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the Earth, Wind & Fire experience

Pre-Earth Wind & Fire/The Salty Peppers. Maurice White, Wade Flemmons and Don Whitehead recorded two 7" singles in 1969 as The Salty Peppers before they went on becoming Earth Wind & Fire.
"La, La, La pt.1" b/w La, La, La pt.2" (TEC Records 1014).
"Uh Huh Yeah" b/w "Your Love is Life" (Capitol P-2568).
"Your Love is Life" was then re-recorded and appeared on the 1971 EWF debut album as "Love Is Life".

Sweet Sweetbacks Baadasssss Song, a Melvin Van Peebles' production, was the first movie in this genre which turned out such dynamic movies and soundtracks as Shaft. Sweetback was released in 1971 and was the first film to feature a mostly-black cast and a black hero. Despite the resistance from The Motion Picture rating board, whose all-white members rated the film "X", it grossed over $10 million at the box office in the first week of release. Raising questions of race, violence and corruption, the film captured the imagination of many Americans and featured an effective and fitting soundtrack.
Van Peebles' action-packed story involves a black pimp who finds himself in trouble when he kills two white policemen who brutalise one of his militant friends. Melvin plays the lead character, with his son Mario in a supporting role. The father-son duo have had success with other political movies such as Panther, but this Sweetback remains the touchstone of Blaxploitation's repertoire.
The soundtrack comes from the young Earth, Wind and Fire, and is a sure early sign of the group's appeal and eventual success. In this early recording they present an eclectic mixture of fast and furious soul and jazz. You'll notice the song titles alone are eye catching.
01. Sweetback losing his cherry
02. Sweetback getting it uptight and preaching it so hard the bourgeois reggin angels in heaven turn around
03. Come on feet
04. Sweetback's theme
05. Hoppin' John / Voices / Mojo woman / Voices
Sanra Z / Voices
06. Reggin hanging on in there as best they can / Voices won't bleed me
07. The man tries running his usual game but Sweetback's Jones is so strong he wastes the hounds (Yeay! Yeah! And besides that will be coming back takin' names and collecting dues)

The first two EWF albums, Earth Wind & Fire and The Need Of Love, was finally reissued on CD in the US on 11. March 1997. Until then they were only available in Europe and Japan. Some old vinyl pressings of the the album EWF, contains the track "Handwriting on the wall". This track is not the same as "Writing on the wall", which was the b-side (45") of "System of survival". "Writing.." also appeared on the Warner compilation Another Time. This is a double album containing both the albums EWF and The Need Of Love. A recent Canadian CD pressing of Another Time, also includes the track "Mom" from Last Days And Time.

All'n AllEvidently there was a full-length track of "Brazilian Rhyme" from All 'N All (1977) that was never released. However, it has now surfaced on a Dutch CD compilation called  Wicked Jazz Sounds Vol. 5. Check it out on Youtube: EWF - Beijo (Brazilian Rhyme)

Beloyd Taylor who wrote the classic "Getaway" and several songs on both the EWF albums "Raise" & "Powerlight", released a 7" single the 20th Century label in 1977. The songs "Get Into Your Life" b/w "Today All Day" are both very good on this really really hard-to-find. 

Maybe not that rare, but anyway... In 1978 EWF appeared in the movie "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" with Peter Frampton, The Bee-Gees, Aerosmith, etc. They took time off from their world tour at the moment to do the cameo role where they perform "Got To Get You Into My Life", using the stage from the tour. The track is featured on several of the "Best of" albums.

9. January 1979 EWF played at a UN fundraising in The General Assembly Hall, along with Donna Summer, Bee Gees, Rod Steart and ABBA among others. It resulted in the album "The Music For UNICEF Concert - A Gift Of Song". EWF played a medley of "September/ That�s The Way Of The World", which turned out to be a very good combination. Available (still?) on Polydor LP 2335-214.

Donald Myrick, Louis Satterfield and Michael Harris of the EWF Phenix Horns released an album under the name Sky on EMI in 1979. Never reissued on Cd and veryy hard-to-find on LP.

