If you were to write an outline of the musical career of bassist extraordinaire Larry Graham, it would be in three acts. The first act would be the time he spent in Sly & The Family Stone, perhaps one of the greatest R&B, if not bands ever. Graham handled bass and bass vocals in the multi-racial, multi-gender group, until he left in the early seventies. His third act would be as a solo act, which allowed him to transition from funky fun music that he began with in the Family Stone, and grew in his second act as leader of the funk/soul band Graham Central Station, to a soulful balladeer with occasional dabbles in the funk.
When Graham left Sly & The Family Stone, he set out to form his own band. That band, Graham Central Station, released its first album in 1973, and carried on throughout the 70s as one of the torch-bearers for the music that Sly Stone pioneered. One of the things Graham took from his first band was to make them multi-racial and multi-gender as well. Another thing he took from that experience was to make different versions of “Dance To The Music” with his band members.
For at least the first four albums, he made sure to introduce the band in song. The best of these, and by far the funkiest, was “The Jam,” released in 1975 as part of the Ain’t No ‘Bout A Doubt It album. Basically, if you’ve ever heard “Dance To The Music”, you’ve got the idea of how this goes. Except that Graham provides the nastiest bottom any band intro record ever had, and his band members ride along, introducing themselves and their instruments.
By the time Graham introduces himself towards the end of the song, you’ve been thumped, plucked and plain funked out, much like what Graham does to the bass for eight good minutes. Please enjoy “The Jam” and have a great Friday! Thanks once again for reading and listening.