Monday, 7 January 2019

Earth Wind & Fire - The Need Of Love (1971)


  

Released November 1971

This was EW&F's second album, and is certainly an innovative, experimental one, particularly in the jazzy, almost hippy stylings of the nine-minute opener. There is sweet soul and funk on the album as well, although there are only five tracks. It didn't really take off for the band with this, to be honest, which was a shame, for it is a pretty credible album, especially for 1971.

TRACK LISTING

1. Energy
2. Beauty
3. I Can Feel It In My Bones
4. I Think About Lovin' You
5. Everything Is Everything                      

"Energy" takes a while to get going, beginning with some free jazz saxophone and then into its hippy/spacey spoken introductory part which is somewhat cringeworthy, but when the jazzy rhythms and soul/funk vocals kick in it is pretty impressive. The track swings from part to part and is very ground-breaking, almost serving as a precursor for some of the "blaxploitation" funk from the mid/late seventies. There is an excellent bit of drum, bass, guitar and horns interplay after about five minutes. "Beauty" is beautifully bassy and laid-back, with some quality vocals.

"I Can Feel It In My Bones" has the sound that would come to typify much of EW&F's early output - punchy, grinding, brass-driven and funky. "I Think About Lovin' You" features female vocalist Sherry Scott on a polished, sweet soul number, which is again nice and bassy, with some fetching trombone in the middle. It is very much an early seventies soul vocal, one that seems so representative of its era. "Everything Is Everything" is a wonderful piece of muscular funk to end on. It is a cover of a Donny Hathaway track.

The album is too short, to be honest, but it certainly an interesting listen as one tracks the development of what would eventually become a huge band. This was some six or seven years earlier than their glory days, however.

B-

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