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30 Dec 2017

Commodores ‎ “Live!” 1977 US Soul Funk


Commodores ‎ “Live!” 1977 US Soul Funk…recommended..!
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Hot on the heels of their 1977 self-titled LP – which included studio versions of the classics “Brick House” and “Easy” – Commodores Live! was issued as a seasonal offering the same year. The band wisely included extended readings of not only its most recent hits, but also a healthy sampling from its previous four studio albums, as well as the track “Too Hot ta Trot,” which had been featured in the motion picture Thank God It’s Friday. The six-man original Commodores were a powerful and self-contained unit that could effortlessly alternate between turning over mean and serious funk jams or a slow, sexy power ballad. Heralded as the Black Beatles, the Commodores were able to fuse a more traditional pop music headlong into the funk stylings of their contemporaries: Parliament, the Ohio Players, and Earth, Wind & Fire. However, instead of being propelled by seemingly endless – and often aimless – jams, William King (trumpet), Thomas McClary (guitar), Ronald LaPread (bass), Walter “Clyde” Orange (drums), Lionel Richie (alto saxophone), and Milan Williams (keyboards) were able to tighten up their arrangements and make them more potent in the process. From right out of the gate, the opening trio of “Won’t You Come Dance With Me,” “Slippery When Wet,” and “Come Inside” pounce and bounce around with undeniably hardcore funk grooves – replete with distorted and screaming electric lead guitar lines, emphatic accents from the horns, and an authoritative rhythm section that James Brown would have been proud of. The mellower side of the band is equally represented by several key Lionel Richie ballads. “Just to Be Close to You” shimmers and is notable for Richie’s extended vocal interlude. “Easy” – an audible audience favorite – swings with an urgency and passion conspicuously lacking in the more familiar studio version. Milan Williams’ tasty keyboards are also a highlight as they lightly soar above the rest of the band. Without a doubt it is the ten-plus-minute version of “Brick House” that allows the band to reach a funkified critical mass. Ronald LaPread’s rubbery basslines adhere themselves around “Clyde” Orange’s Latin-tinged percussion inflections. The searing Richie and William King sound more akin to a full-fledged horn section than the hard-workin’ duo behind their wall of solid brass. Commodores Live! is overall one of the finest R&B concert albums of the ‘70s – of which there are far too few….by Lindsay Planer …Allmusic…~



An album that was released in October 1977 recorded and edited from the shows at Washington D.C. to Atlanta Ga. It’s an hour long album which will for sure hold your interest. Lionel Richie plays his sax and sings lead through the entire album until Walter Orange Takes over on “Brick House”. I have a concert dvd of them live in Houston Texas which is the 1977 Zoom tour. That is just as good as the album with the same songs that were performed. I have fallen in love with that trademark logo that would be behind Walter Orange on drums on the stage in lights. The Commodores were in their prime at the time because of the 1977 album 'Commodores’ with the hit songs “Brick House” “Zoom” and “Easy”.Rolling Stone magazine voted them R&B act of the year. So you got the live versions of these songs with other hits songs from earlier albums. “Too Hot Ta Trot” was the new song at the time which went to #1 and boosted this album way up.They performed “Too Hot Ta Trot” in the 1978 movie “Thank God It’s Friday”. This album is good to have in your vinyl collection. You will be very excited of this album from start to finish….bat25man …~



