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Reviews: Earth, Wind & Fire: Gratitude

Reviews: 6

Review by Tom March 16, 2003 (0 of 2 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
I couldn't wait for this album, but have been disappointed. I'm not sure why. Sometimes, I think it's because I'm not ready for their hard driving style. With 16 cuts, one gets a lot for the money, but I have trouble listening through the entire album. This style of music just probably isn't my cup of tea. Sonically the music is not as dynamic and clean as it should be, but it's not bad. Others may rate this very differently. My musical taste may be affecting my rating. AMC Music Guide rates this album 4.5 on a 5 point scale--a very good rating.

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Review by JW June 23, 2003 (1 of 2 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
EW&F have a unique signature that transcends musical styles and has remained right there in the backgound as something I am sure I will always enjoy. I had all their albums on vinyl but sold them when I switched to CD. Somehow I never bought an EW&F CD. I think that switch occurred at the time when my taste in music changed so there was lots of other music to discover. When I recently acquired this SACD it was like meeting an old friend for the first time after many many years.

There was a time when EW&F opened for other acts. Can you imagine it? EW&F opening for you...HAHA. I don't know what you were going to play, but it probably would have been better to cancel right there and then! I read that bands became afraid of them and soon they did no longer receive invitations to open for concerts. It figures.

The performance of this (partly) live album is very good - I don't think anybody has really rivalled these guys on the stage for sheer energy, enjoyment and groove. Vintage seventies funk. EW&F fans will not be disappointed. The sound of this SACD can be characterized as open with lots of air between instruments, easy highs and fat but not bloaty bass. In the beginning I thought it sounded too dark - especially the announcement and the opening track, but I think that is a recording issue. I would say this is a very analog sounding live recording. Check out that alto-horn (sax) on "Reasons", really airy and rich sounding.

It reminds me to get the other EW&F SACD's. This one put me in the mood. So it was really like seeing an old friend again. You can just pick up where you left off all those years ago.


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Review by vonwegen March 4, 2004 (1 of 2 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
Not every song is indispensible, but most of 'em are! This mix of live cuts & studio sessions (the last 6 tracks) sound truly great in surround sound. The live cuts use the rears as mid-range enhancement & hall ambience, while the studio cuts feature multiple background vox, horns & extra guitar + percussion touches in the surrounds, all of which shows that even early on, some SA-CD mix engineers knew their stuff down pat. Maurice White & EWF are at their mid-70s peak here.

Only quibble--no musician credits. Why? It would be nice to have names to go with the band photos.

Highly recommended. Now, if only we could get James Brown, Parliament/Funkadelic and Stevie Wonder's classic releases done in surround...

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Review by Noonions March 28, 2004 (1 of 2 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
This R&B/soul classic gets a masterful treatment on multichannel SACD.The live cuts are givin extra luster with the spacious 5-channel giving the impression you're right on stage with EW&F,while studio tracks like "Sing A Song" and "Can't Hide Love" sounding newly fresh and soulful.You're SACD collection isn't complete without this shining star of a gem!

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Review by Oakland September 19, 2005 (7 of 8 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:    
I'm going to stick my neck out and say that the most authentic (that is, real) experience on record I have had to date, regardless of genre or format is the SACD multi-channel version of Earth, Wind, and Fire's "Gratitude" on Sony. This is a live (mostly) recording and it *feels* it. I attended EW&F concerts during the 70's and I have never heard a recording that has more vividly transported me back in time the way that one has. True, I am relatively new to multi-channel. So hopefully this recording of this authentic quality is just the tip of the iceberg.

"Gratitude" is derived from the 1975 quad analog master tape. And Maurice White himself, produced both the quad and SACD multi-channel mixes. Based on experience there is no doubt the final product is the way it is *suppose* to be. And unlike some surround mixes where it is debatable whether the center channel is required or useful; in this case it helps to solidly anchor the concert from top to bottom. The two-channel mix of "Gratitude" is good, but only good (by comparison).

In two-channel I give the sonics 3 1/2 stars. It good but lacks front to back depth. But in multi-channel this get a stellar 5 star rating. The front speakers to rear speaker balance is very well done, especially when compared to other non classical multi-channel discs I have heard. While, "Gratitude" largely has the audience coming from the rears there is also vital music from the rears but you can’t detect it from the seated position. So there is none of that contrived feel that one may perceive from, for example, The O'Jay's "Ship Ahoy".

EW&F “Alive in 75” while also soulful to the max, authentic in surround, and way better than the two-channel mix it doesn’t have quite the drive as “Gratitude”.

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Review by Empanadilla October 17, 2009 (3 of 4 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:  
This is one of my SHOWCASE SACDs.(Edit: Meaning- this is one SACD to play as a demonstration disc , it's aTHAT awesome)
The sonics are excellent, as is the mix.
The performance is perfect.
The harmonics on this will make the cillia in your ear canal all the way to your brain very happy.(edit-Meaning that the hiigh frequencies are very well represented without being annoying).
EW&F were SMOKIN' that evening.
Highly recommendable, even for the "almost converted"....

(Edit note; I guess that the criteria used to rate a review is the "I din't like it because I don't agree with it" one because then I don't understand my DSOTM review thrasing. This is not a musical review place exclusively. this is an SACD site. I rate SACDs concerning the overall 5.1 mix(or stereo when there isn't a 5.1 one. Remember, it's not that the reviewer agrees with your point of view, as a matter of fact that is just USELESS and no help whatsoever. Anything you may learn is what is helpful, that is it. Heck, I don't agree with a lot of the praisers of the DSOTM horrible mix, but I don't pan their reviews, they were helpful! Now somebody who posts "JUST Great!"· then gets the axe from me. )

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