Well, we've lost another great. Maurice White from Earth, Wind & Fire died last week after a long battle with Parkinson's disease. Once again, I was moved, well, reduced, to tears. At the kitchen table, no less.
There is something particularly pathetic about breaking down alone at the kitchen table. No matter what you're crying about you look like Betty Draper from the first season of "Mad Men," disillusioned with the world and your place in it.
I could say some great things about Maurice White and find some amazing clips on YouTube...but my friends did such a fantastic job of it that I just wanted to share what they shared.
Nelson Marquez posted a video of Maurice and his brother, best friend, and band mate, Verdine White, talking about spirituality and creativity:
Family friend Larry Robinson wrote a lovely personal story. So personal that he calls Maurice by his nickname, "Reese." Yes, Larry Robinson is cooler than the rest of us:
I went to an EWF recording session where they were recording the horns for a song called "Pride." Maurice was in full producer mode. Everyone in the booth was astonished when Reese got up, went over to the 24 track recording machine, and flipped the two inch tape on the machine in order to make the tape play in reverse. Reese then had the horns play and they were recorded on the tape rolling in reverse on the machine. He then reversed the tape again and the results were FUCKING AWESOME....
Maurice proudly exclaimed, "I threaded THE SHIT out of that tape!!!!!!"
Romanowski in San Francisco went to town on the history:
Before EWF Maurice White was the house drummer at Chess Records and Cadet Records. His tenure at the labels saw him perform on albums by such blues and rock greats as Muddy Waters, Chuck Berry, Howlin' Wolf and Etta James. He later freelanced on albums by jazz saxophone legends John Coltrane and Sonny Stitt, as well as working with soul vocal dynamos singer Jackie Wilson and Curtis Mayfield and The Impressions.
Anybody that knows the Cadet label, should be aware of the overall musical/cultural impact that Mr. White had/has...
And I will say this:
When my husband and I first started dating, we would sit around my apartment playing vinyl and drinking beer in our pajamas. That's right. Pajamas. Beer. 1970's soul records. I guess we thought we were in some missing episode of "Sanford and Son." And in that missing episode, I would like to think I'm the gentle soul Grady but fear that I'm the loudmouth, hothead Aunt Esther...
Whatever. I'll own it.
Anyway, we listened to so many artists that were associated with Maurice in one way or another: The Emotions, Minnie Riperton, Deniece Williams. But this track is the one we played over and again. It reminds of beer and pj's and late nights, sure. But mostly, it reminds me of falling in love.