A new digital album explores little-known soul trio The Salty Peppers, best known as the elements of one of the best soul bands of the 1970s: Earth, Wind & Fire.
In 1969, Maurice White, the drummer in the Ramsey Lewis Trio, struck out on his own on the Chicago music scene first as a songwriter and then as the drummer in a new quartet of his own creation. With two friends, keyboardist/bassist Don Whitehead and singer Wade Flemons and Don Whitehead, White would found a trio, The Salty Peppers.
Their type of rough-hewn funk, heavy on horns and short on lyrics (their only A-sides, “La La Time” and “Uh Huh Yeah,” were more or less instrumental) provide an interesting window into White’s work with Earth, Wind & Fire, which would initially feature Flemons and Whitehead alongside his younger brother Verdine White on bass and a young Leslie Drayton (later a music director for Marvin Gaye) as one of the horn players.
EWF’s lineup would change greatly after that first album–Maurice White would move away from drums and share vocal duties with Philip Bailey, crystallizing their jazz-disco sound that made them hitmakers for Columbia Records in the ’70s and ’80s–but The Salty Peppers remain an intriguing, little-known stepping stone in Maurice White’s musical odyssey.
The newly-compiled La La Time: The Roots of Earth, Wind & Fire, features all four sides of The Salty Peppers’ only released singles for Capitol Records: two halves of “La La Time,” and “Uh Huh Yeah” b/w “Your Love is Life,” and also unearths five previously unreleased recordings.
You can listen to The Salty Peppers at Spotify, or click the iTunes and Amazon links and download it below!
La La Time: The Roots of Earth, Wind & Fire (Capitol, 2015) (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K. / iTunes)
- Uh Huh Yeah (Capitol single P-2568-A, 1969)
- La La Time, Pt. 1 (Capitol single P-2433-A, 1969)
- La La Time, Pt. 2 (Capitol single P-2433-B, 1969)
- Your Love is Life (Capitol single P-2568-B, 1969)
- Someone Waits
- Open Your Heart
- Tugs and Tears
- Time Oh Time
- Tag Along
All tracks previously unreleased except where noted