Call it the R&B equivalent of the old Paul McCartney joke, but somewhere around the time Lionel Richie found himself swimming in hit singles, courtesy of his Can’t Slow Down album, the Commodores went from being “one of the top bands during their tenure at Motown Records … credited with seven number one songs and a host of other top 10 numbers on the Billboard charts” (as they’re described in the All Music Guide To Rock) to being “that band Lionel Richie used to be in.” 
Then, in 1985, the Commodores blew Lionel a raspberry and had the biggest hit of their career with “Night Shift” … and without Richie. 
Lionel got his revenge by releasing a greatest-hits album, Back to Front, in 1992, including songs he recorded with the Commodores (like “Easy”, “Still”, “Sail On”, and “Three Times a Lady”), but only giving a slight parenthetical credit of “recorded with the Commodores”) in the liner notes for those songs. Since the Commodores hadn’t really followed up “Night Shift” with any further hits, this maneuver served to further perpetuate the myths that “Lionel Richie was the Commodores” and “the Commodores were all about easy-listening-style ballads”. 
Let’s tackle both those myths, one at a time: 
1. Lionel Richie might’ve been a songwriting fiend (he did, after all, write or co-write virtually all of the band’s hit singles) with a smooth set of vocal chords, but he was not the Commodores. The Commodores were the sum of their parts. Lionel Richie was the band’s lead vocalist as well as their alto sax man, but Walter “Clyde” Orange was the group’s co-lead vocalist (and drummer), Thomas McClary manned the guitar (and wrote “Slippery When Wet”, a number-one R&B hit for the band, all by his lonesome), Ronald LaPread plucked the bass strings, Milan Willliams handled the keys, and not only did William King blow the trumpet, but he also served as the band’s choreographer. 
2. The Commodores damned sure weren’t all about easy-listening ballads. Anyone who’s ever had a booty and shaken it to “Brick House” knows that much (though you’d be surprised how many people don’t associate that song as being by the same band who released “Easy”). But if you need further proof, then you need look no farther than the Commodores, Live!, recently released on CD for the first time ever in the United States. 
The disc’s liner notes, by A. Scott Galloway, refers to Live! in the same breath as Frampton Comes Alive. Album rock fans might have an aneurysm at the mere thought of comparing the two, but if the goal is to capture the live experience as well as a place in time in just a bit over an hour, then the comparison is apt. 
Recorded during the Commodores’ 1977 tour of the US (specifically, on their dates at the Omni Theater in Atlanta, Georgia, and the Capital Center in Landover, Maryland), Live! captures a band at the height of their game. The group were touring behind their self-titled fifth album, which introduced the world not only to “Easy” (#4 on the Billboard charts) but to “Brick House” (#5) as well. They were definitely on top of their game, blending the funk with the soulful ballads with effortless ease. 
There are plenty of hits in evidence here: the aforementioned “Slippery When Wet”, “Easy”, and “Brick House”, as well as “Sweet Love” and “Fancy Dancer”. Several tracks are extended in length from their album and single versions (“Zoom” cracks the 10-minute mark here, for example), but the performance and the listener’s inclusion into the live experience makes the time fly by. 
The stage patter is easily as much fun as the music itself. When Lionel says, “Ah, I feel like I want to talk to all the ladies out there for just a minute,” the shrieking begins; when he then leaps headlong into “Just to Be Close to You”, you can well imagine it doesn’t stop. Later, he makes the observation to the Atlanta audience that “we started out last time with 9,000, then 10,000, then 15,000. Now, it looks like we’re gonna have to find a larger place to play for the Commodores family, y'all!” 
The concert closer in those days … as it likely remains today … was “Brick House”. Also turned into a 10-minute R&B rave-up, the band would regularly hold a “Brick House” contest. On the album, however, Lionel changes the routine, saying to his bandmates, “I want y'all to look out in that audience at all the fine brick houses in Atlanta!” 
“Listen!” Richie then shouts to the crowd. “It is impossible to have a brick house contest tonight and only pick one winner. So, tonight, let it be known that the Commodores have declared all the ladies in the building tonight to be brick house winners!” 
The ladies of Atlanta, as one would likely expect, were decidedly pleased. Tacked onto Live! was the band’s contribution to the soundtrack of Thank God It’s Friday, the top 40 hit “Too Hot To Trot”. It’s nice from a chronological standpoint, but, without question, it does feel like a tack-on. 
Live! is definitely deserving of its stature as one of the premiere live albums of the '70s … and that’s of any genre, Frampton fans…..by..Will Harris…pop mstters….~



In 1967, at Alabama’s Tuskegee Institute, six students decided to merge two local bands, The Mystics and The Jays. The new group consisted of Lionel Richie on keyboards, saxophone and vocals, Thomas McClary on guitar, William King on trumpet, Andre Callahan on drums, Michael Gilbert on bass and Milan Williams on keyboards. Legend has it that King tossed a dictionary in the air, and when it landed, pointed to a random word on the page it opened to. The Commodores were born. While they continued their studies, the group began performing in Montgomery, Alabama and quickly gained an avid following. A turning point in the group’s career came when they met Benjamin Ashburn, a street-wise marketing expert who signed on as their manager. Through careful planning and extensive road tours, The Commodores gained worldwide notoriety by touring in the New York and European Club Scene. In 1971, The Commodores auditioned for and later signed on as the opening act for The Jackson 5 European tour. They subsequently headlined in Japan and drew in 150,000 fans in four days in the Philippines, breaking the record the Beatles had set years before. In 1974, their first album, “Machine Gun”, became the best-selling international album to date. The instrumental title track, written by Milan Williams, crossed over from the R&B charts to reach #22 on the Hot 100, giving the band their first hit single. 
The Commodores were still in university when they released two more albums. “Caught In The Act” earned them the Bronze Prize at the Tokyo Music Festival and the single “Slippery When Wet” hit #19 on the Billboard Pop chart in mid-1975. The single “Sweet Love”, from their third album “Moving On”, became their first Top Ten hit when it went to #5 the following year . After their own successful tour, they were asked by The Rolling Stones to open for them on a world-wide tour. Amazingly, the Commodores managed to continue their education by studying on the road and returning to take mid-terms and final exams. During the rest of the 70’s, the Commodores turned out more hit records including: “Just To Be Close To You” (#7 in 1976), “Easy” (#4 in 1977), “Brickhouse” (#5 in 1977), “Three Times a Lady” (#1 in 1978), “Sail On” (#4 in 1979), and “Still” (#1 in 1979). They performed to sold-out worldwide audiences, becoming the most successful Motown group ever. In 1977, they released a live double album “Commodores Live!”, topped out at #3 on the Hot 200. They also showed up in the movies in 1977, appearing with Donna Summer in the Disco movie, Thank God It’s Friday. 

