Earth, Wind & Fire
Label: Warner Records
E.W.F.'s 1971 debut marks a culture clash between the group's Chicago jazz and soul origins and the sunshine pop of its new home in Los Angeles. Group founder Maurice White merged the shambling energy music of Albert Ayler, the Latin rock of Santana, and the psychedelic soul and vocal pop of Minnie Riperton's Rotary Connection and Fifth Dimension. Though "Love Is Life" and "Fan the Fire" have an appealingly ragged quality, neither White's songs, nor his band, nor lead vocalist and veteran Chicago shouter Wade Flemons met his goals. After a second album, The Need of Love, White fired nearly all of E.W.F.'s original members and started over.