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4.4 out of 5 stars
Original Album Classics [Box Set] [Audio CD] Earth Wind & Fire
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61 of 61 people found the following review helpful
The contents of this little box catch EW&F in their hottest period(1975-1979) when they could do little wrong. There surely isn't a cheaper legal way of acquiring these five albums and they're all corkers - probably their best. For the uninitiated, they funk with a power, precision and sheer joy rarely achieved by anyone else, the vocals and horn arrangements are fabulous and the overall quality of the songs on all five albums shows that they're far more than a singles band.

On top of this they're recently remastered and two of them (Spirit and I Am) contain bonus tracks. The packaging is basic - a little cardboard slipcase, with the individual albums in miniaturised replicas of the original lp sleeves - and in fact the only downsides are that there are no paper inners to protect the CDs from the cardboard sleeves and the track listings on these are either illegible or nearly so; however, the main box does feature legible track listings - it won't tell you anything beyond the titles but it does direct you to a website featuring the full details. But if you're considering buying this, you're probably not that bothered about ostentatious packaging, and it's worth noting that CD packaging doesn't get much greener than this, or much smaller for this many CDs.

If you want to own these albums on CD this set is unbeatable, if you don't know much EW&F (as I didn't) it's a great way to get to know one of the finest funk and soul acts of their era. Stunning.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
I saw there is no track listing for this excellent priced box set so I thought I'd compile one. If you see any mistakes just add a comment and I will adust.. the listing too sweet!
NOTE there are in fact TWO different Earth Wind and Fire Boxed sets each containing different CDS. So take care you get the correct set.
On Amazon I've found a 'glitch' that lists both sets together.
So if you write a review for one set it appears on both!
Also the title says Original Album Classics.
This is slightly wrong as at least two of the five CDS is in actual fact the superior remastered sets with bonus tracks.
So if you are umming and arring and are not from Somerset this could tip the balance in buying this inexpensive set.
I've put a link in for the other set too.Original Album Classics
So for the price of just over 2 Cds you could have TEN Earth Wind and Fire Cds?

NOW TO THE ACTUAL TRACK LISTINGS

Track listing
1. Shining Star
2. That's The Way Of The World
3. Happy Feelin'
4. All About Love
5. Yearnin' Learnin'
6. Reasons
7. Africano
8. See The Light

1. Introduction
2. Africano/Power
3. Yearnin' Learnin
4. Devotion
5. Sun Goddess
6. Reasons
7. Sing A Message To You
8. Shining Star
9. New World Symphony
10. Interlude # 1
11. Sunshine
12. Sing A Song
13. Gratitude
14. Celebrate
15. Interlude # 2
16. Can't Hide Love
17. Serpentine Fire/Saturday Nite/Can't Hide Love/Reasons

1. Getaway
2. On Your Face
3. Imagination
4. Spirit
5. Saturday Nite
6. Earth Wind And Fire
7. Departure
8. Biyo
9. Burnin' Bush
10. Saturday Nite (bonus track)
11. Seraphim (bonus track)
12. Imagination (bonus track)
13. Departure (The Traveler) (bonus track)
14. African Symphony (bonus track)

1. Serpentine Fire
2. Fantasy
3. In The Marketplace (interlude)
4. Jupiter
5. Love's Holiday
6. Brazilian Rhyme (interlude)
7. I'll Write A Song For You
8. Magic Mind
9. Runnin
10. Brazilian Rhyme (interlude)
11. Be Ever Wonderful

1. In The Stone
2. Can't Let Go
3. After The Love Has Gone
4. Let Your Feelings Show
5. Boogie Wonderland
6. Star
7. Wait
8. Rock That
9. You And I
10. Diana (bonus track)
11. Dirty (interlude/bonus track)
12. Dirty (Junior's Juke) (bonus track)
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
'...my all time favourite band ... they have everything - horns, electric guitar, singers and more - in one band' - Miles Davis

It may seem a profoundly cheap of me to quote an established artist's views as if that somehow provides an unavoidable judgement, but considering that he is joined in this fanfare by the likes of Quincy Jones and Stevie Wonder, the fact that this group is primarily remembered in the UK as the 'Boogie Wonderland' guys seems a particular shame.

While Earth Wind & Fire had been a major fixture of the American Charts since 1975, they didn't really garner attention in the UK until their "disco" hits at the close of the decade. What may surprise new listeners to their albums is just how broad and accomplished their sweep of styles is - encompassing fiery "fusion", raw funk, gorgeous gospel balladry, electro-infused floor-fillers, well-integrated Cuban and Brazilian influences and anything else Maurice White saw as suitable to add to the evolving, colourful stew. I have read much criticism over the years - the 'Rough Guide to Rock & Pop' being particularly savage - of the band's motivational lyrical themes, the implication being that they are often too smugly "preachy"... but I think the aspirational, spiritual fervour of the lyrics actually adds to the sense of joy and wonder I get from these recordings. This is hardly Fundamentalist 'fire & brimstone' stuff anyway, there being a strong sense of will to encourage and unite, whatever your beliefs.

