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The Family Stone to perform in Long Beach

By Phyllis Pollack

The Family Stone's long history still isn't over.
The Family Stone's long history still isn't over.
The Family Stone as they are today

The Family Stone, one of the the most critically acclaimed funk rock acts of all time, will be among those performing at the Long Beach Funk Fest on August 18. The gig will take place downtown Long Beach at Pine and Broadway. Admission is free.

The event will features many of funk's finest artists including Ivan Neville's Dumpstaphunk, Brides of Funkenstein and Dennis Coffey.

Urging fans to show up, "Get up and dance to the music," says trumpet player Cynthia Robinson. Watch Jerry Martini wail on sax, and drummer Greg Errico pound "peace, love, and psychedelic soul" into their music.

These life-long friends from San Francisco were the prolific backbone and founding members for Sly and the Family Stone in the 1960s, through their August 17, 1969 appearance at The Woodstock Music and Art Festival, and the '70s'-laden riot that was going on within the group.

In the end it paid off for The Family Stone, even with occasional reunions with Sly at the band's induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (1993), the 2006 Grammy Awards, and the R&B Pioneer Awards.

Cynthia and Jerry toured with Prince in the 1990s. Starbucks' Hear Music Label released a tribute album, "Different Strokes by Different Folks" in 2005, including The Roots, Maroon 5, will.i.am, Steven Tyler.

In 2007 the group was inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame. In 2011 The Family Stone returned for the Woodstock Weekend 43rd Anniversary at Bethel Woods Ampitheater on August 15, 2011, and Jerry Martini & Cynthia Robinson were asked to sit in at Las Vegas' iheart festival with Steven Tyler & Jeff Beck Sept. 2011.

This year, the group is the subject of a TV One profile for the show "Unsung."

Sly and the Family Stone have recorded five Billboard Hot 100 hits which reached the top 10: "Dance to the Music," "Everyday People," "Hot Fun in the Summertime," "Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)"/"Everybody Is A Star," and "Family Affair."

Some of their other hits are: "I Want to Take You Higher," "Stand!," "Sing A Simple Song," "You Can Make It If You Try," and "If You Want Me To Stay."

The group's albums, especially Dance to the Music, Stand!, and There's A Riot Going On greatly influenced the sound of American pop music, soul, R&B, funk, and hip hop music.

The group also pioneered topical and social issues in the 1960s when segregation filled the United States with angst, violence, and headlines. Sly and the Family Stone sang against raciscm, discrimination and self-hate, and is said to have been the first first-interracial band, and group with male and female instrumentalists.

The current lineup of the band features Cynthia, Greg, and Martin, plus singers Alex Davis and Trina Johnson Finn, guitarist Nate Wingfield and bassist/musical director Blaise Sison. This line up has been the most consistent for the past seven to ten years, and heard and seen by over half-a-million people the Europe and the United States.

The Family Stone tour itinerary is as follows.

8/4/12- Yoshi's Oakland, CA
8/10/12-River Spirit Casino, Tulsa, OK
8/18/12- Long Beach Funkfest Long Beach, CA
8/25/12 - Lock 3, Akron, OH
8/30/12 - Ram's Head, Annapolis, MD
8/31/12 - American Music Festival, Virginia Beach, VA
09/01/12 Keeper Of The Plains Wichita, KS
9/02/12- Septemberfest, Schaumburg, IL
9/29/12 - TBA, Salisbury, MA
10/06/12 - Carousel Fund, Petaluma, CA
10/13/12 - Berklee College of Music, Boston, MA
12/06 through 12/9/12 - The Rrazz Room, San Fransisco, CA
12/13 through 12/16 - Jazz Alley, Seattle, WA
12/29/12 - Spotlight 29, Coachella, CA

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