Fresh is the sixth album by American funk/soul/rock band Sly and the Family Stone, released by Epic/CBS Records on June 30, 1973 (see 1973 in music). Written and produced by Sly Stone, Fresh is more upbeat than its predecessor, the landmark There's a Riot Goin' On, but still retains much of Riot's dark, funky feel.
The album's biggest hit was "If You Want Me to Stay". Other notable tracks include "Frisky" and "Que Sera, Sera (Whatever Will Be, Will Be),", a cover of Doris Day's Academy Award-winning song from Alfred Hitchcock's The Man Who Knew Too Much, sung here by Rose Stone. "Que Sera, Sera" is notable as the only cover song issued on an original Family Stone album. The cover photo is by Richard Avedon. The track "If It Were Left Up To Me" is purportedly an outtake from 1968's Life.
As with There's a Riot Goin' On, Stone held on to the Fresh masters well beyond the record's official release, constantly remixing and re-recording the tracks. As a result, alternate and significantly different versions of at least ten songs from the album are known to exist. In 1991, Sony Music, by then owner of the Epic catalog, accidentally issued a sequencing of Fresh on CD featuring alternate takes of every song except "In Time", which remained unchanged. Sony allowed the alternate version to remain in stores to be bought up by fans and then later issued the standard 1973 version of the album. However, the mix-up sparked debate among fans over which release was superior. When Sony BMG reissued Fresh in CD and digital download formats for Sly & the Family Stone's 40th anniversary, five alternate mixes were included as bonus tracks. These tracks are extremely similar, if not identical, to the alternate, accidental 1991 release. The alternate version is known to be very accessible in Japan, while it is very scarce in the U.S.
Jazz legend Miles Davis was so impressed by the song "In Time" from the album that he made his band listen to the track repeatedly for a full 30 minutes. Composer and music theorist Brian Eno cited Fresh as having heralded a shift in the history of recording, "where the rhythm instruments, particularly the bass drum and bass, suddenly the important instruments in the mix."
George Clinton, who has listed Fresh as one his favorite albums, later convinced the Red Hot Chili Peppers to cover "If You Want Me to Stay" on their second album, the Clinton-produced Freaky Styley.
In 2003, the album was ranked number 186 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.
All songs written, produced and arranged by Sly Stone, except where noted.
"In Time" – 5:48
"If You Want Me to Stay" – 3:01
"Let Me Have It All" – 2:56
"Frisky – 3:12
"Thankful N' Thoughtful" – 4:41
"Skin I'm In" – 2:55
"I Don't Know (Satisfaction)" – 3:51
"Keep on Dancin'" – 2:23
"Qué Será, Será (Whatever Will Be, Will Be)" (Ray Evans, Jay Livingston) – 5:23
"If It Were Left Up to Me" – 1:56
"Babies Makin' Babies" – 3:38
CD reissue bonus tracks:
"Let Me Have It All" (alternate mix) – 2:19
"Frisky" (alternate mix) – 3:27
"Skin I'm In" (alternate mix) – 2:48
"Keep On Dancin'" (alternate mix) – 2:44
"Babies Makin' Babies" (alternate version) – 4:20
Sly Stone: vocals, organ, guitar, bass guitar, piano, harmonica, and more
Freddie Stone: vocals, guitar
Rose Stone: vocals, piano, keyboard
Cynthia Robinson: trumpet
Jerry Martini: saxophone
Pat Rizzo: saxophone
Rusty Allen: bass guitar on "In Time", "Let Me Have it All", and "Keep On Dancin'"
Larry Graham: bass guitar on "Que Sera, Sera (Whatever Will Be, Will Be)" and "If It Were Left Up To Me" (uncredited)
Andy Newmark: drums
Little Sister (Vet Stone, Mary McCreary, Elva Mouton): vocals .