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(ra tinJe (Columbia) A live performance of larth, Wind & Fire is more like a reliabas service (han a stage show. That's why theu latest album, "Gratitude," three-quartÉrs of which was recorded at various concerts, is something extraordinary. It's a believable, warm and human gospel that they offer and their following is enormous and uniformly ecstatic. A spirit of gratitudc certainly directs E, W&F through iheir music. They perform, one feels, on our behall : lor us. Their music tries lo unify a netwerk of shared aspirations and needs, and to makc us feel thein. "We're jusl hcre to remind you, yearnin' learnin' is what you're doinV' This album contains many of E, W&F's most familiar work, as evidenced by the howling recognition that accompanies the first notes of every song. There is "Shining Star," with a looser feel and a rhythmic attack om of Sly's bag. "Sun Goddess" is dono without Ramsey Lewis and truly doesn't suffer frorn his absence. The mosl delightful ihing about E, W&F is that they aren't tied down into a sound. Unlike otlier large ensembles, they have a great array of effects which leader Maurice White arranges to fit the demands of every song. Witness the tenderand thoughtful ease of "Devotion"-voiees are raised in billowing gospel-like harmonies over the silken rhythm section and Larry Dunn's organ: "Your devotion opens all life's treasures . . . lielieve us." Mercy! One ean't help but believe! There's much more to discover, four bountiful sides worth, and I envy you not having heard them yet. I artli. Wind and Fire hooit you by the ear but pull you up by the heart. -