Bootsy Collins has released a new video for “Want Me 2 Stay” — his take on Sly and the Family Stone’s 1973 hit “If You Want Me to Stay” — featuring the song’s original bassist, Larry Graham, as well as Branford Marsalis and Uché Ndubizu.
The simple clip puts the song front-and-center, with Collins, Graham, Uché, and horn player Brennan Johns all performing in front of an array of psychedelic backgrounds (Marsalis does not appear in the clip). The scenery behind Uché remains comparatively calm, but that only heightens the emphasis on his stellar vocals.
Collins’ take on “Want Me 2 Stay” appears on his most recent album, The Power of One, which was released in October. As Collins tells Rolling Stone, he and Graham go back to 1972, and he’s always admired his fellow bassist for pioneering the “thump and pluck” style. “And that is why to this day I call him the Basses Mutha Plucker this Side of the Universe!” Bootsy added.
But asking Graham to play on “Want Me 2 Stay” wasn’t the easiest request to make, Collins admitted: “First of all, knowing his situation with Sly Stone, and how they were not on the best of terms when he left, I was reluctant to ask him to play on the song. But then I thought, ‘Larry and I have always been able to talk about any and everything, so why not ask?’ So I did ask, and we talked about it, and how it would be presented with class, and that he would have approval of the song and video before it was released. Once I reassured him that he would see and hear the final product before we release it, that made him happy so we went to work. We have always aligned in the past, and now in the present even more so. We are alike in many ways.”
Bootsy had some kind words for his other collaborators on the track, as well. Of Marsalis, he said the jazz great “blew the heck out of that horn” on “Want Me to Stay,” adding, “His gifts are endless, he can lead or accompany you in a very intelligent way.” And of the up-and-coming Uché, Bootsy said, “With him being young with such a wide range of a voice, I want to do whatever I can to be a platform for him to take off, land when he gets ready, and blow some minds without steppin’ on ‘em.”
With the “Want Me 2 Stay” video arriving just ahead of Thanksgiving, Bootsy also offered a note for what will be a very unusual and difficult holiday season during the pandemic: “Thanksgiving is such a family-fun time, that it is really hard to face the reality that we now live in. But we have to encourage each other to stay diligent because love is deeper than our physical realm of contact. We must learn to dig deeper to reconnect with the One in all of us. We have all reached that fork in the road, and we are all standing there wondering which road leads us out.”
Collins is also prepping a special livestream concert with Stageit, where he’ll air his 2013 set at the Bear Creek Music and Art Festival with the Funk Unity Band. The event will take place December 11th, and Collins will host with Pepperminte Patti. Tickets are on sale now.