One of my favourite soul artists ever, a tribute to Mr Mayfield for Martini&Jopparelli’s birthday.
Having led The Impressions for longer than anyone can remember, Curtis stepped into 1970 and the solo spotlight with this, his solo debut album, and with it he brings a well of creativity and some serious hard fonk!
From front to back this album flows as a masterpiece, with strong rhythms and heavily muscled horns, including the awesome classic `Move On Up’ and the super tender and breath takingly beautiful `Makings Of You’. An incredible stand out record of an incredible era, and things were just getting started! On his first solo album, Curtis, he takes on a harder stance and his songs are most critical and scathing than the uplifting one he performed with The Impressions. The album’s opener “(Don’t Worry) If There’s A Hell Below, We’re All Gonna Go” breaks down stereotypes and lays blame for the nation’s situation on everyone. The album’s best track is the misty “We The People Who Are Darker Than Blue” that has a mystical vibe to it. Mr. Mayfield was never afraid of speaking his mind and his debut solo album has alot to say.But it was his voice that reached the higher ground. When he sang “I’m So Proud” and “The Wonder of You,” the vulnerability and passion got in real close. They knew he knew.
In the beginning, he made a gospel-like call to rise up, get on board and get ready. “I know you can make it,” he exhorted to the slap of tambourines, hand-clapping and soul-stirring harmonizing. He later took on the voice of activism, calling out the diseases of urban America and again challenging people to see what was going on, a plea Marvin Gaye would take up, too — see what’s going on and rise above it. The full range of Curtis Mayfield’s powers can be heard in the soundtrack to Superfly. It hits you in waves: driving rhythms with brass and string orchestrations countered by down-in-the-alley funk.
“Wrong Side Of The Tracks” is the first album from this jersey duo that came out in 1994. Tight flows, smart lyrics and head nodding, hard as hell beats. This time round they are provided by Buckwild (from the diggin’in the crates crew) and T-Ray (from the soul assassin crew), with Reggie Noble providing his friends with a nice beat also. The singles that were released from this joint were off the chain “c’mon with the git down” which is still an absolute heater after all these years. As is “dynamite soul” and the masterpiece ode to graf,(the 1st joint to do so),”wrong side of the tracks”. The rest of this album is so strong that really any track on this could’ve been singles. Go cop this a.s.a.p. as it really is a diamond of an album. El Da Sensai is solid, but Tame One has got disconcerting skills, overwhelming and clean flow sliding on a dope tune.
Some T-Ray productions reminds me Da Beatminerz works, mixed up with CRU ones.
I spent a week end in Manchester a couple of months ago, never thought it could be such in ferment. In the Norther Quarter is a suburb where music is taking all over, you can breath soul over on along its alleys. Friday night in a club, believe me…seeing a noteworthy crowd getting high with motown classics, it was something new and stunning to me.
I’ve been at ‘beatinrhythm records’, digging in the crates for a couple of plentiful hours…you know, put the vinyl, headphones on and the work is done. Finally i opted for “Let’s Stay Together” by Al Green and a double live set by Curtis Mayfield. While listening, got my eyes upon a couple of picture frames (better zoom on them)…Sir Kenny Dope and Dj Shadow have poken around there, not bad!
Check out this 30secs shooting (i gotta thank Nic Montuori for that).
Could it be that some of their selections took inspiration from there? Maybe not, but i like thinking it went this way.
The town where i live is not givin these opportunities at all, so literally digging in the crates was like i imagined…compulsorily a “to do” thing!
You didn’t sleep on them and i’m sure about that, so take this chance and let them hit you once again.
“We’re happy? Yeah we’re happy!”
The right side of rap – Artifacts ‘Between A Rock & A Hard Place‘
Classic – Curtis Mayfield ‘Curtis‘
Bonus Traxx – Curtis Mayfield ‘Superfly‘