Gratitude – 1975
Review by RJM – Rating:Earth, Wind & Fire was flying high in 1975 after releasing «That’s The Way Of The World» early in the year, and Columbia wanted more and fast. As a result of Maurice White’s taping of live shows, the outstanding double LP «Gratitude» was released in late 1975, representing EWF’s high-water mark. Significantly, «Gratitude», though released so soon after «That’s The Way Of The World», forged it’s own identity.
This reviewer is biased towards jazz, which is what clearly sets EWF apart from Black pop. «Gratitude» contains more jazz (all live cuts) than any other offering from EWF. Fusion was in full force as demonstrated by the red-hot «Power/Africano Medley» (which even got the homeboys breakin’), and their own take of «Sun Goddess». Then there’s the awesome «New World Symphony», featuring guitarist Johnny Graham on the wah-wah, Michael Harris on trumpet, and Verdine White on bass.
More high points of «Gratitude» are the live versions of «Devotion» and «Reasons», the latter with the now legendary collaboration of Philip Bailey with saxist Don Myrick. All the live cuts differ significantly from the studio originals, showing how their music, especially their jazz, constantly evolves.
«Gratitude» certainly captured the high energy of their live performances, but there’s a lot more here. Five decent to excellent studio tracks were included, such as the title cut, the merry (and their first real) dance track «Singasong», the joyous «Sunshine» and the soulful «Can’t Hide Love». Though «Singasong» scored by reaching #5 pop, one has to wonder why great music like «Can’t Hide Love» barely cracked the top 40 at a time when EWF was blazing-hot. Oh, well.
The only weak link on «Gratitude» is the ineffective live «Shining Star», which EWF unfortunately decided to speed up and lengthen. You have to be careful when you tinker with an institution. I guess there’s no such thing as absolute perfection, but this is as close as EWF came.
order of strength:
Original total playing time: 66:22
Columbia/Legacy has re-released
and digitally remastered the album with 1 additional track:
From Daniele Minotti in
Here’s a little trick you might wanna check out on Gratitude.