That’s The Way Of The World – 1975
Produced by Maurice White and Charles Stepney for EWF Productions
Arranged by EWF and Charles Stepney

Review by RJM – Rating:

That's The Way Of The WorldIn 1975, the Sig Shore motion picture titled «That’s The Way Of The World», starring Harvey Keitel, opened to little fanfare. Earth, Wind & Fire co-starred, as «The Group», trying to catch a break in the harsh music business.

The movie vanished rapidly and no Academy Award was forthcoming for Maurice White. However, the magnificent soundtrack was released as the EWF album «That’s The Way Of The World». What had been building since 1971 finally exploded and propelled EWF to the top of the musical planet. This work netted EWF a stack of awards and spawned an entire era of Black music.

From «That’s The Way Of The World» came EWF’s first (and only) #1 pop hit, the electrifying «Shining Star» – never in history has something as good hit the top. The stratospheric title cut (which they refer to as «our national anthem»), and the slow-jam standard «Reasons» round out the mega-three. Then there’s the interesting fusion «Africano» (which used a then unheard of hip-hop like beat). The keyboard interlude at the end of side one is an excellent showcase for the abilities of Larry Dunn.

The rest of the production is smooth, faultless, and highly polished thanks again to Brother Charles Stepney’s contribution. The strong horn arrangements, which integrated into the music instead of overwhelming it, were finally in place. The resulting brass section is energetic without blaring. It’s clear «That’s The Way Of The World» had a much larger budget than any of their previous releases, further evidenced by the first-time appearance of a full orchestra. 

The strength of «That’s The Way Of The World» is indisputable – it contains at least two of EWF’s five best singles ever. One should not underestimate its historical importance. However, considering how other reviewers have raved over what they’ve claimed is EWF’s essential work, the other cuts here aren’t spectacular. Fortunately, «That’s The Way Of The World» was remastered and re-released in 1999, including alternate takes of several cuts. Among these is «Caribou Chaser» which is a reprise of the bop «Spasmodic Movement» from «Open Our Eyes». Do yourself a favor and pick up this remaster. (Rating is for original release).


Tracks in order of strength:
1. That’s The Way Of The World
2. Shining Star
3. Africano
4. Reasons
…and the rest:
5. All About Love
6. Yearnin’ Learnin’
7. Happy Feelin’
8. See The Light

Original total playing time: 38:39
US: Columbia 33280
US hi quality LP: Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab MFSL 1-159
EUR: Columbia 32054
JAP: Sony SRCS 6111

Columbia/Legacy has re-released and digitally remastered the album with 5 additional tracks: "Shining Star" (Future Star) (1:06), "All About Love" (First Impression) (3:13), "Happy Feelin" (Anatomy of a Groove) (3:31),  "Caribou Chaser" (Jazzy Jam) (1:39) and "That¹s The Way of The World" (Latin Expedition) (1:42)

Hi quality LP

ORIGINAL MASTER RECORDING (TM) Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab, a Division of MFSL, Inc. MFSL 1-159 Manufactured and distributed by MFSL, Inc., Petaluma, CA 94952,All under license from Columbia Records/CBS Inc. Rights Reserved.

  • Half-Speed Production and Mastering by Original Masteringworks (TM)
  • Specially Plated and Pressed on High-Definition Vinyl by Victor Company of Japan Ltd.
  • Special Static Free-Dust Free Inner Sleeve (TM)
  • Special Heavy-Duty Protective Packaging (TM)
  • Source: The Original Stereo Master Tape (TM)
  • Mastered With The Ortofon Cutting System (TM)

Andrei Rouliakovi has got a copy and he says: The sound quality on the LP is unbeleivable, and the thing is definitely worth more than $25 I paid for it. Actually I can no longer listen to the CD pressing of "That’s The Way Of The World" after I got the LP. The quality is incomparable!!! As far as I know, MFSL, Inc. is specializing in purchasing licenses on chosen records for a very short time period and releasing the material (on CD’s and LP’s) with limited number of copies.

The movie

The movie "That’s the way of the world" is not a very good one. As a matter of fact it was taken off after only 3 days of showing in the US. But of course it’s a collector’s item for all fans.

It’s about the record company business. A talented producer named Buckmaster (played by Harvey Keitel) hears a young beginning band and wants to produce their first album. The guys are of course our friends EWF. In the movie they are called "The Group" and Maurice has a speaking role as the leader.

While Buckmaster is producing the album, his boss (Ed Nelson) orders him to produce a band called "The Pages" (A family band in the Carpenters style, only much worse). During the movie Buckmaster learns about the deceiving world of recordcompany business (People keep telling him "that’s the way of the world").

EWF are performing an instrumental version of "That’s the way ..", and "Happy feelin’" is done twice. Verdine is seen being lifted up in the air while still playing his bass, and there is Freddie with his rotating drum set.

Maurice says: This guy Sig Shore who had done the movie Superfly came to see us about doing a film. We decided to do the soundtrack. We were in the movie, trying to act. The movie flopped after tree days. But the album stood on its own. It was our time: the momentum had been building through the previous albums, through our live shows. We’d been a community band. That’s The Way Of The World put us in the mainstream."

Gunnar Homdrum 1996 © 2005