Apr 11, 2015

RhoDeo 1514 Grooves


Today.a singer, guitarist, songwriter and producer, truly one of the greats, a pioneer in funk and socially aware R&B. He received the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1995. Inducted into Rock And Roll Hall of Fame in 1999 (Performer). Inducted into Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2000. Here to,,,,,N'joy

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Perhaps because he didn't cross over to the pop audience as heavily as Motown's stars, it may be that the scope of Curtis Mayfield's talents and contributions have yet to be fully recognized. Judged merely by his records alone, the man's legacy is enormous. As the leader of the Impressions, he recorded some of the finest soul vocal group music of the 1960s. As a solo artist in the 1970s, he helped pioneer funk and helped introduce hard-hitting urban commentary into soul music. "Gypsy Woman," "It's All Right," "People Get Ready," "Freddie's Dead," and "Super Fly" are merely the most famous of his many hit records.

 But Curtis Mayfield wasn't just a singer. He wrote most of his material at a time when that was not the norm for soul performers. He was among the first -- if not the very first -- to speak openly about African-American pride and community struggle in his compositions. As a songwriter and a producer, he was a key architect of Chicago soul, penning material and working on sessions by notable Windy City soulsters like Gene Chandler, Jerry Butler, Major Lance, and Billy Butler. In this sense, he can be compared to Smokey Robinson, who also managed to find time to write and produce many classics for other soul stars. Mayfield was also an excellent guitarist, and his rolling, Latin-influenced lines were highlights of the Impressions' recordings in the '60s. During the next decade, he would toughen up his guitar work and production, incorporating some of the best features of psychedelic rock and funk.

Mayfield began his career as an associate of Jerry Butler, with whom he formed the Impressions in the late '50s. After the Impressions had a big hit in 1958 with "For Your Precious Love," Butler, who had sung lead on the record, split to start a solo career. Mayfield, while keeping the Impressions together, continued to write for and tour with Butler before the Impressions got their first Top 20 hit in 1961, "Gypsy Woman."

Mayfield was heavily steeped in gospel music before he entered the pop arena, and gospel, as well as doo wop, influences would figure prominently in most of his '60s work. Mayfield wasn't a staunch traditionalist, however. He and the Impressions may have often worked the call-and-response gospel style, but his songs (romantic and otherwise) were often veiled or unveiled messages of black pride, reflecting the increased confidence and self-determination of the African-American community. Musically he was an innovator as well, using arrangements that employed the punchy, blaring horns and Latin-influenced rhythms that came to be trademark flourishes of Chicago soul. As the staff producer for the OKeh label, Mayfield was also instrumental in lending his talents to the work of other Chi-town soul singers who went on to national success. With Mayfield singing lead and playing guitar, the Impressions had 14 Top 40 hits in the 1960s (five made the Top 20 in 1964 alone), and released some above-average albums during that period as well.

Given Mayfield's prodigious talents, it was perhaps inevitable that he would eventually leave the Impressions to begin a solo career, as he did in 1970. His first few singles boasted a harder, more funk-driven sound; singles like "(Don't Worry) If There's a Hell Below, We're All Gonna Go" found him confronting ghetto life with a realism that had rarely been heard on record. He really didn't hit his artistic or commercial stride as a solo artist, though, until Super Fly, his soundtrack to a 1972 blaxploitation film. Drug deals, ghetto shootings, the death of young black men before their time: all were described in penetrating detail. Yet Mayfield's irrepressible falsetto vocals, uplifting melodies, and fabulous funk pop arrangements gave the oft-moralizing material a graceful strength that few others could have achieved. For all the glory of his past work, Superfly stands as his crowning achievement, not to mention a much-needed counterpoint to the sensationalistic portrayals of the film itself.

At this point Mayfield, along with Stevie Wonder and Marvin Gaye, was the foremost exponent of a new level of compelling auteurism in soul. His failure to maintain the standards of Super Fly qualifies as one of the great disappointments in the history of black popular music. Perhaps he'd simply reached his peak after a long climb, but the rest of his '70s work didn't match the musical brilliance and lyrical subtleties of Super Fly, although he had a few large R&B hits in a much more conventional vein, such as "Kung Fu," "So in Love," and "Only You Babe."

Mayfield had a couple of hits in the early '80s, but the decade generally found his commercial fortunes in a steady downward spiral, despite some intermittent albums. On August 14, 1990, he became paralyzed from the neck down when a lighting rig fell on top of him at a concert in Brooklyn, NY. In the mid-'90s, a couple of tribute albums consisting of Mayfield covers appeared, with contributions by such superstars as Eric Clapton, Bruce Springsteen, and Gladys Knight. Though no substitute for the man himself, these tributes served as an indication of the enormous regard in which Mayfield was still held by his peers. He died December 26, 1999 at the age of 57.

