by DJ Alex Gutierrez Miami SFDJA / Rewind 1039
I’ve made it a point to have each one of my kids listen to a few cuts from Earth Wind and Fire’s 1979 album ” I Am ” often I’ve wondered if younger people can ” feel ” and appreciate the music , as we did back in the day. 31 years after it’s release I am still compelled to ” spread the word” on one of the most influential records in my life.
” I Am ” offers 9 beautifully arranged tracks that are elevated by excellent musicianship as well as lyrical content integrity with a humanitarian edge. Although it didn’t include interludes as with previous albums, this production delivers Earth Wind and Fire’s inspirational message to uplift the conscious state of mankind musically.
It was 1979, the peak of the Disco craze and record labels targeted the dance floor which is why in my opinion a track like ” Boogie Wonderland” was produced for this album Up to that point, the group had not included any Disco flavored songs in any of their prior releases. The band finally gave a nod to the style, with “Boogie Wonderland” ( which featured The Emotions ) it instantly became a Radio ” Disco ” hit ( reaching number 2 on the Hot Soul Singles chart ) For the record as a DJ , I never considered or played ” Boogie Wonderland” as a Disco record in any of the clubs I worked at here in Miami in the 70s or early 80s.
Probably, No wait a second….definitely the most inspirational, uplifting songs ever written ( my opinion of course ) is ” In The Stone “, Maurice White’s song about an abiding love that is written in stone. Written by Allee Willis ( September ) Maurice White and mega producer David Forster the song elevates your mood from the very first notes . A majestic introduction like no other you’ll ever hear. ( can you tell how much I love this song? ) “In the Stone” appeared on the soundtrack of the 2002 film ” Drumline” and became a staple of Marching bands all over the nation.
Well known for their soulful ballads “After the Love Has Gone” written by David Foster, Jay Graydon, and Bill Champlin and peaked at #2 on the Billboard Hot 100. Co-writer Graydon originally wrote the song for his group ” Airplay” ( a fixture of most Yacht Rock Playlists ) The track stands out for it’s iconic Saxophone solo towards the end by Don Myrick , who also performs the solo on EWF’s ” Reasons”
The rest of the album does not disappoint with tracks such as energetic ” Can’t Let Go ” and the mid temp ” You and I ” the music of EWF has no borders, no color, no religion it is the music of mankind , a positive message we all need to stop and listen to
And what did my kids think of it , you may wonder? They loved it. They still listen to it to this day, they say ” it will always remind them of their “Pops” “