File this one under…”Where the hell have I been?” Wow. Not only am I amazed that I never heard this entire record before, I’m amazed that I’m admitting it here! It’s true though. I’ve liked Earth, Wind & Fire for a long time but somehow this, one of their biggest albums ever, slipped through the cracks. Found it at a Savers a while back, along with another EWF album, and even after picking it up, it actually sat around for a bit. I’ve been getting music faster than I can listen to it, and this one ended up somewhere in the middle of the “must listen to” pile. After a good cleaning, both LPs play pretty well…a little bit of surface crackle but nothing to ruin the beautiful experience of listening to this album. ANSXS2VPEBXH
Man, the live portion of Gratitude just kills, right from the opening medley, to a stunning rendition of “Reasons” and a totally kickin’ performance of “Shining Star”. This was one of the hippest, tightest, most groovin’ and musical bands there was. And dig “New World Symphony” with that ridiculous Verdine White bass solo…oh yeah. Many of the studio tracks I had of course heard before, but didn’t have them on vinyl– here they sound better than ever. That groovy outro of “Can’t Hide Love” with the wordless vocals just kills me every time I hear it.
Funny, just now I’m noticing striking similarities between this and another favorite double live/studio album that I also picked up for short money– Genesis‘ Three Sides Live. Think about it…both start off with a live set and end with studio tracks, both are double albums with white covers…and, hang on– the Earth, Wind & Fire horns play on “Paperlate”! Hmm…
Hell, now I need to go back and give another listen to Spirit. My original impression of that one wasn’t stellar, and I now think I may have been completely out of my mind. How could this band produce anything less than perfect?
The Verdict: HELL YEAH!
My Cost: $2.00