Dec 17, 2016

RhoDeo 1650f Grooves


Today's artists are an American band that has spanned the musical genres of R&B, soul, funk, jazz, disco, pop, rock, Latin and African. They are one of the most successful bands of all time. Rolling Stone Magazine described them as "innovative, precise yet sensual, calculated yet galvanizing" and declared that the band "changed the sound of black pop" All month at Grooves..... ..... N'joy

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Earth, Wind & Fire were one of the most musically accomplished, critically acclaimed, and commercially popular funk bands of the '70s. Conceived by drummer, bandleader, songwriter, kalimba player, and occasional vocalist Maurice White, EWF's all-encompassing musical vision used funk as its foundation, but also incorporated jazz, smooth soul, gospel, pop, rock & roll, psychedelia, blues, folk, African music, and, later on, disco. Lead singer Philip Bailey gave EWF an extra dimension with his talent for crooning sentimental ballads in addition to funk workouts; behind him, the band could harmonize like a smooth Motown group, work a simmering groove like the J.B.'s, or improvise like a jazz fusion outfit. Plus, their stage shows were often just as elaborate and dynamic as George Clinton's P-Funk empire. More than just versatility for its own sake, EWF's eclecticism was part of a broader concept informed by a cosmic, mystical spirituality and an uplifting positivity the likes of which hadn't been seen since the early days of Sly & the Family Stone. Tying it all together was the accomplished songwriting of Maurice White, whose intricate, unpredictable arrangements and firm grasp of hooks and structure made EWF one of the tightest bands in funk when they wanted to be. Not everything they tried worked, but at their best, Earth, Wind & Fire seemingly took all that came before them and wrapped it up into one dizzying, spectacular package.

White founded Earth, Wind & Fire in Chicago in 1969. He had previously honed his chops as a session drummer for Chess Records, where he played on songs by the likes of Fontella Bass, Billy Stewart, and Etta James, among others. In 1967, he'd replaced Redd Holt in the popular jazz group the Ramsey Lewis Trio, where he was introduced to the kalimba, an African thumb piano he would use extensively in future projects. In 1969, he left Lewis' group to form a songwriting partnership with keyboardist Don Whitehead and singer Wade Flemons. This quickly evolved into a band dubbed the Salty Peppers, which signed with Capitol and scored a regional hit with "La La Time." When a follow-up flopped, White decided to move to Los Angeles, and took most of the band with him; he also renamed them Earth, Wind & Fire, after the three elements in his astrological charts. By the time White convinced his brother, bassist Verdine White, to join him on the West Coast in 1970, the lineup consisted of Whitehead, Flemons, female singer Sherry Scott, guitarist Michael Beal, tenor saxophonist Chet Washington, trombonist Alex Thomas, and percussionist Yackov Ben Israel. This aggregate signed a new deal with Warner Bros. and issued its self-titled debut album in late 1970. Many critics found it intriguing and ambitious, much like its 1971 follow-up, The Need of Love, but neither attracted much commercial attention despite a growing following on college campuses and a high-profile gig performing the soundtrack to Melvin Van Peebles' groundbreaking black independent film Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song.

Last Days and Time Dissatisfied with the results, White dismantled the first version of EWF in 1972, retaining only brother Verdine. He built a new lineup with female vocalist Jessica Cleaves, flute/sax player Ronnie Laws, guitarist Roland Bautista, keyboardist Larry Dunn, and percussionist Ralph Johnson; the most important new addition, however, was singer Philip Bailey, recruited from a Denver R&B band called Friends & Love. After seeing the group open for John Sebastian in New York, Clive Davis signed them to CBS, where they debuted in 1972 with Last Days and Time. Further personnel changes ensued; Laws and Bautista were gone by year's end, replaced by reedman Andrew Woolfolk and guitarists Al McKay and Johnny Graham. It was then that EWF truly began to hit their stride. 1973's Head to the Sky (Cleaves' last album with the group) significantly broadened their cult following, and the 1974 follow-up, Open Our Eyes, was their first genuine hit. It marked their first collaboration with producer, arranger, and sometime-songwriting collaborator Charles Stepney, who helped streamline their sound for wider acceptance; it also featured another White brother, Fred, brought in as a second drummer. The single "Mighty Mighty" became EWF's first Top Ten hit on the R&B charts, although pop radio shied away from its black-pride subtext, and the minor hit "Kalimba Story" brought Maurice White's infatuation with African sounds to the airwaves. Open Our Eyes went gold, setting the stage for the band's blockbuster breakthrough.

