"OLD DOGS, NEW TRICKS" WEEK (MAY 1-7, 2011)
EW&F is one of my all-time fav groups, particularly their output in the late '70s. My teenage son loves them, too (that's a sign of good parenting). Here, they've tried to update their sound and have a lot of guests, but every now and then you can hear the old sound coming through. The classic Phenix Horn section isn't here, but they've been replaced by Jerry Hey and other session musicians, so it's not too different. Also joining the band on this disc are will.i.am, Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis, Raphael Saadiq, Big Boi, Kelly Rowland, Sleepy Brown, Floetry, Brian McKnight, and Kenny G (really?). It looks like EW&F was trying to create their own version of Santana's Supernatural. While Philip Bailey is in fine voice, what's missing the most is the songwriting of Maurice White (sadly, White is battling Parkinson's disease). Still, it is a welcome album from a group that can update its sound without embarrassing itself: neo-soul over hip-hop beats with just a touch of horns. It's not the EW&F CD I would hope for, but it'll do. I must have purchased this CD at Target, because, in addition a bonus track, it has 2 more "Target Exclusive Bonus Tracks".
Peak on the US Billboard Top 200 chart: #32
Tracks: Songs like Pure Gold, Love's Dance, Liberation, and To You sound like classic EW&F. Other good songs include Show Me The Way, Work It Out, and Pass You By. I want to skip This Is How I Feel and Elevated. Also, The One is so repetitive you've heard the whole song within the first 10 seconds, but the song goes on for another 5 minutes.
Bonus tracks: Kenny G and EW&F cover Outkast's The Way You Move. That doesn't even look good on paper. This is the only Kenny G in my collection for good reason. The second bonus track, Love Together, is a strong track, but too repetitive (these guys must have forgotten how to write a bridge). Let Me Love You featuring Floetry is forgettable and not the best way to end a disc.
Personal Memory Associated with this CD: This disc is reminding me of youth soccer games at the fields beside Linnie Roberts Elementary School.