Category: Earth, Wind & Fire

Earth, Wind & Fire – Last Days and Time

ARTIST: Earth Wind & Fire                 Lastdaysandtimealbum

TITLE: Last Days and Time

YEAR RELEASED: 1972

CHART ACTION: #87, #15 R&B

SINGLES: Mon (#104)

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: They cover Bread’s Make It with You and Where Have All the Flowers Gone. No, really.

LINEUP: Verdine White, Maurice White, Philip Bailey, Jessica Cleaves, Roland Bautista, Ronnie Laws, Larry Dunn, Ralph Johnson

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: A re-booted band and a new record label. EWF begins its journey to being a top flight funk / soul / disco behemoth.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: A change in record company coupled with a change in band – that signaled a change in the direction for Verdine and Maurice White’s horn-based funk and soul outfit.

Maurice began using the kalimba extensively, coloring their work with the sound of the talking drum. They also got a dynamite singer in Philip Bailey, whose falsetto covered all of the high notes and blended with the other vocals to create some ethereal backing vocals. With Bailey on board, romantic ballads were also in their wheelhouse now.

The covers were ‘interesting’ but not horrible. EWF were skilled at arranging those songs to make them their own. The only things that don’t fit are the three ‘interludes’, which are more annoying than anything else. Those I exiled.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: Roland Bautista left the band soon after, but joined the group again in 1981 and stayed for a couple more years. 

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No 

GRADE: B:  The interludes knock it down a little bit, but this is a fine unheard gem that showcases the band forming their new sound.

Earth, Wind and Fire – The Need of Love

ARTIST: Earth, Wind & Fire     Theneedoflovealbum

TITLE: The Need of Love

YEAR RELEASED: 1971

CHART ACTION: #89, #35 R&B

SINGLES: I Think About Lovin’ You (#44 R&B)

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Really…no.

LINEUP: Sherry Scott, Verdine White, Maurice White, Wade Flemons, Chet Washington, Alex Thomas, Michael Beal, Don Whitehead, Doug Carn, Yackov Ben Israel, Oscar Brashear

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Second album by large horn-based soul ensemble is disappointing, and led to a breakup and a re-formation.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: The first track on this record is called “Energy”, and while it may have been interesting to play and conceive, it just seems more of a jazz jam session than a concise tune, which would have confused some expecting slow jams like their R&B hit.

That hit, “I Think About Lovin’ You”, is a sweetly sung ballad (penned and voiced by Sherry Scott) that deserved to be a hit, and the closing track is nice, but the jam was pointless, and the two other tracks were bleah and moored in their own sentimentality.

It seemed the band could go into many directions and either go jazzy or straight R&B, and what they did do was break up for the most part, leaving the White brothers with the name, and an idea.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: They also recorded the soundtrack to the Blacksploitation movie Sweet Sweeback’s Badass Revenge.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No

GRADE: C-: Redeemed, barely, by the last two tracks. It’s probably good that this version blew up in 1971.

Earth, Wind & Fire – Earth, Wind & Fire

ARTIST: Earth, Wind & Fire     Earth,_Wind_&_Fire_-_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.