Thursday, June 29, 2006

That’s The Way Of The World (1975) – Earth, Wind & Fire

“That’s The Way Of The World” is a musician’s elysium where euphoric strains waft across golden fields lambent with the lustrous convergence of harmonic elements: Larry Dunn gently lays down twinkles of Fender Rhodes electric piano over a heartbeat of drums; a duo of trombones puff out clouds of muffled brass sprinkling droplets of glockenspiel; Al McKay’s guitar gently massages out a syncopated rhythm; strings glide in airiness. In exalting spiritual transcendence over the mundane, Philip Bailey’s falsetto lends a lofty altitude, while Maurice White’s soulful drawl digs deep into the nitty-gritty. Verdine White’s bassline springs in elasticity as a fulcrum, scaling and shuffling in steps that traverse the ambit of the chord, constantly seeking resolution over surprising and stirring chord progressions. That he co-wrote this song is evident in the line’s momentum that injects a little funk into an otherwise placid ballad, perambulating in one of the most expressive performances ever recorded. Johnny Graham metes out an elliptical solo played on a brand new Stratocaster which forced him to be more restrained than usual, building tension by spacing, sustaining and bending his notes with such finesse so as to elicit facial contortions of gratification. In its calming diffusion, “That’s The Way Of The World” elevates the listener to the upper reaches of enlightenment where a reinvigorating sojourn awaits.

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