Earth Wind & Fire – 1971 – Earth Wind & Fire

Earth, Wind & Fire’s first album — recorded at a time when the group recently had ties to the Chicago soul and jazz scenes, and a range of experience that ran the gamut from work with Sun Ra, the Artistic Heritage Ensemble, The Pharoahs, Ramsey Lewis, and countless other influential groups. Headed up by Maurice White on drums and percussion, the group forged an amazing blend of all these influences, creating a future soul sound that pushed black music to the next level — taking a wealth of previously underground modes of expression, and fusing them into a soaring sound that would soon put them at the top of the charts. This album’s a lot looser and freer than their Columbia albums — with plenty of raw funk and some nice off-beat jazz soling. Includes the classic break track “C’Mon Children”, plus “Fan The Fire”, “Bad Tune”, and “Moment Of Truth”.

Tracks
1.Help Somebody (3:37)
2.Moment of Truth (3:08)
3.Love Is Life (5:02)
4.Fan the Fire (4:59)
5.C’mon Children (3:08)
6.This World Today (3:33)
7.Bad Tune (4:31)

The debut for the nine-member Earth, Wind & Fire was as assured as that of any rock band from the ’60s and early ’70s. Already fluent with the close harmonies of the classiest soul groups, the deep funk of James Brown, and the progressive social concerns and multiple vocal features of Sly & the Family Stone, the group added (courtesy of auteur Maurice White) a set of freewheeling arrangements, heavy on the horns, that made Earth Wind and Fire one of their finest albums — the artistic equal of their later hits, if not on the same level commercially. Unlike the work of most early funk bands, the songwriting was as strong and focused as the musicianship; the record boasts a set of unerringly positive compositions, reflecting the influence of the civil rights movement with nearly every song urging love, community, and knowledge as alternatives to the increasing hopelessness plaguing American society. The stop-start opener “Help Somebody,” the deep funk extravaganza “Moment of Truth,” and the sweet ballad “Love Is Life” were unified in their pursuit of positivity, while even the potentially incendiary title “Fan the Fire” was revealed in a peaceful context: “The flame of love is about to die/Somebody fan the fire.” And the instrumental closer, “Bad Tune,” is hardly a cast-off; the furious kalimba work of Maurice White and wordless backing vocals combine to create an excellent piece of impressionist funk.

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Comments

  1. Scottie Smith says:

    Good post, however this pictrue is from the latter edition of the Maurice White led groups. This album contains only Maurice and Verdine White and none of the pictured group members. The first two albums also feature a female singer (Sharon Scott). The revised group did two albums with Jessica Cleves formerly of the Friends of Distinction. She was gone from the group by the time the 3rd lp came along leaving Phillip Bailey with the responsiblity of hitting the high frequency note alone! Both she and Phillip are enshrined forever in the high note hall of fame because of the closing scene in “keep Your Head to the Sky”. If you will post the second lp (or get it from 4BB), you be delighted it Sharon Scott’s rendition of
    “I Think About Loving You”…truly one of my all time favs.

  2. Scottie Smith says:

    BTW….Nikos…..I LOVE THIS BLOG!!!!!!!

  3. Terry Brinston says:

    Hi, i think it,s great that you posted this old vid, for the old timers like me & the youngster to enjoy. Great band that i saw many times in chicago, and one of my favorite bands. the other band is the Isley Brothers. Between these 2 the best bands i ever saw. Post the isley bro Too!!

  4. Jan says:

    This first album of them is nice but is it now from 1970 or from 1971. One says 1970 and the other says from 1971. And I cannot find de official date. Do you know him. By the way , thank you for this album.

  5. Anonymous says:

    great album, thanks for reminding us all what great music sounds like!

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