The selftitled debut of Earth Wind & Fire (Warner Bros, 1971) with its brown-coloured drawing of Russ Smith is quite different of what you would expect if you know the later works of the band (Boogie Wonderland, Magnetic, etc.). Like many of these groups EW&F started in the early 70’s with a raw and honest soul/funk sound, and during the mid and late 70’s evolved to a more smooth and more disco-like style. That is why this album is so important and still very much wanted by soul-loving recordcollectors.
On this album you can hear a lot of Sly, a lot of loose funky improvisation, but still the songs are realy strong. Not only the sound of these early 70’s records is more honest and raw, also thematicaly they are often more political, socialy engaged. As is the case here too, with a lot of references to the civil rights movement. In other words: the early 70’s were the most interesting years as it comes to soul and funk. And this album is an outstanding example.