Curtis Mayfield: Classic or Dud?

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Classic, I love him. My favourite track is "Right on for the Darkness" from Back to the World, which demonstrates his great guitar playing as is mentioned above.

Keith Watson (kmw), Saturday, 12 June 2004 12:35 (sixteen years ago) link

Besides his huge influence in American music, he had a major effect on Jamaican music as well.

shookout (shookout), Saturday, 12 June 2004 12:59 (sixteen years ago) link


peter smith (plsmith), Saturday, 12 June 2004 17:05 (sixteen years ago) link


peter smith (plsmith), Saturday, 12 June 2004 17:05 (sixteen years ago) link

I'm amazed that anyone could say he was dud. Particularly after hearing "Pusherman".

Bimble (bimble), Saturday, 12 June 2004 17:35 (sixteen years ago) link

No love for Jerry Butler?

(Dave Q's comment will forever change the way I hear, etc.)

Michael Daddino (epicharmus), Saturday, 12 June 2004 18:55 (sixteen years ago) link

"move on up" is so mind-bogglingly good.

amateur!st (amateurist), Sunday, 13 June 2004 03:04 (sixteen years ago) link

he may be my favourite EVAH.

mullygrubber (gaz), Sunday, 13 June 2004 05:45 (sixteen years ago) link

i think curtis actually wrote a higher number of great songs in the impressions than as a solo artist, brilliant as superfly, and much of his solo (up to mid) 70s albums were.

as someone else said, if you can find the demo versions of a lot of his songs on superfly and the curtis album (i got mine on a 3 cd cheapo box set love peace understanding), theyre a lot more understated than the finished versions. he didnt pretty them up with strings and extra ornamenation.

thesplooge (thesplooge), Sunday, 13 June 2004 15:44 (sixteen years ago) link

I can't decide if "Move On Up" is the best song ever or if the single edit of "Move On Up" is better

Sonny A. (Keiko), Sunday, 13 June 2004 16:45 (sixteen years ago) link

Oh I like the long one better, because it goes on longer.

And also because the break down is great.

Keith Watson (kmw), Sunday, 13 June 2004 16:49 (sixteen years ago) link

the breakdown is amazing.

thesplooge (thesplooge), Sunday, 13 June 2004 18:06 (sixteen years ago) link

Yeah, the long one is probably better. But I heard the short version first and liked how it was a perfect little pop song.
Deciding factor: when I had only heard the short version I had to listen to it on repeat to make the groove go on forever; album version = problem solved !

Sonny A. (Keiko), Sunday, 13 June 2004 18:25 (sixteen years ago) link

the great thing about that song is that its perfect whether you end it on that last snare before part 2 starts or if you let it play.

thesplooge (thesplooge), Sunday, 13 June 2004 19:03 (sixteen years ago) link

'Back to the World,' 'Got to Find a Way,' 'There's No Place Like America Today,' 'Sweet Exorcist' and 'Short Eyes' never get enough props. Somebody needs to make those albums easily available. Mayfield is definitely my favorite soul artist.

Patrick South (Patrick South), Friday, 18 June 2004 06:04 (sixteen years ago) link

two years pass...
Holy shit! I dunno if I've ever seen a thread with such whole-hearted agreement.

I completely agree with all the praise too. I'm fairly new to Curtis; started listening to him because of the high praise Robbie Robertson (among many others) gave him as both a guitar player and songwriter.

I don't have near enough of his material - Impressions or solo.

shorty (shorty), Friday, 13 October 2006 22:38 (thirteen years ago) link


Brigadier Lethbridge-Pfunkboy (Kerr), Friday, 13 October 2006 22:43 (thirteen years ago) link

Apparently also an influence on Hendrix' rhythm playing -- listen to the "Axis: Bold as Love" album.

A Radio Picture (Rrrickey), Friday, 13 October 2006 22:59 (thirteen years ago) link

also, a huge influence on John Mayer's new single!

Haikunym (Haikunym), Friday, 13 October 2006 23:33 (thirteen years ago) link


(CM is totally classic obv)

deej.. (deej..), Monday, 16 October 2006 23:31 (thirteen years ago) link

I never realized until today that he wrote Major Lance's "Um, Um, Um, Um, Um, Um," which I noticed while I was listening to an, um, Johnny Rivers cover of it under the title "Curious Mind (Um, Um, Um, Um, Um, Um)"

Ruud Comes to Haarvest (Ken L), Tuesday, 17 October 2006 00:39 (thirteen years ago) link

if you've not heard 'doo doo wap is strong in here' or 'right on for the darkness', you need to. curtis slays.

i am not a nugget (stevie), Tuesday, 17 October 2006 09:04 (thirteen years ago) link

"Short eyes" is ridiculously underrated.

