Earth, Wind & Fire (album)

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Earth, Wind & Fire
Studio album by Earth, Wind & Fire
Released February 1971
Recorded 1970, Sunset Sound Studios, Hollywood
Genre Funk, soul
Length 27:58
Label Warner Bros.
Producer Joe Wissert
Earth, Wind & Fire chronology
Earth, Wind & Fire
(1971)
The Need of Love
(1971)

Earth, Wind, & Fire is the self-titled debut album by the group Earth, Wind & Fire, released in 1971 on Warner Bros. Records. The lineup is quite different from the one that became famous during the mid-1970s. This edition of the group would be disbanded after its second album.

The music on this album is much tougher and more raw than the sound the group later became famous for. The vocals are very much a collaborative effort. Leads are freely traded, and many lines are sung by multiple voices. Leader Maurice White, who would front later editions of the group, is content to stay behind the drums here, blending his vocals with the rest. Young Leslie Drayton, who would later gain respect as a jazz man, handles the horn arrangements. "Love is Life", from this album, was a modest hit for the group.

After EWF scored multi-platinum success in the mid-70's, Warner Bros Records repackaged this LP along with the group's sophomore effort "Need of Love", as a double LP set entitled "Another Time".

Critical reception[edit]

In a review upon the album's release, Lester Bangs of Rolling Stone complimented its "heavy Sly influence" and funk riffs, but noted a lack of originality in songwriting, writing that the songs lack "Sly's sense of derision and irony. The lyrics, unwisely printed inside, are as preachy and lovepeace cloying as anything Motown has done recently".[1] In his consumer guide for The Village Voice, critic Robert Christgau gave the album a "C+".[2] Christgau was ambivalent towards the album's various musical "cross-references", including "the expert vocal harmonies [that] neither fit the concept nor assert any personality of their own", and said that even its successful songs have "a way of slipping away unnoticed once the record is over".[2]

In a retrospective review, Allmusic editor John Bush gave the album four-and-a-half out of five stars and complimented its songs' "freewheeling arrangements".[3] Bush found the songwriting "as strong and focused as the musicianship" and praised the songs' social context, noting "unerringly positive compositions, reflecting the influence of the civil rights movement with nearly every song urging love, community, and knowledge as alternatives to the increasing hopelessness plaguing American society".[3]

Sample use[edit]

"Bad Tune" was sampled by Lupe Fiasco on his song "Carrera Lu" on his album Food & Liquor and by Brand Nubian on their song "Dance to My Ministry" that was featured on their album One for All. Rapper Ghostface Killah sampled "Love is Life" on the track "Miguel Sanchez" on his album More Fish and "Moment of Truth" was sampled by LL Cool J and Kid N' Play on the track "Murdergram" and the track "Energy" on the album Mama Said Knock You Out and the album Funhouse respectively.[4]

Track listing[edit]

Side one
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Help Somebody"   Wade Flemons, Maurice White, Don Whitehead 3:37
2. "Moment of Truth"   Wade Flemons, Maurice White, Don Whitehead 3:08
3. "Love Is Life"   Wade Flemons, Maurice White, Don Whitehead 5:02
4. "Fan the Fire"   Wade Flemons, Maurice White, Don Whitehead 4:59
Side two
No. Title Writer(s) Length
5. "C'mon Children"   M. Beal, Wade Flemons, Maurice White, Verdine White, Don Whitehead 3:08
6. "This World Today"   Wade Flemons, Maurice White, Don Whitehead 3:33
7. "Bad Tune"   M.Beal,Wade Flemons, Maurice White, Verdine White, Don Whitehead 4:31

Personnel[edit]

Musicians[edit]

Production[edit]

  • Producer: Joe Wissert
  • Recording engineer: Bruce Botnick
  • Arranger: Earth, Wind & Fire
  • Horn arrangements: Leslie Drayton
  • Art direction: Ed Thrasher
  • Design: Mary Ann Dibs
  • Artwork: Russ Smith

Charts[edit]

AlbumBillboard (North America)

Year Chart Position
1971 Black Albums 24
Pop Albums 172

References[edit]

External links[edit]