Wednesday, February 10, 2016
Drawn on Mardi Gras 2016. Austin, Texas.
So, why do I even like Earth Wind and Fire?
I don’t know, they are the opposite of everything I think I like, and they still sound good to me.
They have about zero blues influence, the only rock in there is their hit cover of “Got To Get You Into My Life” and maybe “Boogie Wonderland”. (Hmmm. And maybe the wonderful “Evil”? No, that’s more of a visit to Ray Barretto’s neighborhood. But check it out. The kalimba is so up front in this mix, you can hear the incidental sounds the instrument makes..) I’m not sure what their subject matter is, it’s pretty vague (“That’s The Way Of The World”).
I really can’t categorize what I like about them. Maybe it’s just as simple as it’s fun when 7 to 9 guys get dressed up in capes and spacesuits and shit and all play the same song. You know, Maurice White was a sideman for years, with Ramsey Lewis and Chess Records, and it’s so fun to imagine him back there behind the drum kit thinking “You call this a show? Someday I’ll be the frontman, and I’ll show you what a show is.” Big forehead and all.
I like all their hits like “Fantasy”, “Reasons”, and “Let’s Groove” (it was a highlight of my wedding, long story though) but I do really like their early album, before they had any hits, I guess you’d say pre-spacesuit-pyramid-power EWF, “Open Our Eyes”, with its sleeve note “P.S. MAY GOD BLESS YOU”. I said there was no blues influence in their music but there’s a little church in this song:
(Oh yeah, Lenny Kravitz swiped “It Ain’t Over Till It’s Over” from “That’s The Way Of The World”, you could lay one on top of the other.)
Also, bonus videos after the jump.
What do you mean we can’t cover “Giant Steps” on our album cause we’re supposed to be a funk band?” (“Spasmodic Mood”, or “Spasmodic Movements”, depending on what you’re looking at.)
The song title is “Tee Nine Chee Bit”.
The other great song title, ““Fair But So Uncool”.
I’m listening to Open Our Eyes, a really good early Earth Wind and Fire LP, and I’ll probably listen to some Bob and Ray like I did yesterday on purpose and the day before when it shuffled on random on my car iPod, before I heard that Bob Elliott had died.
My mom e-mailed me that she felt sad about Bob Elliott leaving and I get it; I do too, but I feel less sadness than admiration for people who came to this planet and DID WHAT THEY WANTED. Remember last week when we were talking about David Bowie? I admired the way he left, though it was too soon. He left with a gift of creative output, and apparently he had more in the tank. I feel a similar feeling for Bob (and would have for Ray if I had known his work when he died, in 1990). He did what he wanted. He was utterly unique (well, he was a lot like Ray, but two in a billion is still unique).
Bob Elliott was amazing, Maurice White was amazing. How big an influence they had! I’m very happy when talented people are also hugely popular. It’s a good thing.