Curtis > Roots > Superfly > Short Eyes > Back To The World > Curtis Live > Got To Find A Way

Dimehitter Dwayne Hosey (dwaynehosey), Tuesday, 17 October 2006 11:34 (thirteen years ago) link

i'd put Curtis! Live just after Curtis, personally, but i can't disagree otherwise.

i am not a nugget (stevie), Tuesday, 17 October 2006 11:51 (thirteen years ago) link

'The Makings of You' is one of the most beautiful songs ever.

def zep (calstars), Tuesday, 17 October 2006 13:15 (thirteen years ago) link

independant of songs, achieves "classic" status simply by inspiring Pharrell Williams' endearingly awful falsetto...

hank (hank s), Tuesday, 17 October 2006 14:44 (thirteen years ago) link

Does he deserve the "god-like" status attributed to him by certain magazines or was he just a high-voiced hippie? Me, I haven't really listened enough to judge. I've got the best of the Curtom Years CD, but don't put it on very often. Is he worth any more of my time?

-- Phil A. (spleetl...), May 8th, 2001.

and they cryout how ilm used to be better than now...

PappaWheelie: Giving out breaks to the needy since September 25th, 2006 (PappaWh, Tuesday, 17 October 2006 15:22 (thirteen years ago) link

saddest stage accident injury ever

Shakey Mo Collier (Shakey Mo Collier), Tuesday, 17 October 2006 15:28 (thirteen years ago) link

(beyond classic btw COME ON)

Shakey Mo Collier (Shakey Mo Collier), Tuesday, 17 October 2006 15:29 (thirteen years ago) link

thers no place like america today is awesome! id put it after curtis live before short eyes

chaki (chaki), Tuesday, 17 October 2006 15:32 (thirteen years ago) link

what's the opinion on his stuff after 1975 or so? I bought this 2CD "Definitive Soul" collection where the second CD is 1976 onwards. I think it's pretty good but lacks the consistent genius of the first CD.

a.b. (alanbanana), Tuesday, 17 October 2006 16:00 (thirteen years ago) link

Utter dud. Rod Stewart in boot polish. There's more soul in any given nanosecond of Marc Bolan than in the entire bloated ouevre of this absurdly overrated Uncle Tom.

and what (ooo), Tuesday, 17 October 2006 16:16 (thirteen years ago) link

don't try it dude

ZR (teenagequiet), Tuesday, 17 October 2006 16:17 (thirteen years ago) link

Is anyone familiar with his disco era albums? I bought Do It All Night a couple of years ago for 3 euros, and it's surprisingly good, certainly better than, say, Got to Find a Way. The string arrangements he favours fit perfectly with more disco type tunes.

Tuomas (Tuomas), Tuesday, 17 October 2006 16:32 (thirteen years ago) link

"Short eyes" is ridiculously underrated.

Curtis > Roots > Superfly > Short Eyes > Back To The World > Curtis Live > Got To Find A Way

Are you honestly saying There's No Place Like America Today isn't among his top SEVEN records?

Naive Teen Idol (Naive Teen Idol), Tuesday, 17 October 2006 16:40 (thirteen years ago) link

Umm...Do It All Night better than Got to Find a Way? It's got a couple of decent tracks, but most of it is painfully generic and un-Mayfield.

There's No Place Like America Today is probably my favorite album of his, actually. And I think Back to the World is quite underrated.

Patrick South (Patrick South), Tuesday, 17 October 2006 16:41 (thirteen years ago) link

Well, I think Do It All Night simply has better songs than Got to Find A Way. There's some nice grooves on that LP, but none of the tunes is particularly memorable (in fact, I can't remember how any of them goes).

Tuomas (Tuomas), Tuesday, 17 October 2006 16:46 (thirteen years ago) link


Back to the World has a much better A side than B side.

Tuomas (Tuomas), Tuesday, 17 October 2006 16:46 (thirteen years ago) link

Are you honestly saying There's No Place Like America Today isn't among his top SEVEN records?

I've never heard There's No Place Like America Today.

Dimehitter Dwayne Hosey (dwaynehosey), Tuesday, 17 October 2006 17:26 (thirteen years ago) link

lolz @ "uncle Tom" (yeah right ethan)

Shakey Mo Collier (Shakey Mo Collier), Tuesday, 17 October 2006 18:26 (thirteen years ago) link

A definite classic, based on the three early '70s albums I own. (Dunno much about the Impressions, alas; I'm kinda clueless about huge chunks of pre-Sly R&B.)

M. Agony Von Bontee (M. Agony Von Bontee), Tuesday, 17 October 2006 18:34 (thirteen years ago) link

You should check out the Impressions, the late 60s stuff at least isn't that different from his early solo material. "Choice of Colors" is one of my favourite singles ever.

Tuomas (Tuomas), Wednesday, 18 October 2006 05:28 (thirteen years ago) link

Shakey, Trife is making joek/impersonation of interweb celebrity; he doesn't actually think Curtis is an Uncle Tom, as can be seen upthread.

