Earth, Wind & Fire – All ‘N All (1977) [Japanese SACD 1999 #SRGS 4525]
PS3 Rip | ISO | SACD DSD64 2.0 > 1-bit/2.8224 MHz | 39:00 minutes | Scans included | 1,58 GB
or FLAC(converted with foobar2000 to tracks) 24bit/88,2 kHz | Scans included | 812 MB

Earth, Wind & Fire’s artistic and commercial winning streak continued with its ninth album, All ‘N All, the diverse jewel that spawned major hits like “Serpentine Fire” and the dreamy “Fantasy.” Whether the visionary soul men are tearing into the hardest of funk on “Jupiter” or the most sentimental of ballads on “I’ll Write a Song for You” (which boasts one of Philip Bailey’s many soaring, five-star performances), All ‘N All was a highly rewarding addition to EWF’s catalog. Because EWF had such a clean-cut image and fared so well among pop audiences, some may have forgotten just how sweaty its funk could be. But “Jupiter” — like “Mighty, Mighty,” “Shining Star,” and “Getaway” — underscores the fact that EWF delivered some of the most intense and gutsy funk of the 1970s. (more…)

Earth, Wind & Fire – Open Our Eyes (1974)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96kHz  | Time – 00:39:50 minutes | 848 MB | Genre: R&B, Soul, Funk
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download – Source: Qobuz | © Columbia Records
Recorded: August 1973, Caribou Ranch, Nederland, Colorado, U.S.

Open Our Eyes is the fifth studio album by Earth, Wind & Fire, released in 1974 on Columbia Records. The album went to number one on the R&B Charts and number 15 on the Pop Charts. Open Our Eyes contained the Billboard charting singles, “Mighty Mighty” (R&B #4, Pop #29), “Devotion” (R&B #23, Pop #33) and “Kalimba Story” (R&B #6, Pop #55). The album was made available in a digitally remastered version in 2001, which includes 4 previously unreleased bonus tracks. Open Our Eyes has been certified platinum in the US by the RIAA. (more…)

Earth, Wind & Fire – Open Our Eyes (1974) [Audio Fidelity 2015]
PS3 Rip | SACD ISO | DSD64 2.0 & DST64 4.0 > 1-bit/2.8224 MHz | 39:51 minutes | Full Scans included | 2,99 GB
or FLAC 2.0 Stereo (converted with foobar2000 to tracks) 24bit/88,2 kHz | 40:20 mins | Scans included | 770 MB
Features 2.0 Stereo and 4.0 multichannel surround sound | Mastered by Steve Hoffman | Audio Fidelity # AFZ5 202

Finally, after almost half a decade of serious dues-paying, Earth, Wind & Fire took off commercially with its fifth album, Open Our Eyes. EWF had been delivering great albums since 1971, but it wasn’t until 1974 that the public proved genuinely receptive to Maurice White’s mystical and unorthodox take on soul and funk. No longer would EWF enjoy only a small cult following. Thanks to treasures like “Kalimba Song,” the gritty funk smoker “Mighty Mighty,” and the unforgettable “Devotion,” Open Our Eyes became EWF’s first gold album and went to the top of the R&B charts. It’s also interesting to note that with this album, singer Jessica Cleaves was gone, resulting in the first time EWF had an all-male lineup. (more…)

Isaac Hayes – Hot Buttered Soul (1969) [MFSL 2003]
PS3 Rip | SACD ISO | DSD64 2.0 > 1-bit/2.8224 MHz | 45:37 minutes | Scans included | 1,84 GB
or FLAC(converted with foobar2000 to tracks) 24bit/88,2 kHz | Scans included | 990 MB
Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab # UDSACD 2005

Released at the tail end of the ’60s, Hot Buttered Soul set the precedent for how soul would evolve in the early ’70s, simultaneously establishing Isaac Hayes and the Bar-Kays as major forces within black music. Though not quite as definitive as Black Moses or as well-known as Shaft, Hot Buttered Soul remains an undeniably seminal record; it stretched its songs far beyond the traditional three-to-four-minute industry norm, featured long instrumental stretches where the Bar-Kays stole the spotlight, and it introduced a new, iconic persona for soul with Hayes’ tough yet sensual image. With the release of this album, Motown suddenly seemed manufactured and James Brown a bit too theatrical. Surprising many, the album features only four songs. The first, “Walk on By,” is an epic 12-minute moment of true perfection, its trademark string-laden intro just dripping with syrupy sentiment, and the thumping mid-tempo drum beat and accompanying bassline instilling a complementary sense of nasty funk to the song; if that isn’t enough to make it an amazing song, Hayes’ almost painful performance brings yet more feeling to the song, with the guitar’s heavy vibrato and the female background singers taking the song to even further heights. The following three songs aren’t quite as stunning but are still no doubt impressive: “Hyperbolicsyllabicsequedalymistic” trades in sappy sentiment for straight-ahead funk, highlighted by a stomping piano halfway through the song; “One Woman” is the least epic moment, clocking in at only five minutes, but stands as a straightforward, well-executed love ballad; and finally, there’s the infamous 18-minute “By the Time I Get to Phoenix” and its lengthy monologue which slowly eases you toward the climactic, almost-orchestral finale, a beautiful way to end one of soul’s timeless, landmark albums, the album that transformed Hayes into a lifelong icon. (more…)