1977, Music

All n All (1977) by Earth Wind and Fire

Earth, Wind & Fire are yet another one of those bands I have preconceived notions about, due to over-exposure to a couple of hits songs. Let this be the nth reminder to never judge a book by its cover.

Yes, this band is very much on the poppier side of funk, the slicker side of soul. There’s no denying that. But their version of slick soul is much funkier than just about every other too polished soul band of the ’70s. And their funk is full enough and diverse enough that it doesn’t matter that tit is very much the commercial version of the genre, rather than the more idiosyncratic version.

The songs manage to combine hooks and rhythms quite well, so you’re not just listening to one part and thinking the other part is too weak. (With most soul of this era, I never find the rhythms convincing. With much funk, it’s never this catchy…)

Yes, the lyrics are kind of run of the mill, especially the social comment ones. But they are far from terrible and the music is good enough you don’t care.

But I think the real strength of this band is its sheer size, which lends every song a deep sound that makes everything resonate more (with me anyway).

This is too slick for me but its’ so well done that I find myself liking it so much more than I ever thought I would. Also, it’s way weirder than I would have ever expected.

7/10

  1. “Serpentine Fire” by Maurice White, Verdine White, Reginald “Sonny” Burke; 3:51
  2. “Fantasy” by M. White, V. White, Eduardo Del Barrio; 4:38
  3. “In the Marketplace (Interlude)” by M. White; 0:43
  4. “Jupiter” by M. White, V. White, Larry Dunn, Philip Bailey; 3:55
  5. “Love’s Holiday” by M. White, Skip Scarborough; 4:23
  6. “Brazilian Rhyme (Beijo)” by Toninho Horta; 1:20
  7. “I’ll Write a Song For You” by Bailey, Al McKay, Steve Beckmeier; 5:23
  8. “Magic Mind” by M. White, V. White, Freddie White, Dunn, Bailey, McKay; 3:38
  9. “Runnin” by M. White, Dunn, DelBarrio; 5:50
  10. “Brazilian Rhyme (Ponta de Areia)” by Milton Nascimento; 0:53
  11. “Be Ever Wonderful” by M. White, Dunn; 5:08
  • Dorothy Ashby – harp
  • Phil Ayling – drums
  • Philip Bailey – percussion, conga, vocals
  • Blanche Belnick – violin
  • Roger Bobo – tuba
  • George Bohanon – trombone
  • Oscar Brashear – trumpet
  • Garnett Brown – trombone
  • Ronald Clark – violin
  • Ronald Cooper – cello
  • Paulinho Da Costa – percussion
  • Eduardo del Barrio – piano
  • David Duke – French horn
  • Larry Dunn – synthesizer, piano, keyboards, Moog synthesizer, Oberheim
  • Chuck Findley – trumpet
  • Norman Forrest – viola
  • Harris Goldman – violin
  • Jack Gootkin – violin
  • Janice Gower – violin, concertmaster
  • Johnny Graham – guitar
  • Terry Harrington – flute
  • Michael Harris – trumpet
  • Ruth Henry – violin
  • Fred Jackson, Jr. – flute
  • Ralph Johnson – percussion, drums, vocals
  • Jan Kelly – cello
  • Richard Klein – French horn
  • Renita Koven – viola
  • Betty LaMagna – violin
  • Carl LaMagna – violin
  • Mary D. Lindquist – violin
  • Linda Lipsett – viola
  • Art Macnow – direction
  • Steve Madaio – trumpet
  • James M. McGee – French horn
  • Al McKay – guitar, percussion
  • Abe Most – flute
  • Don Myrick – alto, baritone and tenor saxophones
  • Susan Ranney – bass
  • Alan Robinson – French horn
  • Gale Robinson – French horn
  • Marilyn Robinson – French horn
  • Meyer Rubin – bass
  • Richard Salvato – direction
  • Sheldon Sanov – violin
  • Louis Satterfield – trombone
  • Skip Scarborough – percussion, piano
  • Haim Shtrum – violin
  • Daniel Smith – cello
  • Barry Socher – violin
  • Lya Stern – violin
  • David Stockhammer – violin
  • Barbara Thomason – viola
  • Marcia Van Dyke – violin
  • Fred White – percussion, drums
  • Maurice White – drums, vocals, kalimba
  • Verdine White – bass, vocals
  • Andrew Woolfolk – tenor saxophone, wind

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