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The choice of Curtis Mayfield to score the blaxploitation film Super Fly was an inspired one. No other artist in popular music knew so well, and expressed through his music so naturally, the shades of gray inherent in contemporary inner-city life. His debut solo album, 1970's Curtis, had shown in vivid colors that the '60s optimist (author of the civil-rights anthems "Keep On Pushing" and "People Get Ready") had added a layer of subtlety to his material; appearing on the same LP as the positive and issue-oriented "Move On Up" was an apocalyptic piece of brimstone funk titled "(Don't Worry) If There's a Hell Below, We're All Going to Go." For Super Fly, Mayfield wisely avoids celebrating the wheeling-and-dealing themes present in the movie, or exploiting them, instead using each song to focus on a different aspect of what he saw as a plague on America's streets. He also steers away from explicit moralizing; through his songs, Mayfield simply tells it like it is (for the characters in the film as in real life), with any lessons learned the result of his vibrant storytelling and knack of getting inside the heads of the characters. "Freddie's Dead," one of the album's signature pieces, tells the story of one of the film's main casualties, a good-hearted yet weak-willed man caught up in the life of a pusher, and devastatingly portrays the indifference of those who witness or hear about it. "Pusherman" masterfully uses the metaphor of drug dealer as businessman, with the drug game, by extension, just another way to make a living in a tough situation, while the title track equates hustling with gambling ("The game he plays he plays for keeps/hustlin' times and ghetto streets/tryin' ta get over"). Ironically, the sound of Super Fly positively overwhelmed its lyrical finesse. A melange of deep, dark grooves, trademarked wah-wah guitar, and stinging brass, Super Fly ignited an entire genre of music, the blaxploitation soundtrack, and influenced everyone from soul singers to television-music composers for decades to come. It stands as one of the most vivid touchstones of '70s pop music.

Curtis Mayfield - Super Fly Deluxe 25th Anniversary Ed.1+2  (flac  455mb)

101 Little Child Runnin' Wild 5:27
102 Pusherman 5:06
103 Freddie's Dead 5:29
104 Junkie Chase (Instrumental) 1:41
105 Give Me Your Love (Love Song) 4:20
106 Eddie You Should Know Better 2:21
107 No Thing On Me (Cocaine Song) 4:58
108 Think (Instrumental) 3:49
109 Superfly 4:00
110 Freddie's Dead (Theme From "Superfly") (Single Mix) 3:21
111 Superfly (Single Mix) 3:08


201 Ghetto Child (Demo Version Of "Little Child Runnin' Wild") 3:19
202 Pusherman (Alternate Mix) 6:11
203 Freddie's Dead (Instrumental Version) 4:48
204 Junkie Chase (Instrumental) (Full-Length Version) 4:18
205 No Thing On Me (Cocaine Song) (Instrumental Version) 4:37
206 Militant March 0:55
207 Eddie You Should Know Better (Instrumental Version) 2:17
208 Radio Spot #1 0:28
209 The Underground 3:14
210 Check Out Your Mind (Instrumental Version) 4:06
211 Radio Spot #2 0:28
212 Curtis Mayfield (On "Superfly" Film & Songwriting) 7:03

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Back to the World, the first album Curtis Mayfield recorded and released after hitting number one with the intense inner-city vignette Superfly, returned him to a steady balance of optimism for the future and direct social commentary regarding the problems of his people. The lead single, "Future Shock," was inspired by Alvin Toffler's 1970 book of the same name, which warned readers that industrial society was changing so radically that environmental and social problems could be endemic for decades. The track tapped into the same grooves and brass heard on Superfly (perhaps overly so), but said more about the world around ("We got to stop all men, from messing up the land/When won't we understand, this is our last and only chance?"). The title track was very upbeat and positive, as were the refreshing "If I Were Only a Child Again" and "Future Song (Love a Good Woman, Love a Good Man)." With no hit singles to even approach the Superfly sales, though the songs were up to Mayfield's usual high standards, there were many similarities (musically and thematically) to material from each of his proper solo albums.

Curtis Mayfield - Back to the World (flac 194mb)

01 Back To The World 6:47
02 Future Shock 5:17
03 Right On For The Darkness 7:28
04 Future Song (Love A Good Woman, Love A Good Man) 5:00
05 If I Were Only A Child Again 2:52
06 Can’t Say Nothin’ 5:13
07 Keep On Trippin’ 3:16

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Curtis Mayfield hit a stride during the '70s that was unparalleled among R&B/soul performers from an album standpoint. He was writing, producing, arranging, and performing on great album after great album, then distributing them on his own label as well. This one included the big hit "Kung Fu," plus the title song, and once more perfectly blended rigorous message tracks and steamy love songs.

Curtis Mayfield - Sweet Exorcist (flac 146mb)

01 Ain't Got Time 5:10
02 Sweet Exorcist 3:50
03 To Be Invisible 4:12
04 Power To The People 3:26
05 Kung Fu 6:02
06 Suffer 4:06
07 Make Me Believe In You 5:32

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concorde said...

Great post! Having trouble with the flac links to "Back to the world" - none of them seem to follow thru...is it just me?

Chris said...

me too, plrease reup, thanks

Rho said...

Hello Concorde, Chris well thats most odd apparently the host 1filesharing.com recognized it as illegal yes heirs and recordlabels can be much more greedy then the artist ever was, and as revenues undoubtedly are slowly drying up they think blocking will make them money...if only

Anyway Curtis is Back To The World but at another address...N'Joy

concorde said...

Beautiful - cheers Rho. All fixed

Anonymous said...

Hej Rho,

is there another cance of a "Sweet Exorcist" reup?

Thanks so much in advance and for your nice blog!

Guitarradeplastico your favorite musician said...

many thanks

Walt Reneker said...

Would love and appreciate a re-up of "Back to the World" and "Sweet Exorcist"!