Tuesday, March 10, 2009
Prodigiously talented writer, bandleader, producer and performer Curtis Mayfield had not yet left the Impressions for a solo career when he made this record. Percussion-heavy workouts with prominent horn and string arrangements would set the tone for his work throughout the seventies. That effortless butterfly falsetto floats majestically over even the hard hitting tracks.
There is a hypnotic quality involved with the longer cuts like "Move on Up" and "(Don't Worry) If There's a Hell Below, We're All Going to Go" and a deep, relentless groove. I would rate "The Makings of You" among the very best he ever committed to tape, with a lush background that enhances this beautiful song.
Getting a social message across also became a priority for this thoughtful musician. The layered, hard-edged funk was a perfect vehicle to voice concerns that were not commonly heard in popular music of this time. All of that would soon change, with Mayfield in the vanguard of a new movement.
Along with the subsequent Super Fly soundtrack, "Curtis" blended soul and funk in a completely different manner that was experimental, yet still very accessible. He was a great talent and a huge influence to many in all genres of music.
"We the People Who Are Darker than Blue", live in 1973.