Daniel_Rf (Daniel_Rf), Wednesday, 18 October 2006 08:54 (thirteen years ago) link

I never realized until today that he wrote Major Lance's "Um, Um, Um, Um, Um, Um"
I also didn't realize, "Monkey Time," along with lots of other Major Lance and Chicago soul hits that I don't know too much about, but apparently there's a comp on that I might want to be checking out.

As a songwriter, guitar player, producer, and beautiful cat who brought his own funk and timeless positive message from a real place, a stone classic.

The Redd 47 Ronin (Ken L), Saturday, 21 October 2006 22:36 (thirteen years ago) link

and what - i don't care if you're being sarcastic. Just because some dummy may take you seriously - This uncle tom is telling you to shut your ignorant pie hole and respect the great Curtis Mayfield.

Uncle Tom (Uncle Tom), Sunday, 22 October 2006 04:08 (thirteen years ago) link

There's a best of Curtom Records 3-disc set that's worth grabbing if you come across it.

deej.. (deej..), Sunday, 22 October 2006 21:33 (thirteen years ago) link

His later albums are really getting neglected here. I think it's time they get reevaluated. The first few got nice reissue treatments from Rhino, but they stopped at Superfly unfortunately. I hope they resume, because these albums deserve to be heard.

In order of preference:

There's No Place Like America Today 75
Back To the World 73
Sweet Exorcist 74
Got To Find A Way 74
Let's Do It Again 74
Give Get Take Have 76

Fastnbulbous (Fastnbulbous), Monday, 23 October 2006 05:15 (thirteen years ago) link

I've overlooked most of Curtis' post-'75 output, but then again I usually avoid any soul music made after 1975 IN GENERAL.

However, I do have an early-80's album he did for the long-gone Boardwalk label, titled something like LOVE IS THE PLACE. Can't lie -it's from '81 or '82 and it sounds it, this ain't no retro project, but for what it is, it's not bad at all. The only real standout is "Just Ease My Mind," which should have been comped on that box set of black country singers that Warners released years ago. Seriously, this is Curtis gone country & western, and he OWNS it.

Track down a copy and hear it for yourself - because it was recorded well after his prime years, this album is always cheap as dirt in the used stores. "Just Ease My Mind," by itself, is worth the $1.

Rev. Hoodoo (Rev. Hoodoo), Monday, 23 October 2006 06:37 (thirteen years ago) link

one year passes...

i cant get used to his singing but the music is v nice.

, Sunday, 18 November 2007 18:07 (twelve years ago) link

Shameless Pharrell biter, amirite?

The Reverend, Sunday, 18 November 2007 18:49 (twelve years ago) link

inner city blues, holy shit!

voodoo chili, Friday, 1 March 2019 17:16 (one year ago) link

yeah this set is radical. whole band smokes.

tylerw, Friday, 1 March 2019 17:28 (one year ago) link

XP IKR Silly me never realized until now how much of a Curtis song it is.

a large tuna called “Justice” (C. Grisso/McCain), Friday, 1 March 2019 18:02 (one year ago) link

one year passes...
The Notations - Superpeople

Heard this and thought wow that's the most Curtis Mayfield-y thing I've ever heard. Turns out they were on the Curtom label. Dope song.

A True White Kid that can Jump (Granny Dainger), Wednesday, 20 May 2020 20:08 (one month ago) link

So classic. I'm no expert or completist, but did Curtis ever sing in anything other than his falsetto?

Josh in Chicago, Wednesday, 20 May 2020 20:12 (one month ago) link

Tuomas being so dense itt.

Is Lou Reed a Good Singer? (Tom D.), Wednesday, 20 May 2020 20:30 (one month ago) link

hmm. I mean I'd say technically he goes out of a true falsetto a lot but I can't think of anything that wasn't in a high register.

A True White Kid that can Jump (Granny Dainger), Wednesday, 20 May 2020 20:32 (one month ago) link

This song has the lowest register vocals from him that I've heard, and he still does a semi-falsetto in the chorus.

Tuomas, Wednesday, 20 May 2020 20:50 (one month ago) link

two weeks pass...

Anyone know anything about the Rhino reissue of his first 4 solo albums that happened last year?

Heez, Saturday, 6 June 2020 02:55 (one month ago) link

Yeah that one. Reading some good things

Heez, Saturday, 6 June 2020 14:01 (one month ago) link

hard to beat that price tbh

budo jeru, Saturday, 6 June 2020 14:18 (one month ago) link

Looks good, be prepared, tho, that Sweet Exorcist isn't quite as good as the first three. That and his other 1974 album Got to Find a Way are okay, then There's No Place Like America Today from 1975 raises the bar again, but that one is pretty much his last truly good album. The ones after that are still worth listening because they usually have one or two great songs, but his peak creative period as a solo artist was those five years from 1970 to 1975.

Tuomas, Saturday, 6 June 2020 14:43 (one month ago) link

wrong, "sweet exorcist" is amazing

budo jeru, Saturday, 6 June 2020 14:55 (one month ago) link

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