ARTIST: Earth Wind & Fire
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.