Saturday, May 13, 2006


You have to have been living on another planet (but not Jupiter) for the last thirty something years if you are not familiar with Earth, Wind & Fire. A giant of a band, their sound is a joyous and irresistible fusion of jazz, funk, soul, gospel, and, at times, a bit of rock too.

In 1975 the “That’s The Way Of The World” album drew me into their orbit, sparked initially by hearing “Shining Star” on the radio. Locked in, I then quickly backtracked to pick up their earlier CBS/Columbia albums including “Last Days And Time” which was released in 1972. Their even earlier Warner Brothers albums weren’t ever on my radar at the time - possibly they never got a UK release - but I’m thinking it’s high time I picked these up too.

Whenever I listen to “Last Days And Time” it transports me to a different place. It did it the first time I put it on the turntable and it still does today, and I don’t really know how to explain why it does this. The album consists of a mix of self penned songs and covers; some tracks are stronger than others; there is a seven minute magnum opus of an instrumental included – “Power”; and it couldn’t be described as a concept album. Yet in my mind the album exists as a perfect entity. Some of EWF’s trademark interludes are present, which can act as a sort of glue, but it’s not that, it’s just that throughout the music has a consistent feel and atmosphere. To me it almost sounds like it was recorded outdoors. “Keep your head to the sky” they would sing on their next album, and as I listen to “Last Days..” I’m aware of the sky above my head, the sun beating down, the dust and sounds of a downtown neighbourhood street corner. A feeling of hope prevails but at the same time, perversely, I detect an undercurrent of melancholy. Hey! I better stop before I start getting emotional on you.

I invariably have to play the whole album straight through as it holds a special place for me, but a combination of limited file space and a certain uneasiness about posting whole albums means I’m posting just the opening and closing track on the album. If you don’t already have “Last Days And Time” in your collection it’s time you did! BUY

If you want to read more about Earth, Wind & Fire you could start at their Wikipedia entry, which also links to other sites and resources including their myspace page. That was where, as I prepared this post, I discovered that EWF are at this moment touring the UK. Perhaps, due to their relatively close proximity (i.e in the same country), some of their mystical powers were at work impelling me to post this (OK, I know, that’s tosh!).

(NOTE: The piccies were taken by me with the digi camera. Hope they come across ok and are not too big).

Earth, Wind & Fire - Time Is On Your Side 1972
Earth, Wind & Fire - Mom 1972

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