Here we have five of their very best releases, comprising 4 studio albums from their late '70s heyday and an expansive, energetic live set. It is perhaps a measure of their consistency in this period that there isn't a critical consensus on which of these albums is the best (Soultracks.com's 'Greatest soul albums of the 70s' list singles out 'That's the Way of the World'; rating aggregator site Rateyourmusic.com has 'Gratitude' as the most widely praised; The Guardian's '1000 albums to hear before you die' particularly lauds 'All n All' and Mojo Magazine's recent '70 Best Soul Albums of the Seventies' claims that 'I Am' is where it's at). In fact the only one that doesn't often appear in lists and books is 'Spirit' which, for what it's worth, is probably my personal favourite!

In all, this is a particularly superb set of recordings (which are nicely remastered here) by a group that combined a great many elements into a distinctive, complex and cohesive sound all their own. If you have even a slight taste for 70s soul, funk, or jazz-rock... I can't really recommend this package highly enough.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 24 June 2012
I don't know how no-one at Sony realised how confusing it is to have two box sets in the Original Album Classics series for the same artist with no distinguishing features - at least on Amazon and the front covers - apart from the box colour and the tiny thumbnails and the consequently unreadable tracklistings. On the equivalent two sets for Weather Report for example each set has a different subtitle! Anyway if you are at all undecided on which of the two EWF sets to buy then buy this one!

It includes 1975's That's The Way of the World (in Rolling Stone's Top 500 albums) and the two albums that saw the band at their creative peak 1977's All 'n All and 1979's I Am. These two albums sandwiched the 1978 US and UK Top 10 single September which is regrettably only available on compilations, but do include the hit singles Serpentine Fire, Fantasy and Jupiter (on All 'n All) and In The Stone, After The Love Has Gone, Boogie Wonderland, Star and the peerless Can't Let Go (on I Am). But quite frankly there are no fillers on either album. The other two albums in this set (1975's Gratitude and 1976's Spirit) fill the gaps in the mid 70's leaving the other box set for some reason to cover 3 earlier and 2 later albums. EWF fans will want both but newcomers should start here!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 29 May 2013
Oh Lordy! What a bargain this is. Some lucky bands hit a purple patch, at some point in their career, when they can do no wrong. To be fair, EWF rarely went too far wrong throughout any of the Seventies, but collected here is EWF at their peak. A five album streak that's up there with anything recorded by anybody at any time. Bursting with creativity their joy for music is palpable in every bar; their joy for life in every word. It's hard not to get sucked in.
There's a uniformity of sound to EWF during this period and only real affacianados would probably hear the subtle differences from album to album. Yet, within that overall texture of sound we are treated to a variety of styles, so encompassing that it would be feasible to say that Earth Wind & Fire WERE black American music in the 1970's. Be it funk, smooth Soul, R&B, Jazz-Funk, ballads, instrumentals, dance floor fillers, whatever sounds you associate with this period and the then converging paths of popular music, the band were not only familiar with, but could have wrote and performed it all, in fact did, with aplomb. They are simply naturals that somehow absorbed all the contemperaneous sounds of black America and dipped into them at will. Whether they are harmonizing thereselves (and us) into soul heaven or snaking horn lines between the percussion, on some Jazzy workout, it sounds effortless.
If there was one criticism that could be levelled at EWF (and really this is no criticism but a question of taste), it is that there's nothing particularly raw and stanky about any of their music. None of their Funk makes you shake your head and yell, "Goddamn!", like a James Brown or P-Funk record may. There's a sheen to all of EWF's music during this time and that may be a problem for some. Their brand of soul and all it's offshoots comes from a dreamy, polished place that hits you in the heart and the head as opposed to the heart and the scrotal sac. But, that's their style and they do it better than anyone.
Their influence on music in the late Seventies must have been immense. Disco music was far more simplified than any of the danceable complexities that EWF served up, but EWF do have that 'nightclub atmosphere' in a lot of their dance music that Disco went on to reproduce. Where Disco, though, can be dismissed as being too superficial, for all of their gloss, Earth Wind and Fire's music is less limited: it's one to enjoy under the headphones as well.
Magazines and fans have never agreed on the considered classic (although That's The Way Of The World' tends to get the nod), which in itself is a fitting testament to the quality running through all of these albums. To enjoy one of these records is pretty much to enjoy all of them, and that shouldn't be too difficult. It's infectious stuff.
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on 13 August 2013
apart from one greatest hits bought as a present, I have never owned a CD of EWF, although have nearly every vinyl LP of theirs. I was dubious about the cost of these 5 albums, when they arrived I thought I had made a big mistake, the box sleeve was cheap and uninformative and the individual CDs had little or no track lists, and for the packaging I give it minus 5 stars, but once played, every CD was identical to the original vinyl, so therefore I assume from the same master tapes. Quality music from Quality musicians, A BARGAIN
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on 4 May 2015
If you enjoy a replay of the original albums, without additional tracks, then these are for you. The quality of the music on a couple of the albums becomes somewhat repetitious but worth listening to. However, the Album "I AM" is streets ahead of the other four albums, in my opinion, and is wonderful to hear it in full again having lost my 33rpm disc album when moving house. This is excellent value for the money. FIVE ALBUMS!!!!
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 5 February 2013
Didn't understand about the Cloud format, and am disappointed it can't be put in with my iTunes library for playlists
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on 6 April 2014
Can this band ever bring back the 70's like it's never gone? Yes they can! Why don't my flares still fit?
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on 10 March 2013
I quite liked these guys back in the 70s, it's a great value box set with some of their best tracks.
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