In the eighties, Lionel Richie began writing for other musical acts besides The Commodores. He wrote the ballad “Lady” for Kenny Rogers, which went to #1. He also wrote and recorded the duet, “Endless Love” with Diana Ross, written for the movie starring Brooke Shields. This single reached #1 and stayed there for nine weeks. After “Still” had topped the charts in 1979, confirming the Commodores as Motown’s best-selling act, the group attempted to move into a more experimental blend of Funk and Rock on “Heroes” in 1980. The commercial failure of this venture, and the success of Lionel Richie’s duet with Diana Ross on 'Endless Love’, persuaded him to leave the group for a solo career. 

In August, 1982, Richie had just recorded his first album, “Lionel Richie”, when The Commodores manager Benny Ashburn died at the age of 54. The following month, Lionel Richie’s first solo single, “Truly” was released, marking the end of his association with The Commodores. The single topped the U.S. charts for the first two weeks in November and was certified Gold on December 9th. “Truly” was followed by two more hits from the album, “You Are” (#4 in 1983) and “My Love” (#5 in 1983). His single “All Night Long,” from this second album, “Can’t Slow Down”, hit #1 in America on November 12th, 1983. It stayed on the charts for five months, outselling “Endless Love” to become Motown’s biggest selling worldwide single to that date. The album stayed on the charts for three years, selling over eight million copies and producing three more top singles “Hello” (#1 in 1984), “Stuck On You” (#3 in 1984) and “Penny Lover” (#8 in 1984. In 1984, The Commodores continued on after Thomas McClary also launched a solo career with an album for Motown. He was replaced by Englishman J.D. Nicholas, formerly a vocalist with Heatwave, and this combination was featured on the group’s 1985 hit “Nightshift”, an affecting tribute to Marvin Gaye and Jackie Wilson that successfully captured Gaye’s shifting, rhythmic brand of Soul. The single reached the #3 spot on the Billboard Hot 100 and was named the Best R&B Performance By A Duo or Group With Vocal at the 28th Annual Grammy Awards. Later that year, the Commodores left Motown for Polydor, prompting Ronald LaPread to leave the band. Their new contract began promisingly with a major Soul chart hit, “Goin’ To The Bank” (1986), but subsequent releases proved less successful. 

Riding the on top of his wave of success, Lionel Richie was asked by Quincy Jones to co-write a song with Michael Jackson to help raise money for famine relief in Africa. After Michael and Lionel prepared for three days, the song “We Are The World” took only two hours to write. It became a worldwide number 1 single, with Richie, Diana Ross, Stevie Wonder, Ray Charles, Elton John, Kenny Rogers, Steve Perry, Bob Dylan, Daryl Hall, Bruce Springsteen and Cindy Lauper among the artists who are featured in the recording. Later in the year, he collected a number of awards at the 12th annual music awards: Favorite Male Artist Pop/Rock; Favorite Male Artist Soul/R&B; Favorite Male Video Artist Pop/Rock; Favorite Male Video Artist Soul/R&B; Favorite Video Single Pop/Rock; Favorite Video Single Soul/R&B. He also made a presence at the Grammy Awards, winning Album of the Year for “Can’t Slow Down” and tying for Producer of the Year. The song “Say You, Say Me”, the theme of the movie White Nights, starring Gregory Hines and Mikhael Baryshnikov, hit number 1 on December 21st, 1985. With this hit, Lionel became the only songwriter in history to write nine #1 songs in nine consecutive years. “Say You, Say Me” also won Richie an Oscar for Best Original Song at the Academy Awards in 1986. Lionel’s third album “Dancing on the Ceiling”, released in 1986, sold over four-million albums by May 1987 and produced several hits including: “Dancing on the Ceiling” (#1 in 1986), “Love Will Conquer All” (#9 in 1986), “Ballerina Girl” (#7 in 1987), and “Se La” (#20 in 1987). The Commodores meanwhile, made an unexpected return to the UK chart in 1988 when “Easy” was used for a television commercial for the Halifax Building Society, and reached number 15. 

The following three years were trying for Richie. His personal life took a tragic turn when he separated from his wife of seventeen years, his father passed away, and he developed polyps on his vocal cords. After two operations, his left vocal cord haemorrhaged in October of 1991. He subsequently took more time between projects for what was called “growth” and “introspection,” which led to the creative ventures heard on 1992’s “Back to Front”, 1996’s “Louder Than Words”, 1998’s “Time”, 2001’s “Renaissance”, 2003’s “Encore” and 2003’s aptly titled “The Definitive Collection”. 

