Music accounts for so much of life. In fact considering life without music and the ability to express that which is within through song seems so much less interesting, engaging and heart-moving. Despite the great genius that some have it is in the realm of music that we again see how important teamwork, collaboration and unity is. Sure a bloke can record multiple parts himself if he is so gifted and indeed the storyteller can convey his message either merely vocally or with single accompaniment. There is something wonderful, however, about that full sound that you get with multiple instruments – requiring other players – and even other vocal parts – again requiring more singers. Then when you add the behind the performance issues like songwriting and production it’s like the Genesis project all over again bringing different things to bear to bring about the completed piece.
As you know, I’m fairly keen on the music of Earth, Wind and Fire, itself as an ensemble piece a tribute to the power of teamwork and what happens when people get together to lay down some serious music. One of my favourite EWF songs is After the Love Has Gone which is another example of the full process as the song was written by Bill Champlin, Jay Graydon and David Foster.
You may also be aware that I love to consider quality efforts at cover versions and there has already been the Mint Condition tribute to EWF that’s been posted. Here though we get a dose of what the writers would have done with the song.
This Brian McKnight version is fine with McKnight showing why he is such a highly rated vocalist, doing justice to a song he loves so much. It’s also of great interest seeing David Foster on the piano enjoying his own song evidently rendered in a manner pleasing to him. The only minor constructive point is that the song works with strong multi-vocals – just as the EWF version worked with Maurice White and Philip Bailey contributing strong vocals together. Beyond that though, this abridged version of the song is worth savouring.
Speaking of abridged versions, if you check the various arrangements of this song it makes you think which was the original version? Which was the ideal version? Even beyond that how did the song come together – who would claim the majority sharehold of the song? How would they have wanted it to be done? Questions like this come to mind when you watch this version of the song where all three writers of the song are present, Foster is the dude in the sunglasses, Graydon is on the guitar and Champlin himself takes on the main vocal part. No disrespect meant to any of the fellas, but you can see after writing the song and possibly recording versions of it they gave it to EWF to make it a hit. There is a cool about this version as well as passion from Champlin that makes this a creditable addition to the versions doing the rounds.
Now other than Champlin hogging the vocals (in the nicest possible way – after all it is his song), you’d have picked up on the brother Tommy Funderburk (fantastic name). There can be something wonderful about acoustic versions of songs. The thought of everything stripped back to basics and the earthy, intimate homely feel of non-electronic instruments putting the song together. Tommy does a brilliant job showing what he can do to the song when Bill ain’t around – a superb acoustic version of a superb song, well worth tracking down.
So we conclude our overview of some cover versions of one of my favourite EWF songs with the group themselves albeit post-White when they did a tour with Chicago who had in their ranks at the time Bill Champlin himself. Very clever thinking to get the writer to sing the song himself assisted by the group who made it popular. Good touch. It works as well blending in the two worlds and seeing how well they compliment each other showing the diversity in unity possible that makes music so beautiful. Enjoy.