Old 12-27-2011, 03:44 PM
The genius of Curtis Mayfield

After buying the Superfly soundtrack on vinyl and sitting down with it and giving it a proper listen (like it deserves), I've decided that old Curtis deserves to be in the upper echelons of incredibly gifted singer/songwriters and multi-instrumentalists like Prince, Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, and so forth and so on. Tracks like "Move on Up", "No Thing On Me", "Freddie's Dead", etc. are funk and soul masterpieces that I don't know why have been overlooked. And Curtis sang, played a guitar tuned to F# minor, and composed all the horn charts and who knows what else he did in the studio.

Curtis' life story goes on to be a sad one - as a lighting truss fell on him at a show and paralyzed him from his neck down, and he died a few years later. It's sad that he's somewhat "forgotten", in a loose sense of the word. Yeah, most everyone who grew up in the 70s remembers Superfly and "Pusherman", but they don't give the man himself enough credit. His songs were actually about minorities rising up out of the ghetto and creating their own beautiful world without all the ugliness surrounding dealing drugs, doing drugs, and all around "junkie living".

"Just move on up, and keep on wishin'. Remember your dream is your only scheme, so keep on pushin'."
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Old 12-27-2011, 06:34 PM
I have to agree, Mayfield was a genius and his body of work really endures.

I got a best of box set that contained a disc of songs by the Impressions, his early group. Lots of that material is really, really sublime ("Keep On Pushing", "Fool For You").

Outside of Superfly, which is fantastic, he had so many other gems in his catalogue.
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Old 12-27-2011, 08:35 PM
Superfly and Curtis are pretty frequently in rotation here. The only competition the man had against his talent was his style.
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Old 12-27-2011, 09:16 PM
I doubt he's overlooked, it just depends on what circles you run with. Just about everybody I know acknowledges Curtis Mayfield as one of the greatest musicians and songwriters ever.
He was certainly brilliant, and an inspiration on a lot of hip hop as well.
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Old 12-28-2011, 10:28 PM
Don't forget that he was the prime mover behind the great 60's R&B group The Impressions.

His career arc is very much like Marvin Gaye's and Stevie Wonder's in that he started out doing straightforward R&B and grew into wider and deeper vistas with his songwriting and social outlook.
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