Note: Originally released as a 2 LP set with 3 live sides and a studio side, this CD is the 1999 reissue containing 1 bonus track.
Ask yourself: "Should I listen to more Earth, Wind & Fire?" Inevitably, the answer is yes.
The rare live album that actually adds to a band's legacy instead of simply being a stopgap release or contract obligation to the label. The band cooks as Philip Bailey and Maurice White quickly whip the crowd into a frenzy and keep up the intensity for the entire set. Even the fervent ballads have you on the edge of your seat. I'm spent just listening to it. It is obvious in these recordings that these musicians love performing and they love these songs. The live tracks here are much better than those included in the Eternal Dance box set. And the studio tracks ain't nothing to sneeze at.
Peak on the US Billboard Top 200 chart: #1 (3 weeks, Jan 17-31, 1976)
Peak on Billboard's R&B albums chart: #1 (1 week)
Tracks: Yearnin' Learnin' may be the best song on the disc, but a Don Myrick sax solo on Reasons certainly gives it a run for its money. Also good are Shining Star and the studio singles Sing A Song and Can't Hide Love. Don't skip anything here. The bonus track is a 6 minute, 4 song medley taken from preparations for a 1978 Natalie Cole TV variety special, but didn't make the final cut. Instead, the show producers opted for a longer lip-synching, costume-changing spectacle that included Cole taking a turn on That's The Way Of The World. View that performance here. The recording on this CD is clean and enjoyable, but pales next to the rest of the disc. It's hard to believe they actually allowed a solid 8 minute, 5 song medley on TV back then. These days, the variety show is a thing of the past and for promotional musical performances on TV talk shows, its two minutes and out. Shame.
Personal Memory Associated with this CD: Over a year ago, my youngest son (a huge EWF fan) spotted this CD and 1977's All 'N All in the bargain bin at our local Hasting's for $3 each. How could I resist?
Previously revisited for the blog:
The Eternal Dance (1992)
I Am (1979)
The Best of Earth, Wind & Fire, Vol. 1 (1978)
All 'N All (1977)