148. Earth, Wind & Fire / 144. Tower Of Power

I vaguely remember that our friend Lynn Takigawa went to a concert featuring both Tower of Power and Earth, Wind and Fire, either in 1974 or 1975. Both were in their prime. Tower of Power’s lineup was in constant flux, and disintegrated rather quickly. After I graduated from high school in 1975 and moved on to college, Earth, Wind and Fire became so smooth and polished as to lose their edge. I began my jazz education in college and moved on. These two fine bands made a significant impact in the early 1970s. Talented big bands with great horn sections, pioneers of syncopated rhythm in soul music, singing sweet songs of love. What ever happened to the sweetness in music? I say it went both ways, either sickly sweet or downright cold.

I’m shocked Tower of Power is not included in the All Music Guide. Perhaps no new ground is covered, but the music is compelling, especially the horn section.

Here are songs to consider for the iPod:

Down To The Nightclub, Tower of Power ✭✭✭✭
You’re Still A Young Man, Tower of Power ✭✭✭✭

What Is Hip?, Tower of Power ✭✭✭
This Time It’s Real, Tower of Power ✭✭✭
So Very Hard To Go, Tower of Power ✭✭✭
Willing To Learn, Tower of Power ✭✭✭

Sparkling In The Sand, Tower of Power ✭✭
Soul Vaccination, Tower of Power ✭✭
Get Yo’ Feet Back On The Ground, Tower of Power ✭✭
Ain’t Nothin’ Stoppin’ Us Now, Tower of Power ✭✭

Only So Much Oil In The Ground, Tower of Power

Earth, Wind & Fire experienced far greater success, achieving worldwide popularity. They struggled to find their voice for years before writing memorable songs and finding a formula for success. Most of the songs I like are found on the allbums That’s The Way Of The World and Gratitude. I also like “Evil” from Head To The Sky. Of the later 1970s stuff, I included “September” almost gratuitously, as it is immensely popular. In addition, The band does a fine interpretation of the Beatles’ “Got To Get You Into My Life”. The rest of their later work is just too polished for me. That’s OK; everybody has a peak period, and forunately for me, it came at the right time.

I wish I could find a vintage video of the band playing “That’s The Way Of The World” or “Can’t Hide Love”. In particular, “Can’t Hide Love” has a unique structure and cadence. By 1981 everything sounds too smoothed out, but the groove is still there:

Reaching way back to 1973, before they were nationally famous…”Evil”:

Evil, Earth, Wind & Fire ✭✭✭

Can’t Hide Love, Earth, Wind & Fire ✭✭✭✭
That’s The Way Of The World, Earth, Wind & Fire ✭✭✭✭

Devotion, Earth, Wind & Fire ✭✭✭
Reasons, Earth, Wind & Fire ✭✭✭
Sing A Song, Earth, Wind & Fire ✭✭✭
Devotion (live), Earth, Wind & Fire ✭✭✭
Sun Goddess (live), Earth, Wind & Fire ✭✭✭
Got To Get You Into My Life, Earth, Wind & Fire ✭✭✭

September, Earth, Wind & Fire ✭✭
Reasons (live), Earth, Wind & Fire ✭✭
Shining Star, Earth, Wind & Fire ✭✭

Keep Your Head To The Sky, Earth, Wind & Fire
Yearnin’ Learnin’, Earth, Wind & Fire

2 thoughts on “148. Earth, Wind & Fire / 144. Tower Of Power

  1. Cheryl April 1, 2010 / 5:31 AM

    Given your comments about cadence, etc. I am surprised “Got to Get You Into My Life” is not a 4 star song. Its my favorite EW&F. Its got that kicky beat, some beautiful horn action (my favorite in almost any song) and some pretty decent instrumental sections. The only downside, the words are a little too repetitive for me which could justify being downgraded to a 3 star…maybe.

  2. Cheryl April 1, 2010 / 5:34 AM

    That’s the Way of the World – its a totally fantastic, all inspiring, stare in the eyes dance floor foreplay song…enough said.

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