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During the 1970s, a new brand of pop music was born - one that was steeped in African and African-American styles - particularly jazz and R&B but appealed to a broader cross-section of the listening public. As founder and leader of the band Earth, Wind & Fire, Maurice White not only embraced but also helped bring about this evolution of pop, which bridged the gap that has often separated the musical tastes of black and white America. It certainly was successful, as EWF combined high-caliber musicianship, wide-ranging musical genre eclecticism, and '70s multicultural spiritualism.
"I wanted to do something that hadn't been done before," Maurice explains. "Although we were basically jazz musicians, we played soul, funk, gospel, blues, jazz, rock and dance music...which somehow ended up becoming pop. We were coming out of a decade of experimentation, mind expansion and cosmic awareness. I wanted our music to convey messages of universal love and harmony without force-feeding listeners' spiritual content."
Earth, Wind, and Fire is the self-titled debut album. The lineup is different from the one that became famous in the mid '70s, and the group would disband after its second album. The music is tougher and more raw than the sound the group has since become famous for, with vocals a collaborative effort and leads freely traded.
"[A] set of freewheeling arrangements, heavy on the horns, that made Earth Wind and Fire one of their finest albums -- the artistic equal of their later hits, if not on the same level commercially. Unlike the work of most early funk bands, the songwriting was as strong and focused as the musicianship; the record boasts a set of 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." - John Bush, allmusic.com
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Limited Edition Classic LP
Maurice White, percussion, drums, vocals & electric kalimba
Leslie Drayton, trumpet
Wade Flemons, electric piano & vocals
Sherry Scott, vocals
Alexander Thomas, trombone
Chet Washington, reeds
Verdine White, bass
Don Whitehead, piano, electric piano & vocals
Phillard Williams, percussion & conga
1. Help Somebody
2. Moment Of Truth
3. Love Is Life
4. Fan The Fire
1. C'mon Children
2. This World Today
3. Bad Tune