Tuesday, 28 May 2019

Earth Wind & Fire - Last Days And Time (1972)

Time is on your side....

  

Released November 1972

This was Earth, Wind & Fire's third album and the were beginning to find their feet now as a horn-driven funky soul outfit. The extended, psychedelic experimentation of their second album had given way to a more concise punchier sound. However, unfortunately, they still hadn't found the knack of writing hit singles, something that was still several years away. The sound on this album is ok, but just a little bit muffled and unclear in places. Not off-puttingly so, however.

TRACK LISTING

1. Time Is On Your Side
2. Interlude #1
3. They Don't See
4. Interlude #2
5. Make It With You
6. Power
7. Remember The Children
8. Interlude #3
9. Where Have All The Flowers Gone
10. I'd Rather Have You
11. Mom                                                          

"Time Is On Your Side" is a lively slice of brassy funk to open with before we get the first of the three frankly pointless "Interludes" that permeate the album. No matter, the next one up, "They Don't See" is a tuneful laid-back soulful ballad with a bit of contemporary social awareness in its lyrics. A cover of Bread's easy-listening hit "Make It With You" is pleasant enough, but doesn't quite make it, so to speak. Taken in isolation, it's ok, but if you know the original, it just seems a bit messy and unnecessarily jazzy.

"Power" is a classic eight minutes of guitar, bass, keyboard and drum funk that eschews the usual brass accompaniment for once to deliver some down 'n' dirty urban-style funk in the "Blaxploitation soundtrack style so popular at the time. "Remember The Children" continues the funk with some more Marvin Gaye-style "message" in the lyrics.

"Where Have All The Flowers Gone" is a cover of a Pete Seeger folk song and continues the socially-conscious theme. It is sung beautifully, Philip Bailey using his falsetto voice to great effect. The backing is very "What's Going On". "I'd Rather Have You" is a lovely slice of sweet soul underpinned by some infectious bass. "Mom" is suitably sentimental, but musically it is very appealing.

This is a reasonable enough album, but there are much better soul/funk ones from the same period - Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, The Undisputed Truth, The Staple Singers, The Temptations, Isaac Hayes, Curtis Mayfield and The Isley Brothers, to name just a few.

C+

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