Earth, Wind & Fire
-- I'm definiely a fan, but they'll always be a decidedly second-tier funk outfit in my book. Admittedly, I don't have a whole lot of their catalog, but I have enough to know I don't really need much more. On CD I have Earth, Wind & Fire
(1971), Head To The Sky
(1973), Open Our Eyes
(1974), That's The Way Of The World
(1975), All 'N' All
(1977), and a CD with the leftover tracks from their two Best-Ofs. I'd peg Open Our Eyes
as my fave, but they're all surprisingly consisent. Unfortunately, "consistent" for EW&F means some good jazzy-funky stuff mixed with weepy love ballads, a style I don't particularly care for by any band (although they're preferable to The Commodores in this -- and every other -- regard.) They become more and more irritating as the disco era progressed, so much of the later stuff from the best-ofs is pretty awful, and that includes their imbecilic cover of "Got To Get You Into My Life". Ick.The Easybeats
-- Hell yeah!
Why these fellas aren't better known is a real mystery -- they are top-notch mid-to-late '60s rock/pop/r&b who deserve to be remembered for far more than just the inarguably great "Friday On My Mind". Repertoire has reissued all their albums with bonus tracks and have generally done a fine job. Every one of their albums is filled with delights and well worth seeking out. The first two -- Easy
and It's 2 Easy
-- are very much in The Beatles vein but sound less derivative than many of their contemporaries and there's a lot less obvious filler than most records from that era (although "Hound Dog"? Really?) Their third LP (Vol. 3
) is a slight step down in my estimation, but still pretty great (although it also has the worst bonus tracks. Besides "Hound Dog", you also get the worthless "The Easybeats-Medley".)
If you pick up all the Repertoire reissues, you'll end up with a lot of duplication -- like most bands, their records were picked apart by foreign record companies and reconfigured in seemingly endless permutations -- so the album Friday On My Mind
contains many of the same singles appended as bonus tracks elsewhere, and Falling Off The Edge Of The World
is a bastardization of the (much better sounding) Vigil
. I was amazed when I checked out their bio on allmusic.com and noticed that while their earlier records all got high marks, Vigil
got only 2 stars. Baffling, as it may be my fave -- while they were clearly struggling to find an identity after the breakthrough of "Friday On My Mind", they're really stretching out and heading into some almost Kinksy territory. The worst of the lot is Friends
, which isn't a proper Easybeats album anyway -- it came out after they'd officially disbanded and would appear to be leftovers and (not too successful) experiments. Not bad at all, it just pales compared to what preceded it."Bring A Little Lovin'"
-- probably my favorite song of theirs, which is odd as it's a demo and no other version was ever released by them (it did come out as a Los Bravos single, but I've never heard their version.)"Heaven And Hell"
-- single from '67 or '68 (bonus cut on Friday On My Mind
single, appears on Vigil"Sorry"
-- 1966 single (Vol. 3
-- 1966 single (It's 2 Easy
)"Can't Find Love"
-- from Friends"Lay Me Down And Die"
from Vigil"Fancy Seeing You Here"
from Vigil"Happy Is The Man"
single on Friday On My Mind
I could keep this up all afternoon, but that seems like enough...
Next up... Echobelly!