In 2004, Lionel was back in the musical spotlight again with “Just For You”, his first studio album release in over three years. In support of the CD, he toured France, England, Germany and the US. Later that year, he appeared on the British motoring television series Top Gear in the Star in a Reasonably Priced Car segment where he was interviewed by host Jeremy Clarkson. In November, 2005, Richie performed with Kenny Rogers on a CMT Crossroads special that gave an informative insight into their friendship both in and out of the music business. On May 7th, 2006, he performed at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, replacing Fats Domino, who had fallen ill. Richie released his eighth studio album entitled “Coming Home” on September 12th, 2006. It debuted at number six on the Billboard Hot 200, becoming his biggest hit LP since 1986’s “Dancing on the Ceiling”. It has sold over half a million units worldwide. The first single from the album, “I Call It Love”, features his adopted daughter, Nicole Richie. The song shot to #1 on Billboard’s Urban Adult Contemporary chart, becoming his biggest hit in the U.S. in ten years. Nicole stars in the music video for the track. On December 9th of that same year, Lionel hosted and performed live on the British television show An Audience with Lionel Richie. Two months later, he performed “Hello” on the 49th Grammy Awards show. On November 25th, 2007, he made a surprise appearance on the Australian Idol grand finale, performing “All Night Long” at the Sydney Opera House. 

On May 2nd, 2008, Lionel Richie was the 21st recipient of the George and Ira Gershwin Lifetime Achievement Award at UCLA’s annual Spring Sing. In accepting the award, Richie said: “Forget about surviving thirty-some-odd years in the music business, Lionel Richie survived twenty-seven years of Nicole Richie.” On New Year’s Eve, Lionel performed in Times Square for the New Year’s Eve celebration and ball drop and in May, 2009, he appeared on the season finale of American Idol with Danny Gokey. That Spring also brought a new album, “Just Go”, which climbed to #24 on the Billboard 200 chart. On July 7th, 2009, Richie performed “Jesus is Love” at Michael Jackson’s memorial service. May 30th, 2010, saw Lionel Richie performing at the National Memorial Day Concert in Washington D.C., singing “Stuck on You” and “America the Beautiful”. His family has a military background. Lionel returned to Australia in 2011 where he and guest artist Guy Sebastian toured the country and New Zealand with concert dates spread throughout the Spring. Richie and Sebastian re-recorded the 1983 single “All Night Long” to raise money for Australian and New Zealand flood and earthquake relief. 

Lionel was quoted as saying that he would like to get The Commodores back together soon, “or in the next ten years, no one will care.” That event may come even sooner, as after Richie made a triumphant appearance at England’s Glastonbury Festival on June 28th, 2015, the 2003 album “Lionel Richie & The Commodores: The Definitive Collection” shot to the top of the UK album chart. His plans for 2016 included a three show stint in the UK called All The Hits Live and a string of dates in South America. In February of that year, Lionel was honored as the MusiCares Person of the Year at a pre-Grammy event where some of music’s biggest stars paid tribute to his music. In June, 2016, Richie was presented the prestigious Johnny Mercer Award by The Songwriters Hall Of Fame. During the ceremony, Lionel quipped, “All the songs that I created were the songs that they told me would ruin my career.” For the Summer of 2017 the 67-year-old singer was scheduled for a thirty-five date tour across America with Mariah Carey, but after undergoing knee surgery in late February, the tour was cut back to twenty-two shows…..~










Track listing  
Won’t You Come Dance With Me 3:36 
Slippery When Wet 3:00 
Come Inside 3:12 
Just to Be Close to You 7:17 
Funny Feelings 5:16 
Fancy Dancer 4:44 
Sweet Love 8:39 
Zoom 10:00 
Easy 7:23 
I Feel Sanctified 2:58 
Brick House 11:18 
Too Hot Ta Trot 5:38 

Earth Wind & Fire “Gratitude"1975 US Soul Jazz Funk


Earth Wind & Fire “Gratitude"1975  US Soul Jazz Funk  highly recommended...!
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Superb double-album with three sides recorded live and one side in the studio. The live cuts include awesome, jazzy versions of "Africano” and Ramsey Lewis’s “Sun Goddess” while the studio side includes “Singasong” and the huge fave “Can’t Hide Love”…~


Gratitude is a studio album by the band’s famous band. Earth, Wind & Fire, released in 1975. 
Although the band mix stylessuch as Funk, R & B, Disco Music and Soul, the Gratitude disc is on the list of 200 definitive albums in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. A quite notorious album in the history of the North American Band.
A disc is completely recommended because it has a very high musical level in terms of vocal and instrumental techniques.Songs like “Sun Goddess”, “African / Power”, “Sunshine”, “Gratitude”, “Sing a Song” and “Sing a Song” make this album one of the best in the band…..~ 


