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Album: Earth, Wind & Fire

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". 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". In his consumer guide for The Village Voice, critic Robert Christgau gave the album a "C+", indicating "a not disreputable performance, most likely a failed experiment or a pleasant piece of hackwork". Christgau was ambivalent towards the album's various musical "cross-references", including "the expert vocal harmonies 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". 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". 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". Track Listing 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 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 Musicians Michael Beal – guitars Leslie Drayton – trumpet Wade Flemons – electric piano, Vocals Sherry Scott – vocals Alexander Thomas – trombone Chet Washington – reeds Maurice White – percussion, drums, vocals, electric kalimba Verdine White – bass Don Whitehead – piano, electric piano, vocals Phillard Williams – percussion, conga Production 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 User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply.