CURTIS MAYFIELD — Curtis

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CURTIS MAYFIELD - Curtis cover
3.71 | 8 ratings | 2 reviews
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Album · 1970

Filed under RnB
By CURTIS MAYFIELD

Tracklist

A1 (Don't Worry) If There's A Hell Below We're All Going To Go 7:46
A2 The Other Side Of Town 4:00
A3 The Makings Of You 3:40
A4 We The People Who Are Darker Than Blue 6:10
B1 Move On Up 8:50
B2 Miss Black America 2:55
B3 Wild And Free 3:12
B4 Give It Up 3:45

CD bonuses:
9. Power to the People (Demo) (2:47)
10. Underground (Demo) (3:11)
11. Ghetto Child (Demo) (5:10)
12. Readings in Astrology (Demo) (3:31)
13. Suffer (Demo) (2:31)
14. Miss Black America (Demo) (2:22)
15. The Makings of You (Backing Tracks, Take 32) (4:35)
16. (Don't Worry) If There's a Hell Below We're All Going to Go (Backing Tracks, Takes 1 & 2) (9:34)
17. (Don't Worry) If There's a Hell Below We're All Going to Go (Edited Single version) (3:25)

Total Time: 77:51

Line-up/Musicians

No individual accreditation in liner-notes

Musicians - Leonard Druss, John Howell, Harold Lepp, Loren Binford, Clifford Davis, Patrick Ferreri, Richard Single, Rudolph Stauber, Donald Simmons, Robert Lewis, Harold Dessent, Ronald Kolber, Harold Klatz, John Ross, Sol Bobrob, Sam Heiman, Elliot Golub, Henry Gibson, Robert Sims, Gary Slabo, Philip Upchurch

About this release

Curtom ‎– CRS 8005 (US)

Vocal overdubbing: Record Plant, New York

Thanks to dreadpirateroberts, snobb for the updates

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CURTIS MAYFIELD CURTIS reviews

Specialists/collaborators reviews

dreadpirateroberts
Curtis' first solo album is a must and a perfect introduction to his 70s-era sound.

And what a way to start an album. On '(Don't Worry) If There's a Hell Below We're All Going to Go', a near 8 minute funk workout with his trademark falsetto climbing over horns, strings and a fuzzy bass line, we have Curtis calling for attention:

Sisters! Niggers! Whities! Jews! Crackers! Don't Worry. If there's hell below, We're all gonna go!

It's part of his trademark 'tell it how it is' approach to lyrics, and it's well-suited to this strident song. While 'Curtis' has an obvious focus on social-conscience songs (also seen on 'The Other Side of Town' and 'We People Who Are Darker than Blue') there is lyrical variety. On 'The Makings of You' and 'Give it Up' he's more concerned with relationships, while the classic 'Move on Up' is a much more positive song, one that never fails to lift my mood. It's the key piece on the record. Aside from being a great song, it has a wonderful four minute plus outro, where the groove is locked in and the strings, horns and guitar and percussion are layered over the rhythm tracks to great effect. It also includes a short but enjoyable sax solo, which is a welcome addition to the album.

While the songwriting slips somewhat on a couple of songs ( 'Wild and Free' and 'Miss Black America') and I personally find the ballad 'The Makings of You' a little treacly, there is another stand out track that deserves mention. 'We People Who Are Darker Than Blue' is a multipart song that begins quite gently, with longer brass notes and strings, almost legato, before everything breaks into an extended percussive bridge with some subtle wah from Curtis' guitar. Things change again when a flourish of harp brings the song back to its opening, with Mayfield telling us that 'tomorrow can be an even brighter day.'

If you are already a fan of Curtis Mayfield and don't have this, go and get it. If you like funk and soul then once again, this is an album for you. For me, this is a five star album, but I've rated it four - 'excellent addition to any jazz collection' because as a Jazz-related RNB album, it might not necessarily qualify as a 'masterpiece' in the other Jazz genres.

Members reviews

Warthur
Curtis Mayfield's debut album sets you up for a dark and troubling journey through the racial minefield of American society with its terrifying opening track, (Don't Worry) If There's A Hell Below We're All Going to Go, but the following tracks tend towards syrupy string section-heavy soul numbers, interesting mainly because of Mayfield's incredible voice and his knack for getting right to the heart of an issue with his lyrics. On the whole, if you came to his music via Superfly you might find it a little tame aside from the opener, though in its own way the album achieves an interesting effect with its juxtaposition of beautiful and mildly melancholic orchestrations on the one hand and socially conscious and mildly angry lyrics on the other.

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