Graham left the group in 1972 and is understandably happier to discuss the continuation of Graham Central Station’s funk legacy than to dwell on Stone’s downfall.“When we played Woodstock, there were a lot of people there that, later on, were not there no more. I point out another comment by Sly that seems heartbreakingly poignant. That was family.” Larry Graham & Graham Central Station play at the Clapham Grand on Sept 10.“She began to tour the world, but she was able to provide a little better living for us, sending us a cheque every week.” The family then lived together in Hawaii, before Larry was reunited with his mother in Oakland, California, and joined her band. I was singing men’s ballads, Tony Bennett, Billy Eckstein. The two biggest influences on me as a bandleader would be my mother, and then Sly.” When Graham got the call from Stone, he knew there was potential for something extraordinary.“First of all, I was a fan of Sly on the radio [KSOL in San Francisco]. Somebody would call into the station with a special event, he had a piano in the studio and he’d sing something right there on the spot live.“One thing that was the genius behind Sly’s success as a songwriter and producer was in allowing everybody to be themselves.” Born in Beaumont, Texas, Graham and his family moved when he was three to California.
For what initially seemed to be a rather unassuming show, That’s true for the writing talent, too.It’s hard not to empathize with Lawrence — spitting to want to try.