The following compilation CD's contains live/alternate versions and previously unreleased tracks:

Best of vol.1 (1978)
Got to get you into my life
- Love music (US CD version)

Best of vol.2 (1988)
Turn on (the beat box)

Eternal Dance (1992 Box set)
- Hey girl (Interlude)
- Shining star (Alt. version)
- Kalimba story/Sing a message to you (Live)
- Mighty mighty (Live)
- Ponta de areia (Interlude)
- Dirty (Interlude)
- Demo
- Getaway (Extra intro)
- Little girl (Interlude)
- Night dreamin'
- Got to get you into my life (Alternate outro with wailing guitar and acapella vocals on the fade, rather than the full band)
- Fall in love with me (Original ending/no guitar)

Very Best Of (1992)
September/Let�s Groove/Rock That!/Boogie Wonderland (Megamix)

Dance Tracks (1994)
- Kalimba tree (Long version)
- Let's Groove (Special Remixed Holiday Version)

Big Hits & Remixes (1999)
September '99 (Phats & Small remix)
- Boogie Wonderland (Stretch & Vern remix)
- Let's Groove (Merchant of Menace remix)
- Megamix 2000

Canadian 12" single in the "Dance classics" series by Unidisc Records, contains an extended 6:00 mins version of "Fantasy" and a 6:43 mins slightly remixed version of "Let's groove". "Fantasy" is not really a remix. When Philip starts on the high part in the end, the song just starts over again from somewhere in the middle. (Unidisc SPEC 1275 - 1987)

The 12" single of "System of Survival" contains a superb 7:31 mins "House remix" of the song. Additional production and mixing by Steve Thompson and Michael Barbiero. (CBS 65111806 - 1987)
EWF made a track called "Dance, Dance Dance" that was featured on the soundtrack for the animated film "Rock & Rule" in 1983. It is now available as a single track on iTunes. Quality is not great though.

Phillip Bailey did one track on the 1985 Steven Spielberg children's movie "The Goonies". The song is called "Love is Alive". The album also features Luther Vandross among others.

The album "The artists - EWF, Jean Carn & Rose Royce" was released on the Streetsound label in the UK in 1985. It contains previously released material together with a 10 minute interview with Maurice and Verdine White at Soul Spectrum, Capital Radio, London, April 17th 1980.

EWF took part in an ABC televised concert back in July of 1988 called "Star Spangled Celebration." Patrick Duffy hosted it, and it also featured Kool & The Gang. The concert took place in the Chastain Park Amphitheatre in Atlanta, Georgia. They performed "Touch the World", featuring a gospel choir from a local church in Atlanta. Oliver Wells, who wrote the song, directed the choir.

EWF recorded "One World" in 1989 on an album called "Music Speaks Louder Than Words". The album was unprecedented at the time. It featured American songwriters teaming up with then Soviet songwriters in an East/West summit of sorts. The album also features Roberta Flack and Atlantic Starr.

Superb Italian 12 inch megamix on Red Rock Records from around 1989 containing:
In the stone / Boogie wonderland / September / Can't let go / Fall in love with me / Let's groove / Sing a song / Jupiter / Fantasy / Brazilian rhyme / Let's talk / Shining star / Serpentine fire / Star / In the stone. Running time: 15:25 (RRD 1005 - 1989)

The tracks "Change your mind", "Take you to heaven" and "Bahia (interlude)" is only available on the 1996 Avatar album, released in Japan.

The Japanese CD single of "Bloodbrothers" contains the previously unreleased track "Frontline of Seduction" (04:18). It also seems that a certain version of the single "Spend the Night" also contains "Frontline of Seduction".

IsisIn 1997 a computer game named ISIS was released containing EWF music and interviews. Read more...

Maurice White is appearing on the Christmas album "Tis The Season" on the N2K Encoded Music label. 
Howard Hewett: First Noel
Maysa: Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas
Phil Perry: Away In A Manger
Patti Austin: This Christmas
Candy Dulfer: Silver Bells
Jonathan Butler: Christmas Song
Deniece Williams: O Holy Night
Maurice White: Open Your Heart To Love
The Whispers: Merry Christmas Darling
Carl Anderson: I'll Be Home For Christmas
Jon Lucien: White Christmas
Maysa w/ Keith Cross: Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas.
Keith Jones - bass, Donald Hayes - sax, Lilo Fadidas - guitar, Maurice - lead/background vocals, Josie James and Lynn Davis - background vocals. Horns pervade the track, but no mention of the players. Song is composed by Reece and Lilo Fadidas.

