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Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
|1. Let's Groove|
|2. Lady Sun|
|3. My Love|
|4. Evolution Orange|
|5. Kalimba Tree|
|6. You Are A Winner|
|7. I've Had Enough|
|8. Wanna Be With You|
|9. The Changing Times|
Digitally remastered and expanded edition of this 1981 album. Raise marked the 10th anniversary of Earth, Wind & Fire and included the smash hit 'Let's Groove', which returned the group to the top spot in the charts and sold a million copies in addition to winning a Grammy. The runaway success of 'Let's Groove' somewhat overshadowed some of the other outstanding tracks on the album. 'Wanna Be With You' (the second single), 'Evolution Orange' and the rousing album closer 'The Changing Times' all deliver in a very Earth, Wind & Fire manner while pointing the way to the future direction of the band. This Iconoclassic expanded edition of Raise! adds two 12 inch single mixes plus the fan favorite full version of 'Kalimba Tree'.
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This album marked the 10th year of Maurice's dream and it was a decade that saw many changes both musically and socially. But one thing remained the same, Earth, Wind and Fire was electrifing us with incredible music that helped to shape our lives in a unique way. They just made you feel a little happier about life and helped get you through many bad days. This was the first album recorded after the departure of Al Mckay and it was kind of a reunion album for his replacement who'd been the one he'd replaced back in 1973, Roland Bautista. It's was like Roland had never truly left and they picked up right were they left off after the "Last Days And Times" album.
They had another number one hit with "Let's Groove" which started the album off and continued to amaze us with the likes of "Evolution Orange", "You're A Winner" (which has some of the funkiest horn arrangements ever for the Phoneix Horns) & one of my personal favorites "Wanna Be With You". This edition also has a longer and sweeter version of the instrumental interlude "Kalimba Tree". This would be the last in a string of albums that solidified their greatness. After this, they would have other good albums with good songs, but this was the band at their height and this was when music truly was more than just throwing something together to get out and make money.
Earth, Wind and Fire were truly in a class and league all their own as a band and the world had never before nor has it since heard, experienced and been amazed by any other band the way it was by these 9 men. Thank you Maurice and Earth, Wind and Fire for sharing your dreams with us via the wonderful avenue of the Song.
"Lady Sun" follows with blaring horns and eerie synthesizer grooves. The creative horn arrangement on "Lady Sun" is my all-time favorite EWF horn arrangement (Great work Jerry!). If Maurice ever gets to re-master this disc, hopefully he'll extend the song a bit and bring the guitars further up to the front stage. I would also like to hear greater emphasis on Larry Dunn's synth fills. They belong in the front stage as well. BTW, this song and the tail end of Talking Head's "Making Flippy Floppy" are very similar- except the Heads don't use horns. Right before the horns scream out, the song starts out with a drum kick. I mention it because the next four songs also begin with the same drum kick.
"Be My Love" was a nice song for the era it was made in. But now it's a bit dated and doesn't hold up as well as their older material. "Evolution Orange" also suffers the same fate. It is certainly a holdover from the disco era. And what the song refers to is anyone's guess. Although, I can remember when Mazda offered some of their Miatas in the color evolution orange.
"Kalimba Tree" is a typical EWF interlude that's usually in between tracks rather than leading a side (of course now with CD's it really is between tracks). "You Are a Winner" is its self a winner. The uplifting lyrics and hard driving backbeat make it an instantly likeable jam. The horn charts are tight and circular (Again, great work Jerry!).
Interestingly, "I've Had Enough" appears to be a response to Michael Jackson's "Don't Stop till you get Enough". Rhythmically, Bailey's song does seem to mirror Jackson's. But where MJ urges the listener to obey the flesh, Bailey cautions us to follow the Spirit.
"Wanna be with You" is a likeable song. It was the follow up single to "Let's Groove". The song is also representative of the deviation EWF's arrangements would take after "Raise". EWF had always based their song structures on bass, percussion and guitars rhythms. "Wanna be with You" is based on keyboards. This is a tactic that EWF has followed even up to their last album "The Promise".
Finally, we reach the highlight of "Raise"- the hard charging "Changing Times". Roland Bautista's wailing guitar sounds like a cross between Hendricks and Eddie Van Halen. Fred White (on drums) and Larry Dunn's keyboard chops add nicely to the proceedings. This song, instead of "Wanna be with You", should have been released as the second single. It harps back to EWF's early days (listen to the "Last Days and Time" LP) when their sound was raw and exciting. "Changing Times" offered new thrilling opportunities for EWF. However, the group took a step back toward the less appealing sound of "Faces" and never recovered.
Before he made 'Thriller', Michael Jackson was asked what was his favourite band and he said Earth, Wind and Fire.
'Raise' marks the end of EWF's dream run. Like Chicago, ELO, Genesis, Yes and some other big bands of the 1970s, EWF went into the Eighties facing the challenge of maintaining relevance (and sales) against the emergence of fresh new acts. These acts appealed to music fans too young to appreciate musical virtuosity or hippie ideals. They were sick of disco. The new bands sported spanky synths and appeared in clever clips on MTV.
The older aforementioned acts fractured, disappeared or slipped into the background. Except for Genesis, they were all virtually completely absent from the Top Ten by the mid-1980s.
'Raise' has some great songs on it, aside from 'Let's Groove'. That hit single appears in several forms on this remastered set, and they're all as fun as the original. The rest of the album marks a tighter, back to basics approach than was shown on the epic 'Faces' set.
EWF continued, of course, and they made more excellent music. But this is the last gasp commercially, and it was a top seller. Put it up alongside your Duran Duran, Wham!, Style Council and Rick James of the same period and you'll find it's more rewarding than all comers.