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War: War Live (United Artists UALA193-J2); Earth Wind & Fire: Open Our Eyes (Columbia KC 32712)

Vernon Gibbs, Crawdaddy!, July 1974

THE TRUE TEST of any band is in live performance. Prima donna "entertainers" can escape with sickly back-ups and pass muster simply on the force of their well-groomed personalities or by the effectiveness of well-tailored songs. The vacuous nature of such entertainment is documented in our collective consciousness and needs no further elaboration here. Black Music at its most expressive has always been a function of spontaneity, though the Satin Steppers of the '60s did elaborate on the music out of cynicism for having to pander to the audience's showbiz expectations. But spontaneity of movement has always been among the most attractive aspects of the best Black music.

Total word count of piece: 781

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