Columbia/Legacy has released the "Megamix 2000" (7:38) on 12" vinyl (US) in July '99.
Megamix 2000 (radio edit) / Megamix 2000 / Megamix 2000 (Latin mix)

Two different 12" singles has come to my attention thanks to Rob from Holland: 
1. House Party: September - Let�s Groove / Shining Star - After The Love Has Gone (2002)
2. In The Stone - And Love Goes On / Let�s Groove - Wanna Be With You (1999)

"Whatever Happened" by EWF is included on the soundtrack for the 2002 comedy movie "Undercover Brother" starring Eddie Griffin and Denise Richards. Other acts on the album are Gil Scott-Heron, Commodores,  O'Jays, James Brown, Cheryl Lynn, Mary Jane Girls and more. Film score is composed by Stanley Clarke.

"Unity", the official 2004 Olympics CD is featuring duets between several major stars. EWF and  Roots Manuva does "Love Together". Some of the other duets included on the CD are; Sting and Mariza, Moby and Public Enemy, Alice Cooper and Xzibit, Wayne Wonder and Neneh Cherry.

Not really a "rare groove" but the soundtrack for the 2005 animated movie "Robots" features "Love's Dance", an EWF track produced by Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis and taken from the 2005 "Illumination" album. "Robots" also incl. War's west coast Latin-funk classic "Low Rider" and a new club remix of James Brown's late-seventies "Get Up Offa That Thing".

Also not really a "rare groove" track since it's also taken from the "Illumination" album, the soundtrack for Will Smith's 2005 movie "Hitch" contains "This Is How I Feel" (feat. Kelly Rowland & Sleepy Brown).

David Foster and EWF have once again collaborated and recorded the song "Gather 'Round". The track, which is written by David Foster and Philip Bailey and is produced and arranged by Foster, sounds very much late 70's and the "I Am" period. Can't be too sure, but to me it sounds like real instruments and no programming. The horn arrangement is by Foster and Jerry Hey and played by the Seawind Horns! "Gather 'Round" will be used for a promotional campaign for Target stores during Christmas 2005.

Buy it on Amazon.comSmooth Jazz piano player Brian Culbertson's new CD Bringing Back the Funk is produced by Maurice White! The album is released on GRP and  features guest performances by former EWF members Larry Dunn, Sheldon Reynolds, Morris Pleasure, Sonny Emory and Ronnie Laws. Other musicians incl. Larry Graham, Gerald Albright, Bootsy Collins, Paul Jackson Jr., Maceo Parker, Ray Parker Jr., Tom Scott, Fred Wesley and Bernie Worrell among others. Check for sound samples.

Stax Records, the Memphis-based R&B label that became affiliated with Atlantic in the 1960s and was home to Otis Redding, Booker T. & the MGs, Sam and Dave, Isaac Hayes, the Staple Singers and numerous others, is being reactivated in conjunction with the 50th anniversary of the label's birth.
The Concord Music Group is reviving the Stax imprint both for reissues from its celebrated archives and for new releases, which will include new albums from Hayes and latter-day soul singer-songwriter Angie Stone. The first new release, out now, will be "Interpretations: Celebrating the Music of EWF," a multi-artist collection of new versions of songs by EWF/Maurice White. More info at

Raise!IconoClassic Records US reissued Raise in 2011 with 3 bonus tracks:
- Let's Groove (Special Remixed Holiday version 6:43)
- Let's Groove (Instrumental 3:48)
- Kalimba Tree (Long version 3:59)

FacesBig Break Records UK reissued Faces on CD in 2010 with 3 bonus tracks:
- Let me talk (12" version 6:46)
- You (Alternative mix 3:47)
- And love goes on (7" version) 3:38