DEVOTED SPIRITS - Tribute To EWF (Bob Davis' Review)

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DEVOTED SPIRITS - Tribute To EWF (Bob Davis' Review)

Messagepar Funkygirl » 21/03/05 15:07

Devoted Spirits - "Tribute To Earth, Wind and Fire"
(Mind Expanding Soul/Jazz/Funk/Rock/Gospel)


I have been a frustrated EWF fan for many years. I have always felt that they along with Kool and the Gang & the Commodores led the way for the commercialization of funk music back in the 1970's. In doing so all three groups literally broke my heart as each succeeding album brought their fierce and inspirational music closer and closer to being "elevator music". I am not alone in this feeling. Over the years many "children of the 1970's" have written in and expressed similar feelings of disgust about all three groups. In fact the criticism of Kool and the Gang & the Commodores has been absolutely scathing over the years. However I have always thought that EWF (for reasons) that are beyond me has mostly gotten a "free pass" on this whole issue. For me the "sellout" of EWF was always the most heart breaking of the three.
That's because of the high minded jazz/soul/rock/afrocentric ideals that the band seemed to stand for when I first got hip to them in the early 1970's. I have NEVER forgiven them for abandoning those ideals in the mid 1970's.

Enter Mr. Sheldon Reynolds, EWF's lead guitarist during the 1990's, founding EWF member Larry Dunn and former EWF musical director Morris Pleasure. At first I am wondering just what in the heck is the purpose of having former members of a once great band doing a tribute album" of that bands old songs? When the CD starts, that question is quickly put to rest. This CD starts off with "Devotion" & an AWESOME version of "September/Mighty Mighty" and after listening I come to understand the purpose of this CD very quickly and why it's actually a very important release. To my ears it almost sounds like the three of them have decided to "go back and correct history". For example "Serpentine Fire", no longer sounds like a "pop/disco" song. It
now has some firece funk/rock guitar playing in a "call and response" duel with the Kalimba.
This album kept me smiling thru all 20 plus songs because it feels like someone decided to go back and redo EWF's music as if it all retained "the high mided jazz/soul/rock/afrocentric ideals" of the original band? If you (like me) are a person who silently sheds a tear every time you hear one of EWF's "Saturday Night Fever" type hit songs played on "oldies radio stations" or perhaps even at a "corporate function"....


In the liner notes it says... "This tribute is to the original sound of love that was earth, wind and fire"

I couldn't agree with that statement more!!!

In addition to Reynolds, Dunn & Pleasure this CD also features the following players Bobby Watson (Rufus), Ricky Lawson (Eric Clapton, Quincy Jones), John Paris (Earth Wind & Fire), Randy Ellis (Christina Aguilera), Francois Dean, Solomon Singers (Maurice James, Jo-Anna Solomon, Amee' Solomon, Danene Solomon-Sepulveda, & Grady Austin Shakiah), David Danner.

This CD is a perfect manifestation of a term we like to use here at Soul-Patrol called "BLACK AMERICAN STANDARD MUSIC". Devoted Spirtis has taken great songs from the songbook of Black History and given them the historical treatment that the songs deserve, but done so with a love and care that will insure that listeners will understand its true context.
For certain there will be some folks out there who won't like this concept or approach. Those people would probably best be served by searching the cutout bins, in the "oldies section" of their local "wreckastow".

Devoted Spirits - "Tribute To Earth, Wind and Fire" isn't designed for those type of EWF fans.
It's designed with the connoisseur in mind who wants a deeper exploration into the historical legacy of Earth, Wind and Fire. The inside cover of the CD jewel box contains a picture of Sheldon Reynolds along with Maurice White, along with a thoughtfully worded dedication of the
album to Maurice White.

(In my mind, that just about says it all....)

Track Listing For Devoted Spirits - "Tribute To Earth, Wind and Fire"

1. Devoted Spirits (interlude)
2. September/Mighty Mighty
3. Sunshine
4. Serpentine Fire
5. All About Love (interlude)
6. Smooth/Can't Hide Live
7. Fantasy
8. Brazilian Rhyme/In The Name Of Love (interlude)
9. Alpha/After The Love Is Gone
10. Stand Up Now (interlude)
11. That's The Way Of The World
12. Devotion
13. Running
14. Sunday Morning (interlude)
15. Serpentine Fire (interlude)
16. Sunday Morning
17. Rhythm Of Love
18. See The Light
19. Light Of Day (interlude)
20. Loves Holiday
21. Rock That
22. Faces

Count on seeing and hearing more about this GREAT ALBUM here on Soul-Patrol.

(Thanks Experience Hendrix!!!!)

Bob Davis (Soul Patrol)

A Link ot listen :arrow: ... 84-001-002
Funkygirl ==> I'm a White Free Passionated Funkateer and I'm Proud !

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Messagepar sooulseb » 21/03/05 21:27

I must say i was a bit reluctant when i read the previous article but i thought i gave it a shot - mainly because the mighty Larry Dunn is listed on this album. I have just listened to some samples and WOW ! This sounds amazingly good to me ! I am def going to buy this baby - and good play list too :razz: - my fav 'See the light' is here :razz: :razz:
So let me get this straight (coz i didnt read the whole thing) only Dunn, Reynolds and Pleasure are the ex-EWF members on this album ? No Bailey or anybody else ? Then kudos for the vocals too !
Thx for the warning !
Have a landing party of funkateers beamed down immediately with phasers set on funk funk, soul soul, and jazz jazz.

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