7th Wonder

Thunder

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Like Earth, Wind & Fire, 7th Wonder was a funk/soul band fascinated with the culture of ancient Egypt -- it wasn't uncommon for the nine-member outfit to wear Egyptian attire and display Egyptian imagery (including illustrations of pyramids) on its album covers. But unlike EWF, 7th Wonder was never a huge name in the R&B world. After recording a few little known LPs for Parachute in the late '70s, 7th Wonder moved to Casablanca's Chocolate City subsidiary with the more successful Thunder. This 1980 LP wasn't a blockbuster, although it does contain a few hits, including the perky, Earth, Wind & Fire-ish "I Enjoy Ya" and the Lakeside-minded funk single "The Tilt." Depending on who is producing a particular track, Thunder can favor either an EWF-influenced approach or more of a Lakeside/Dynasty/Solar Records type of groove. Elements of the Solar sound are all over "The Tilt," which was produced by Leon Sylvers III (a major player at Solar in the late '70s and the 1980s). But the material that Jerry Weaver produced (including "I Enjoy Ya") is more EWF-minded. Here's the ironic thing: "Stop Before You Break My Heart," the only tune on the LP that was actually produced by Lakeside, is closer to EWF than Lakeside -- the exuberant number even sounds like it could have been produced by Maurice or Verdine White. Overall, this LP is enjoyable, if less than distinctive; 7th Stranger fails to project a recognizable sound of its own and ends up sounding like it can't decide if it wants to be an EWF disciple or a Solar act. But the material is generally decent, and Thunder is considered the band's best album.

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