GONE HOME…NEVER SQUARE (Cynthia Robinson, R.I.P.)


Nothing is as important–or liberating, or defining–in the life of an important band than their breakthrough.

Some important bands never actually have one. Those who do are always bigger and better for the experience.

So are we.

No rock and rollers ever stamped itself more instantly and permanently on the life of the nation than Sly and the Family Stone did with “Dance to the Music,” and while the band with the improbable and pioneering female trumpet playing harmony singer, Cynthia Robinson, went on to establish itself as one of the greatest in the history of American music (as well as one of the very few with a claim to being truly Cosmic in every conceivable sense of the word), nothing transcended their breakthrough record, on which she played a mean trumpet and shouted a couple of basic lines.

One (more or less repeated) went,”Hey get up and dance to the music,” and opened the record.

Another peaked the record and went…Oh well, you probably know how it went. If you don’t, you can attend the video below.

It must have seemed impossible, when she was shouting it all over radio and television in those early years, that the squares would ever again entirely take back the country, let alone that they would do so in less than a generation and proceed to choke it to death, deftly alternating Liberal masks with a Conservative ones as called for, until there was nothing left behind either.

Cynthia Robinson died yesterday. Cancer. Sixty-nine. The world never caught up to the dream embedded in her greatest moment in her own lifetime. But, if it does come to pass some day, she’ll be one of the few who left here having every reason to believe she had done her part.


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