Earth, Wind & Fire - 1975 – That’s The Way Of The World
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One of the great LP’s from the 70’s and indeed any era.
A seamless blend of soul,funk and jazz all lovingly produced by the masters,namley Maurice White and Charles Stepney. As if that were not enough the songwriting is of the highest order with not one weak point.
This record still sounds as fresh to day as upon its release in 1975. It opens with two of the best songs of all time from the genre with the title track being an especial high. The band are also tight as hell and sound like they have played together forever. As with all work that features Charles Stepney there are lots of wonderful string arrangements ( as well as intricate backing vocal work) in the background that fill out the sound and add an extra dimension. This really is essential listening for anyone that has a passing interest in soul or funk.
A1 Shining Star 2:50
A2 That’s the Way of the World 5:45
A3 Happy Feelin’ 3:16
A4 All About Love 5:30
B1 Yearnin’ Learnin’ 3:41
B2 Reasons 4:53
B3 Africano 5:10
B4 See the Light 5:30
The essential earth, wind and fire album! Here is what got the ball rolling for the group in 1975.
The title track for this is magnificent, epochal stuff; utopian, luxurious, sublime to an unbelievable degree… what’s more it establishes the tone for this magnificent album; shifting from the excellently avid, funk-pop of “Shining Star” into a more elevated vein. Superbly careful and placed instrumentation; harps, synths and more… “That’s the Way of the World” blows you away, and elevates you with its sound and lyrics.
“All About Love” is a wonderful ballad – this band’s balladic side can be underrated next to the corruscating funk. Sweet as a loving smile; distinguished particularly by the great spoken passages, backed by angelic harmonies and Bacharach horns. It’s all the more majestic as it runs past 6 minutes; like the title track, a sense of the benign, luxuriant epic is created. “Happy Feelin‘” and “Yearnin’ Learnin‘” are very good; upbeat songs that don’t quite capture me so much as things like “Reasons“: forceful, orchestrally flourishing balladry.
Fluttering flutes announce “Africano“; a funk instrumental and effectual breather. “See the Light” has a jazz style time signature and use of brass; with verdant, hovering Whitfield-esque strings punctuating. It settles into being rather more stripped-down after the first, splendid chorus. That moog synthesizer that tentatively elides into the piece, played by Larry Dunn, is so wonderfully mid-1970s and evocative of the time. It starts to become devotional, spiritual in the building of percussion and increasing prominence of mantra-like harmonies; “Help them see the li-iight”. Adding yet more is the tribal outro.
Overall, it’s curious to think of this truly as a film soundtrack; it seems much like a regular record – and a great one. A wonderfully utopian, spellbinding record; wonderful sound, with Maurice White one of the great 70s soul producers.
This is great stuff.