a recent show, a local topless dancer joined Doctor John in his act, but there was only one call of protest from a viewer. A couple of years ago there would have been a deluge.

One good aspect of Piknik is that performers mix with the audience before and after they perform. There are no dressing rooms. “Performers are not treated as stars,” says Kiers, “they’re treated as people.”

(Rolling Stone, October 15, 1970 issue in The Kabouters Are Coming! The Kabouters Are Coming!)

vpro_piknik_sm

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9 comments
  1. YesDays said:

    Piknik sounds like it was a really great show. I wonder if any of the broadcast films were preserved, and if any exist today.

    • I found no video, only the radio broadcast for the Frank Zappa June 18th performance from Uddel, which ended up on that obscure Dutch bootleg with the hexagonal packaging (listed as “Wino Man” in HW aka “VPRO Piknik”).

  2. Erik T said:

    There is an audio clip of a Canned Heat from the same broadcast as the Sly & the Family Stone. There must have been a mountain of blow backstage…

  3. Erik T said:

    I have this Sly record and it sounds like it was taped off t.v. I received a copy of the radio broadcast in the 90s, dunno if it was a recent – at the time- rebroadcast but it sounded great and I’m pretty sure most copies around for the first while after the tape “resurfaced” descended from mine. Still, it is a great performance, before the band started to fall apart, when Sly got too coked out and started alienating band members with the goons he was hanging with in L.A.
    A video from this era would be divine!

    • Thank you for commenting on the audio quality, Erik. … Sly living in his mobile home on the street in L.A. made for a very sad ending to a great music career with a lot of pioneer power. I always saw quite a bit of Sly in Prince, for example.

      • Erik T said:

        Oh man, a few of us Sly cultists damn near prayed for a proper comeback. I interviewed Family Stone alumni Dawn Silva almost 20 years ago and she said Sly was still recording heavy music but not releasing it. After his notorious appearance at bonaroo or Coachella or one of those giant festivals, it’s hard to imagine there being much creativity left in Sly. I used to have every Sly tape floating around but I suspect some must have surfaced in the last 15 -20 odd years. Stand – the l.p. blew me away when I when I first got it, and still does today. Like a lot of people, my introduction to Sly and the Family Stone, and Santana for that matter, were watching the Woodstock movie on tv when I was a kid.

        • Sly was really ahead of his time, wasn’t he? Also writing lyrics that nobody else did at that time. Coachella 2010, it was. Hard to imagine he was still recording up to that time but who knows. That Woodstock movie made quite a few of these artists internationally known stars, Richie Havens was another one.

  4. YesDays said:

    As Kinky Friedman said, It’s one very small step from the limousine to the gutter.

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