Gratitude is from one of the greatest live albums ever released. The classic “Gratitude” album was first released on November 11, 1975. A common misconception about this album is that it was one complete concert, when in fact the contents of this album were a compilation of EW&F live performances from 1974 – 1975. 
I’m not sure of the exact date & location that this performance is from, but I’m sure that those that witnessed it first hand probably still have fond memories of the show today. I know that I still remember listening to this album as a kid with my older sisters & imaging that I was at the concert watching it live. 
The original studio version of Reasons was first released March, 15 1975 on the LP “That’s The Way Of The World” Many, including myself feel that the live version included on the Gratitude LP is FAR superior to that of the still well performed studio version. 
I’ll also post the studio version within the next couple of weeks, & you can decide for yourself if you agree…~


With That’s the Way of the World having made Earth, Wind & Fire one of the best-selling soul bands of the 1970s, Maurice White and co. had no problem filling large arenas. As dynamic as EWF was on-stage, it’s a shame that there isn’t more documentation of the band’s live show. Only one live EWF album was released by a major label in America, the superb Gratitude. First a two-LP set and later reissued on CD, Gratitude brilliantly captures the excitement EWF generated on-stage at its creative peak. Neither hardcore EWF devotees nor more casual listeners should deprive themselves of the joys of the live versions of “Shining Star” and “Yearnin’ Learnin’.” Maurice White is magnificent throughout, and Philip Bailey truly soars on extended versions of “Reasons” (which boasts a memorable alto sax solo by guest Don Myrick) and “Devotion.” The album also introduced some excellent new studio songs, including the haunting “Can’t Hide Love” and the uplifting “Sing a Song.” One could nitpick and wish for live versions of “Evil,” “Keep Your Head to the Sky,” and “Kalimba Song,” but the bottom line is that Gratitude is one of EWF’s finest accomplishments…. by Alex Henderson …allmusic…~



When you write a review of a recording put on an SACD, you really have two reviews to write. One for the recording and one for the SACD abilities. I’m an old rock & roll hippie so this one is a little harder than usual. 

I’m not an Earth, Wind & Fire fan so it’s not fair for me to rate their music. However I do like some of their songs. Their popularity doesn’t really need my rating anyway. The world knows they were a real force in the music industry. They’ve had 7 albums, (including this one), and 7 singles to hit the top 10 in the U.S. or U.K. . Their songs have been used in movies, commercials and such for years. That’s partly what’s so great about them. They are appealing to the masses but still hold a sense of personalness (?) that allows them to enjoy a vast fan base. 
Now for the SACD part. I have heard some of these songs but only on a vinyl album or radio. I can imagine though that it must sound good on a regular CD, (if engineered/mastered properly). For those of you who are not as familiar with SACD’s, try to think of it as high definition/resolution music. Just like HDTV. It’s just a bunch of technical stuff that means it was recorded with special equipment, that requires a special machine to play it on, to give the high definition/resolution. But if you are really into listening to music and your ears can really hear the difference, (which most people do but some do not), high definition/resolution music is missing in your life. 
One thing about this SACD is that it was made to be multi-channel. Some SACD’s are stereo only. All multi-channel SACD’s play in stereo too and some can play on a regular CD/DVD player,(but this one only plays on an SACD player). That’s what partly makes this one so special along with the fact that Maurice White was involed on the 5.1 remix. “Gratitude” is made up of live and studio recordings. There is a live version of “Shinning Star” and the studio version of “Sing a Song”. Check online for a complete list. This is often referred to as a “reference” disc. I agree. That simply means that if anyone wanted to hear an example of what a great SACD would sound like, this one would be used as a reference. I do not need to make any adjustments to compensate for brightness, dullness or any other abnormal sounds. Only personal preferrences which are few to none on this disc. The mix of songs is enough for any diehard fan or the passer by. I heard a couple of songs I forgot I heard before. 
There’s no doubt that this excellent recording on a multi-channel SACD belongs in any audiophile’s collection…..HDmusic…~


Really ugly album cover but great live album when EW&F were tearing it up everywhere. As tight as tight can be, soul, funk, jazz. This double album has a studio side, so its not a complete live album, but the live opening medley, ‘Africano/Power’ shows just how awesome EW&F were live. 'Shining Star’ is a standout as well, actually, all of the live music is a standout, one of the very best live performances I have ever heard. 'New World Symphony’, I can’t forget that jazzy track, over 9 minutes of bliss, and EW&F do a real nice job with 'Sun Goddess’, a great Ramsey Lewis tune. Don’t think of these guys as just disco (a little bit of that shows up on the studio side of this double album, which is excellent as well), give it a listen, they are at their funkiest best here, especially live….catwomyn …~


