35 years ago, Earth Wind & Fire scored their first (and strangely, only) #1 pop single with “Shining Star”. It catapulted the band into huge stardom, and they, along with Parliament/Funkadelic, were the pre-eminent soul/funk band of the Seventies. Songs like “Reasons” and “Can’t Hide Love” became soul classics, while “September” is a perennial of any oldies station these days.
The main voice on many of EW&F’s hits was, of course, the incomparable Philip Bailey. He’s alternated between pop and gospel albums as a solo artist in between Earth Wind & Fire albums and tours since the early Eighties, and the man with one of the finest falsettos in music history is still doing it big today.
Someone on Twitter (and believe me, I’d give you credit, but I don’t remember who you are) alerted me to Philip’s website, where I first found a beautifully shot video (actually, a couple of beautifully shot videos, one filmed in Venice and one filmed in Paris) for the jazzy “Love is Real”. After some more investigation, I realized that there was an accompanying EP. The songs feature Philip working in a variety of musical frameworks, from ambient downtempo dance to world music. What impresses most is that Bailey, at 59, still has the prettiest falsetto in the business. Make sure you check out “Love is Real” and give props to a soul music veteran who hasn’t lost a step since the age of bell bottoms and Afros (or, if you’re an “Easy Lover” kinda guy, the days of pastels and skinny ties).