That's the Way of the World In 1975, EWF completed work on another movie soundtrack, this time to a music-biz drama called That's the Way of the World. Not optimistic about the film's commercial prospects, the group rushed out their soundtrack album of the same name (unlike Sweet Sweetback, they composed all the music themselves) in advance. The film flopped, but the album took off; its lead single, the love-and-encouragement anthem "Shining Star," shot to the top of both the R&B and pop charts, making Earth, Wind & Fire mainstream stars; it later won a Grammy for Best R&B Vocal Performance by a Group. The album also hit number one on both the pop and R&B charts, and went double platinum; its title track went Top Five on the R&B side, and it also contained Bailey's signature ballad in the album cut "Reasons." White used the new income to develop EWF's live show into a lavish, effects-filled extravaganza, which eventually grew to include stunts designed by magician Doug Henning. The band was also augmented by a regular horn section, the Phoenix Horns, headed by saxophonist Don Myrick. Their emerging concert experience was chronicled later that year on the double-LP set Gratitude, which became their second straight number one album and featured one side of new studio tracks. Of those, "Sing a Song" reached the pop Top Ten and the R&B Top Five, and the ballad "Can't Hide Love" and the title track were also successful.

Spirit Sadly, during the 1976 sessions for EWF's next studio album, Spirit, Charles Stepney died suddenly of a heart attack. Maurice White took over the arranging chores, but the Stepney-produced "Getaway" managed to top the R&B charts posthumously. Spirit naturally performed well on the charts, topping out at number two. In the meantime, White was taking a hand in producing other acts; in addition to working with his old boss Ramsey Lewis, he helped kickstart the careers of the Emotions and Deniece Williams. 1977's All n' All was another strong effort that charted at number three and spawned the R&B smashes "Fantasy" and the chart-topping "Serpentine Fire"; meanwhile, the Emotions topped the pop charts with the White-helmed smash "Best of My Love." The following year, White founded his own label, ARC, and EWF appeared in the mostly disastrous film version of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, turning in a fine cover of the Beatles' "Got to Get You Into My Life" that became their first Top Ten pop hit since "Sing a Song." Released before year's end, The Best of Earth, Wind & Fire, Vol. 1 produced another Top Ten hit (and R&B number one) in the newly recorded "September."

1979's I Am contained EWF's most explicit nod to disco, a smash collaboration with the Emotions called "Boogie Wonderland" that climbed into the Top Ten. The ballad "After the Love Has Gone" did even better, falling one spot short of the top. Although I Am became EWF's sixth straight multi-platinum album, there were signs that the group's explosion of creativity over the past few years was beginning to wane. 1980's Faces broke that string, after which guitarist McKay departed. While 1981's Raise brought them a Top Five hit and R&B chart-topper in "Let's Groove," an overall decline in consistency was becoming apparent. By the time EWF issued its next album, 1983's Powerlight, ARC had folded, and the Phoenix Horns had been cut loose to save money. After the lackluster Electric Universe appeared at the end of the year, White disbanded the group to simply take a break. In the meantime, Verdine White became a producer and video director, while Philip Bailey embarked on a solo career and scored a pop smash with the Phil Collins duet "Easy Lover." Collins also made frequent use of the Phoenix Horns on his '80s records, both solo and with Genesis.

Bailey reunited with the White brothers, plus Andrew Woolfolk, Ralph Johnson, and new guitarist Sheldon Reynolds, in 1987 for the album Touch the World. It was surprisingly successful, producing two R&B smashes in "Thinking of You" and the number one "System of Survival." Released in 1990, Heritage was a forced attempt to contemporize the group's sound, with guest appearances from Sly Stone and MC Hammer; its failure led to the end of the group's relationship with Columbia. They returned on Reprise with the more traditional-sounding Millennium in 1993, but were dropped when the record failed to recapture their commercial standing despite a Grammy nomination for "Sunday Morning"; tragedy struck that year when onetime horn leader Don Myrick was murdered in Los Angeles. Bailey and the White brothers returned once again in 1997 on the small Pyramid label with In the Name of Love.

After 2003's The Promise, a mix of new material and fresh looks at classics, the group realigned with several top-shelf adult contemporary artists and released 2005's Illumination, which featured a collaboration with smooth jazz juggernaut Kenny G. The album was Grammy-nominated in the category of Best R&B Album. Earth, Wind & Fire continued to tour and made a show-opening appearance on American Idol's Idol Gives Back show in 2007. Three years later, Maurice and Verdine White, Bailey, Dunn, and McKay were inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. The band released Now, Then & Forever, their first album in five years, in 2013. Three years later, on February 3, 2016, Maurice White died from the effects of Parkinson's disease at his home in Los Angeles; he was 74 years old.