Earth Wind and Fire can’t catch a break these days. I think people would actually like them, however, if they thought of them as something besides “the very worse of disco excess.” They weren’t even much of a disco band for the most part, more of a funk band who occasionally tended towards ballads. You know, like every other '70s funk ballads, just with a more spiritual bent. Usually I’d find myself put off by Christian sentiments displayed as blatantly as they are on “Devotion,” but I don’t know, the song fucking works. It was great on the original, but it sounds better here, and actually ends up being my favorite. Just a great chill track that sounds heartfelt without being preachy. And that’s really what makes all the difference. 
It isn’t just “Devotion” I like, either. Pretty much all of the album’s three live sides are killer example of how potent this group was. Yeah, that’s right, potent. There’s a strong jazz influence here, and a lot of great jamming that really helps set the band apart. “Sun Goddess” (a cover of an apparently lame Ramsey Lewis song) and “New World Symphony” are both killer high-energy extended jams, and the energy even works on more compact songs like the versions of “Yearnin’ Learnin’” and (of course) “Shining Star.” It also brings a spark to the ballads - “Reasons” sounds better here than it did in the studio, aided by an extended soprano sax workout. I remember the R&B station I used to listen to all the time in middle school before it gave way to Mariah Carey-type schlock was more inclined to play that version than the original, and I can see why. Same for “Devotion” - two huge improvements on already good songs. And that’s really why I like this band - they were sophisticated, dynamic, and gritty all at once. Oh yeah, good songwriting, too. 

The studio side doesn’t offer the same level of “holy shit what was that” as the live one does, but it’s still worth hearing for the two hits. “Singasong” might not be their best composition, but it’s still a pretty good, ridonculously catchy pop-soul tune that you’ll probably find yourself humming all day after you’ve heard it. You know the kind I mean. And “Can’t Hide Love” is a great ballad, I think. I don’t know, maybe I’m crazy, but I like this band, particularly this album. Great mix of soul and funk, with jazz and world music influences that keep their mid '70s work from slipping into the disco kitsch that it would eventually end up in. Check this one out - it’s good stuff….by….finulanu ….~


Recorded at the height of their popularity, 'Gratitude’ not only ranks as one of EW&F’s finest albums, it also set the standard for how live shows should be recorded. For half of this double joint consists of live, very live, material, and it’s this portion of 'Gratitude’ that gives it its status as a classic. 
Instead of steadily building things up, EW&F hit you right over the head from the start with one of the most powerful live funk jams ever waxed: “Medley” incorporates the bona fide groovathons “Africano” and “Power”, thereby creating a brontosaurus of a funk beast that reaches the rarest level of Ultimate Stank… The crashing drums and booming bass just don’t let up, providing a solid foundation for the horn- and guitarplayers to let loose and go off into their own thing… Needs to be heard to be believed. 
They then tackle “Yearnin’ Learnin’”, churning out an almost carbon copy of the studio original that appeared on their hugely successful 'That’s the Way of the World’ disc. 
The inclusion of the ballads “Devotion” and “Reasons” seemed mandatory, and while both are crisply delivered, they are no match for the heavy funk assault that make up the bulk of this set. Case in point is a tremendous take on Ramsey Lewis’ “Sun Goddess”, which breathes instrumental jazz-funk perfection. 
“Sing a Message to You” obviously is a teaser that leads up to the definitive version of “Shining Star”, a hard funk, epic finale to a grand concert. 
And that’s not all: the studio side has its share of tasty vittels. The impressive (and lengthy) “New World Symphony” features the kalimba extensively before it busts loose and turns into an avant garde jazz/funk opus. 
Simple, but effective, feel-good soulful anthems such as “Sunshine” and “Singasong” work well, but the diamond hard funk of the title-track tops them both. 
Disco-influenced dance material creeps in on the end with the superfluous “Celebrate”, but the collection finishes with the fine, mellow, mid-tempo ballad “You Can’t Hide Love”. 
Along with their self-titled debut, this album brings you EW&F at their funkiest….by…soulmakossa …~


Earth, Wind and Fire tear it up on this great mostly live album. The live tracks are my favorite because of the high energy level and outstanding musicianship on display. The studio tracks are pretty good too though with “Sing a Song” (a huge hit) and “Gratitude” my favorites. The live tracks were recorded on the heels of That’s The Way of the World, the bands best studio album. They were doing a lot of fusion of jazz, funk, rock and soul, and they make the mix work. Check out the horns on the opening tune “Africano/Power Medley”. What an arrangement, full of impossible runs that the horns play to total perfection. “Sun Goddess” is a fine piece of Jazz fusion originally recored by the group and Ramsey Lewis. And Phillip Baileys’ vocals on “Reasons” are simply not of this world! This is a great album for yourself, or perfect for getting a party into orbit. Check it out!…by…timregler …~


