Rene Mcintyre | 02/24/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"EWF's performance on this album shows how the group is diverse and unique. The music is wonderful! It tickles the ear and pleasantly moves the "spirit". The various messages are displayed in clever, yet easy to understand ways. This is not preachy music: it talks about spiritual life and everyday hassles. I highly recommend this CD to those who want to know what EWF is all about."
A Solid E, W & F Offering For 1976!!---This Was Still E, W &
MUZIK4THAPEOPLE!! | Seattle & San Diego | 07/15/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This album was a solid offering for Earth, Wind & Fire in 1976,
following their 1975 breakthrough success of "That's The Way Of The World"
and the semi-live offering "Gratitude", both of which broke them
into pop crossover territory and went double platinum.
This album was released in October 1976 and was competition
with some mighty R&B/Pop albums....mainly Stevie Wonder's
magnum opus "Songs In The Key Of Life", The Isley Brothers'
"Harvest For The World" and Parliament's "The Clones Of Dr. Funkenstein"!!
This album, "SPIRIT", which was highly anticipated by their fans,
did well on the charts and was neck and neck with the aforementioned
albums all through the rest of 1976 into the Spring of 1977.
The lead single was the fabulous and funky "GETAWAY", which is
just an amazing piece of jazz/pop/funk/soul-inflected composing,
arranging, singing, and is executed with precision by the band!
This song was played EVERYWHERE in late 1976!!--I can remember riding
my bike down the block or anywhere in the city where I lived at that
time, and you'd hear it coming from people's car radios, 8-tracks,
or coming out of the poolhalls & barber/beauty shops.
Earth, Wind & Fire's new album dropping wwas like an event
in the black community of that time!--You wanted to hear what
they were going to come with next! (-:
This generation doesn't understand the excitement of hearing
or seeing something original, organic and unprecedented in
music/entertainment like you did back in those days!
Everything is sampled, regurgitated, electronically enhanced
tin-can sounding crap now! (IMHO!!)
Anywayz, this was still Earth, Wind & Fire before they became too
pop-polished in the late 70's & early 80's, which to me is why
they lost their edge and innovation and dissolved for awhile
after 1982. This was still, the well-produced, well-arranged,
inventive, but still raw, tribal, funky and musically eclectic
sound which we had heard from say 1972's "Last Days & Time"
up until then. They were one of the few black acts of that time
who could easily pack a stadium like the white rock and pop acts
of the the day, but with 70% black and 30% white and other
ethnicities in attendance. Their live shows were incredible too!
This was a pivotal time in their development as far as success,
but also in the form of a devastating tragedy, which could've been
the end of them, if bandleader Maurice White hadn't been able to
rally his creativity & leadership skills to carry their vision forward!
Their great co-producer, arranger, collaborator & musical mastermind,
Charles Stepney, who Maurice White had worked with and who'd
served as his musical mentor since his early days as a young
session musician in Chicago, and who was largely responsible for
the newly-honed sound which had brought them such great success on
"That's The Way Of The World" and "Gratitude" in '75,
had suddenly died of a massive heart attack in the spring
of 1976, during the recording sessions for this album.
It really knocked the band for a loop and they wondered
what would become of them for awhile...then the answer came...
they must carry on, utilizing the foundation that Stepney
had left in his wake. The title track, the beautiful and serene
"SPIRIT", written & arranged by keyboard wizard Larry Dunn,
with lyrics by Maurice White and Phillip Bailey, who really
brought it to life with his inspired & angelic falsetto voice!
(Just gorgeous!)Is dedicated to the memory of the
late great Charles Stepney.
Though, as another reviewer has pointed out, this album didn't
have a bunch of pop crossover hits, as "Shining Star" had been
for them in '75 or which would come for them on later albums,
it did have some brilliant & potent material which did very well
on the R&B charts and still managed to sell double platinum
by the end of 1977, so there! (-:
"On Your Face", "Imagination" "Spirit", "Saturday Nite",
"Earth, Wind & Fire" and "Burnin' Bush" are all gems in my book!
In closing, this album is not on the level of the 3 great
quintessential E, W & F masterpieces of all time:
1977's "All-n-All", 1975's "That's The Way Of The World" &
1979's "I AM", but it was a good solid album in it's time
and most of it's songs still hold up today! (-: