Earth, Wind & Fire
Head To The Sky
"Music for the mind, body and soul...among EWF's most potently creative albums"
Head To The Sky is a strong and highly spiritual collection, a tantalizing mixture of African rhythms, gospel-inflections, fusion, rock, tribal funk, improvisational jazz, and Latin rhythms. It is the 4th studio album by Earth, Wind & Fire. Earthy, ethereal, raw, and funky are just a few terms that describe this 1973 release. The recording contains a raw, improvisational quality, which makes it a treasure for fans of the classic EWF sound.
It is also the first album where vocals took the lead over musical arrangements. This is not an album with blistering or muscular horn arrangements. Instead, the emphasis lies elsewhere. The vocals are breathy and soothing without being too ethereal; altogether, they sound like a cosmic choir.
Some may prefer EWF's more polished, radio-friendly recordings from the mid-to-late 70's, but Head To The Sky is one of their greatest efforts. This early in the game EWF were already composing angelic ballads like "World's A Masquerade,"displaying their infallible skill for harmony arrangements.
The opening track, "Evil" is a mysterious piece, incorporating funk guitars, latin rhythms and ghostly back-up vocals. The track became the bands' biggest hit up to that point. Other material ranging from the hauntingly pretty title song to the jazz fusion gem "Zanzibar,"one of the great extended jazz-rock numbers of the early seventies are included.
Their message is basically spiritual, yet the sound is never so spiritual that it isn't firmly grounded and tight enough to hit big with the boom of soul discotheques at the time.
As phenomenally popular as Earth, Wind & Fire was from the mid-'70s to the early '80s, it's easy to forget that the band was hardly an overnight success.When EWF took off commercially in 1974 and 1975, many new converts went back and saw for themselves just how excellent an album Head to the Sky was.
This album is the step off point from where Earth Wind & Fire went from being largely a gravel raw soul/funk band into one that had a certain type of slickness and smoothness in the production. Head To The Sky was a perfect setup for the commercial breakthrough which was to come with the next album.