One of the best live performances ever caught on record!!…~


People talk about EARTH WIND & FIRE’s first two LPs a lot. Yes they are rare, and yes they are an eclectic mix of Funk, Rock, Soul and Jazz, but if you really want to hear some good EARTH WIND & FIRE, look no further than this album. Gratitude can be found in any record store and for a cheap price. It’s also a rare double LP that makes for a great listen from beginning to end. The first 3 sides were recorded live, while the last is studio material. Just looking at the pictures of the band getting down in the inside gatefold cover should tell you of the quality of the music contained within. You get some of their all time greats like the slow-jams Devotion and Reasons, the party classic Shining Star, and Sunshine and Singasong that fall somewhere in between those. Along with that there are the funky instrumental workouts of Africano-Power Medley and New World Symphony that both have short drum breaks and mix a variety of styles like Funk, Fusion, Afro-Beat, Latin, etc. There’s also a looser and funkier version of Sun Goddess that band founder Maurice White originally wrote for Ramsey Lewis, the title cut that’s a bit Sly Stone sounding, and another slow jam in Can’t Hide Love. You really can’t go wrong with this record…..~


The three live sides reflect their genuine jazz orientation, flowing along enjoyably and unexcessively and offering more new material than is superstar practice. But orientation ain’t chops, and despite my prejudices I’d rather hear Dvorak’s New World Symphony than the Whites’. The four songs on the studio side are enjoyable, too–took them a while to figure out their formula, but now they’ve really got it down. The news that “the good Lord gonna make a way,” however, is gonna come as a surprise to Him, Her, or It….~ 


  Gratitude, EWF’s 1975 double album, showcased three sides of the best live material from their busy year of touring. But tucked away on the fourth side is a quintet of studio gems, led off by the shimmering “Sing a Song.” Guitarist Al McKay came up with the track’s signature riff while in his dressing room prior to a show, before presenting the tune to Maurice White for lyrical input. White kept the words simple and optimistic, penning an infectious disco-flecked jingle praising the healing power of music. Produced with his old Chess Records colleague Charles Stepney, White replicated — and updated — the classic sound he created for Etta James and Fontella Bass a decade before. The result was a triumph that reached Number One on the Billboard R&B charts and pushed Gratitude past the 3 million sales mark. …Rolling Stone….~


With That’s the Way of the World having made Earth, Wind & Fire one of the best-selling soul bands of the 1970s, Maurice White and co. had no problem filling large arenas. As dynamic as EWF was on-stage, it’s a shame that there isn’t more documentation of the band’s live show. Only one live EWF album was released by a major label in America, the superb Gratitude. First a two-LP set and later reissued on CD, Gratitude brilliantly captures the excitement EWF generated on-stage at its creative peak. Neither hardcore EWF devotees nor more casual listeners should deprive themselves of the joys of the live versions of “Shining Star” and “Yearnin’ Learnin’.” Maurice White is magnificent throughout, and Philip Bailey truly soars on extended versions of “Reasons” (which boasts a memorable alto sax solo by guest Don Myrick) and “Devotion.” The album also introduced some excellent new studio songs, including the haunting “Can’t Hide Love” and the uplifting “Sing a Song.” One could nitpick and wish for live versions of “Evil,” “Keep Your Head to the Sky,” and “Kalimba Song,” but the bottom line is that Gratitude is one of EWF’s finest accomplishments….~


It’s Thanksgiving in America, that yearly holiday where we sit down with family and friends, enjoy a bountiful meal, and give thanks. What better way to celebrate than to play “Gratitude,” a hidden Earth, Wind, & Fire track from their 1975 live album of the same name. Featuring Verdine White’s funky bassline, a healthy dose of horns, and vocal interplay between singers Maurice White and Philip Bailey, “Gratitude” stands as a classic EWF jam. 

1975 marked a banner year in EWF’s history; their breakthrough album, That’s the Way of the World, spawned the hits “Shining Star,” “Reasons,” and the title track. Between that and their previous jazz-infused discs, the band had amassed enough material to release a live album. Their now-legendary concerts featured elaborate costumes, choreography, and lengthy jams. Amazingly, Gratitude remains among the few live recordings by the band, an amazing fact considering their hit-making prowess. Nevertheless, Gratitude served as a thank you to fans who stuck with them since their 1971 debut. In addition to their live show, they offered fans new songs, including the sexy “Can’t Hide Love” and bouncy “Sing A Song.” The album fared extremely well on the charts, topping both the R&B and Billboard 200. The title track–another new song–contains another message EWF often delivered: gratitude for life and love. 

Cowritten by Bailey, Larry Dunn, Maurice White, Verdine White, “Gratitude” is about giving thanks to fans and a higher power. The track begins with Verdine’s popping bass, Maurice’s howling voice accented by Phillips’ smooth falsetto. “Wanna thank you,” he and others croon, with Maurice joining in in with his swaggering style: “We just wanna give gratitude/ Got plenty love we want to give to you,” he sings. As with many EWF songs, this one refers to music itself, much like “Sing A Song”: “With good music and we’re trying to say/ That the Good Lord’s gonna make a way,” Maurice adds, the horns chiming in to set the celebratory mood. 

