ARTIST: Earth, Wind & Fire
TITLE: Earth, Wind & Fire
YEAR RELEASED: 1971
CHART ACTION: #172, #24 R&B
SINGLES: Fan the Fire, Love Is Life (#93, #31 R&B)
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: My Baby Don’t Dance to Nothing but Ernest Tubb, Too Many Nights in a Roadhouse, Hillbilly Hula Gal
LINEUP: Maurice White, Verdine White, Michael Beal, Leslie Drayton, Wade Flemons, Sherry Scott, Alexander Thomas, Chet Washington, Don Whitehead, Doug Carn, Phillard Williams
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Debut album sounds more like a conglomeration of Sly Stone, Chicago, and Santana.
SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Maurice White’s first formation of Earth, Wind & Fire had the funk and the sensibility, but unlike his later incarnation, this was more of a collaboration of voices, led by Sherry Scott and others like Wade Flemons, instead of White taking more of a solo vocal turn.
The group does have a swing, but it sounds derivative at times. The late 60’s Sly and the Family Stone come to mind, with some influences by Chicago in the horn charts and the percussion effects of Santana.
That’s not to say it isn’t enjoyable – it’s a fun listen except for the interludes (which really distract from the music) – it’s just not so original.
NOTES & MINUTIAE: Maurice White and two other members (Flemons and Whitehead) were The Salty Peppers before forming EWF.
IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No
GRADE: B- Derivative, but well-played funk/soul for the time. The interludes knock it down a bit.