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Earth, Wind & Fire's artistic and commercial winning streak continued with its ninth album, All 'N All, the diverse jewel that spawned major hits like "Serpentine Fire" and the dreamy "Fantasy." Whether the visionary soul men are tearing into the hardest of funk on "Jupiter" or the most sentimental of ballads on "I'll Write a Song for You" (which boasts one of Philip Bailey's many soaring, five-star performances), All 'N All was a highly rewarding addition to EWF's catalog. Because EWF had such a clean-cut image and fared so well among pop audiences, some may have forgotten just how sweaty its funk could be. But "Jupiter" -- like "Mighty, Mighty," "Shining Star," and "Getaway" -- underscores the fact that EWF delivered some of the most intense and gutsy funk of the 1970s.

Earth Wind & Fire - All 'N All    (flac  249mb)

01 Serpentine Fire 3:51
02 Fantasy 4:38
03 In The Market Place (Interlude) 0:43
04 Jupiter 3:55
05 Love's Holiday 5:43
06 Brazilian Rhyme (Interlude) 1:20
07 I'll Write A Song For You 5:23
08 Magic Mind 3:39
09 Runnin' 6:45
10 Brazilian Rhyme (Interlude) 1:20
11 Be Ever Wonderful 5:08

Earth Wind & Fire - All 'N All  (ogg    97mb)

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Disco was at the height of its popularity in 1979, when Earth, Wind & Fire responded with its most disco-influenced single ever, the glossy and infectious "Boogie Wonderland." Up to that point, EWF had pretty much ignored disco, and when the band finally acknowledged the style, the soulsters weren't about to inundate listeners with it. "Boogie Wonderland" (which features the Emotions, a female group for whom Maurice White had been producing major hits) isn't representative of I Am on the whole. From the hit ballad "After the Love Has Gone" to the exuberant "Let My Feelings Flow," I Am isn't a radical departure from its predecessor, All 'n All.

Earth Wind & Fire - I Am   (flac  274mb)

01 In The Stone 4:48
02 Can't Let Go 3:29
03 After The Love Is Gone 4:31
04 Let Your Feelings Show 5:22
05 Boogie Wonderland 4:49
06 Star 4:26
07 Wait 3:39
08 Rock That 3:07
09 You And I 2:58

Earth Wind & Fire - I Am  (ogg   97mb)

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Although they were catching more flak from critics for an alleged obsession with sociopolitical commentary and quasi-mystical references, R&B audiences hadn't yet tired of Earth, Wind & Fire. Faces is the tenth studio album, a double-LP released in 1980 on ARC/Columbia Records. The album reached number 2 and number 10 on the Billboard Black and Pop albums charts. It has been certified gold in the US by the RIAA. In a 2007 interview when asked which EWF album is his favorite Earth, Wind & Fire leader Maurice White replied "Probably Faces because we were really in tune, playing together and it gave us the opportunity to explore new areas". If you're an EWF fan, and have not heard "Faces", you have missed out. If you're a purist who can't get enough of big horn riffs (the type that Tower of Power copied time and again) and lyrics that are actually meaningful, uplifting and purposeful, this album will fill the bill, hands down.

Earth Wind & Fire - Faces  (flac 464mb)

01 Let Me Talk 4:08
02 Turn It Into Something Good 4:10
03 Pride 4:11
04 You 5:10
05 Sparkle 3:50
06 Back On The Road 3:33
07 Song In My Heart 4:17
08 You Went Away 4:24
09 And Love Goes On 4:05
10 Sailaway 4:37
11 Take It To The Sky 3:50
12 Win Or Lose 3:53
13 Share Your Love 3:17
14 In Time 4:13
15 Faces 8:02

Earth Wind & Fire - Faces (ogg   164mb)

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This album marked the 10th year of Maurice's dream and it was a decade that saw many changes both musically and socially. But one thing remained the same, Earth, Wind and Fire was electrifing us with incredible music that helped to shape our lives in a unique way. They just made you feel a little happier about life and helped get you through many bad days. This was the first album recorded after the departure of Al Mckay and it was kind of a reunion album for his replacement who'd been the one he'd replaced back in 1973, Roland Bautista. It's was like Roland had never truly left and they picked up right were they left off after the "Last Days And Times" album.

They had another number one hit with "Let's Groove" which started the album off and continued to amaze us with the likes of "Evolution Orange", "You're A Winner" (which has some of the funkiest horn arrangements ever for the Phoneix Horns) & one of my personal favorites "Wanna Be With You". This edition also has a longer and sweeter version of the instrumental interlude "Kalimba Tree". This would be the last in a string of albums that solidified their greatness. After this, they would have other good albums with good songs, but this was the band at their height and this was when music truly was more than just throwing something together to get out and make money.

Earth Wind & Fire - Raise !   (flac 277mb)

01 Let's Groove 5:36
02 Lady Sun 3:39
03 My Love 4:33
04 Evolution Orange 4:37
05 Kalimba Tree 0:25
06 You Are A Winner 4:09
07 I've Had Enough 4:34
08 Wanna Be With You 4:35
09 The Changing Times 5:36

Earth Wind & Fire - Raise! (ogg 99mb)

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