The songwriters return to another familiar EWF motif: freedom of mind and body. “Open your heart, let your body find/ Freedom in your stride, love, and peace of mind,” Maurice sings. Emphasizing their primary purpose–giving thanks to God–they end the lyrics with the lines “One more time and we got to say/ That the Good Lord’s gonna make a way.” The rest of the track simply gives the band room to jam, the horns blaring and Verdine’s bass laying down some of the funkiest lines you’ll hear. The track ends with Bailey and Maurice trading lines, ad libbing and almost scatting along with the beat. 

“Gratitude” may not be one of EWF’s most well-known tracks, but it represents how they could establish a groove, add some sophisticated chord changes and beautiful harmonies, and combine these elements into some of the most soulful tunes ever recorded. Whether you’re celebrating Thanksgiving or just want to celebrate life’s riches, put on “Gratitude” and set the thanks-giving mood…..deep soul…~


Great stuff! Although a live album, Gratitude is one of Earth Wind & Fire’s greatest from the mid 70s – a very tight batch of grooves that proves that Maurice White & Co. could play just as well on stage as they could in the studio – and the noise of the crowd going wild is enough to confirm that! And although a live set, the record’s actually a bit half and half – with a few added studio tunes to keep the hits coming. Includes their classic version of Skip Scarborough’s “Can’t Hide Love”, plus the mellow jams “Yearnin’ Learnin’” and “Reasons”, the funky “Shining Star”, and a great cover of “Sun Goddess”, which was also done by Ramsey Lewis with the group. ….~


With That’s the Way of the World having made Earth, Wind & Fire one of the best-selling soul bands of the 1970s, Maurice White and co. had no problem filling large arenas. As dynamic as EWF was on-stage, it’s a shame that there isn’t more documentation of the band’s live show. Only one live EWF album was released by a major label in America, the superb Gratitude. First a two-LP set and later reissued on CD, Gratitude brilliantly captures the excitement EWF generated on-stage at its creative peak. Neither hardcore EWF devotees nor more casual listeners should deprive themselves of the joys of the live versions of “Shining Star” and “Yearnin’ Learnin’.” Maurice White is magnificent throughout, and Philip Bailey truly soars on extended versions of “Reasons” (which boasts a memorable alto sax solo by guest Don Myrick) and “Devotion.” The album also introduced some excellent new studio songs, including the haunting “Can’t Hide Love” and the uplifting “Sing a Song.” One could nitpick and wish for live versions of “Evil,” “Keep Your Head to the Sky,” and “Kalimba Song,” but the bottom line is that Gratitude is one of EWF’s finest accomplishments…..~ 


  Gratitude is a studio album by the band’s famous band. Earth, Wind & Fire, released in 1975. 
Although the band mix stylessuch as Funk, R & B, Disco Music and Soul, the Gratitude disc is on the list of 200 definitive albums in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. A quite notorious album in the history of the North American Band.
A disc is completely recommended because it has a very high musical level in terms of vocal and instrumental techniques.Songs like “Sun Goddess”, “African / Power”, “Sunshine”, “Gratitude”, “Sing a Song” and “Sing a Song” make this album one of the best in the band…..~ 


Credits 

Drums, Percussion – Fred White, Ralph Johnson 
Engineer – George Massenburg 
Guitar – Johnny Graham 
Guitar, Percussion – Al McKay 
Piano, Organ, Synthesizer [Moog] – Larry Dunn 
Producer [Live Show] – Joe Wissert 
Producer [Studio Tracks], Arranged By [Studio Tracks] – Charles Stepney 
Recorded By – Haji Sound, Wally Heider Recording 
Saxophone – Don Myrick 
Saxophone, Percussion – Andrew Woolfolk 
Trombone – Louis Satterfield 
Trumpet – Michael Harris 
Vocals, Bass, Percussion – Verdine White 
Vocals, Congas, Percussion – Philip Bailey 
Vocals, Kalimba, Drums, Timbales, Producer [Live Show; Studio Tracks], Liner 
Live Show Producers: Joe Wissert & Maurice White 
Studio Tracks Producers: Charles Stepney & Maurice White 
Arranged by Earth, Wind & Fire & Charles Stepney 
Engineered by George Massenburg 
Recorded across the states and stages on the 1974-1975 American tour. 

Track 17 bonus Medley taken from a live taping for a 1978 TV variety special starring Natalie Cole. Recorded on February 11, 1978 at Hollywood Sunset Sound Recorders, Hollywood, CA. Mixed on February 26, 1999, at Magnet Vision Studios, Santa Monica, CA. 

Tracklist 
Introduction (0:22) 
Medley (5:58) 
A1a Africano
A1b Power
A2 Yearnin’ Learnin’ 4:18 
A3 Devotion 4:54 
B1 Sun Goddess 7:57 
B2 Reasons 8:27 
B3 Sing A Message To You 1:21 
C1 Shining Star 4:59 
C2 New World Symphony 9:47 
C3 Sunshine 4:18 
D1 Singasong 3:25 
D2 Gratitude 3:29 
D3 Celebrate 3:09 
D4 Can’t Hide Love 4:12 

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