Earth, Wind & Fire – 1971
Review by RJM – Rating:Early 1971 saw the release of Earth, Wind & Fire’s self-titled debut Warner album. It featured their first single, the respectable «Love Is Life» (which did chart, although just barely).
This album is a good beginning for EWF in its arrangements, percussion, and overall sound. The horn section sounds reasonably good compared to the blare to be heard on the next two albums. Although the lyrics have social conscience, I don’t really care for the vocal arrangements at times. The music is still very raw, but this is to be expected at this early stage, and can be forgiven. Certainly, «Earth, Wind & Fire» is light years away from what made them famous. I first heard «Earth, Wind & Fire» in 1980. Truthfully, I am rather ambivalent towards most of this album.
The hands down winners here are «Fan The Fire», with its excellent horn and guitar arrangements, and the hot fusion of the appropriately titled «Bad Tune», though the inner interlude on the latter is just a bit too long and breaks the tempo down. «Bad Tune» marked the debut of the electric kalimba, which would become their trademark.
The interludes, eventually a strong point for EWF, were all non-instrumental and insane on this release. Having just one interlude like this could be a gag. An album full of them is frightening. (The producers of the recently released CD have found an interesting way to deal with these interludes. If you direct your CD player to shuffle, you’ll only hear one! ) The rest is OK, but dated.
order of strength:
US: Warner Bros. 1905