My view: 'Greatest Hits' by Earth, Wind & Fire
|||Mick's New Mix|
By Jeremy Castillo
Special to The Advertiser
By Jeremy Castillo
Editor's note: Earth, Wind & Fire is a featured act at Saturday's Diamond Head Crater Celebration. Here's a look back at one of the group's compilations.
CD: "Greatest Hits" by Earth, Wind & Fire; Atlantic Records
Released: Nov. 17, 1998
My take: Earth, Wind & Fire is quite possibly the quintessential funk band of the 1970s. While other groups such as Kool & the Gang or KC & the Sunshine Band are equally recognizable — and perhaps even confused with EWF at times by less-knowledgeable fans — no one else can claim to have paralleled the musical, critical and commercial success of the Chicago ensemble.
The 1998 "Greatest Hits" compilation sums up the group's entire career very well in the span of 17 songs. There are more expansive and extensive collections out there, including a box set. But for someone looking for a concise look back at EWF's catalog, this is it.
There are songs for more veteran fans, such as the minor hit "Kalimba Story" and an album cut of "Gratitude," but the bread-and-butter of this CD is the inclusion of every smash hit you can think of — "Shining Star," "Let's Groove," "Serpentine Fire," "September" and "Boogie Wonderland," to name a few. In fact, this album is one song ("Love Music") shy of replicating EWF's compilation released a decade earlier.
This makes for a pleasing listen for veteran fans and newcomers alike. Younger listeners may be put off by the slower ballads, which nowadays sound cheesy and dated, but they can still enjoy the refreshing jubilance of singing and dancing along with "Shining Star" or "September." Older fans can flash back to the days when you could go to the roller disco on Saturday nights in your bell-bottoms and cruise.
While the days of the discotheque are long gone, the music those venues played are still quite evident on music store shelves. If you're in the mood for a flashback to the days of "Saturday Night Fever" or are planning to throw a party with a retro theme, pick up this CD and prepare to get the funk out.
Jeremy Castillo, who received an associate of arts degree from Windward Community College, is attending the University of Idaho.