CURTIS MAYFIELD — Got to Find a Way (review)

CURTIS MAYFIELD — Got to Find a Way album cover Album · 1974 · RnB Buy this album from MMA partners
2/5 ·
dreadpirateroberts
Rushed out a few months after 'Sweet Exorcist' this album features all of Curtis' hallmarks, his falsetto, his strings, the funky wah-wah lead lines and rhythm section, and of course, even at a reduced capacity, his socially aware lyrics.

Musically it's not as memorable for me. While the sound is clean and clear, the vocals are mixed more fittingly, and performed well - especially his backing tracks (and that's not the same as writing memorable melodies) the songs simply don't catch hold. It's a fairly laid back album tempo-wise, and Curtis' often are, but these songs don't have enough surprises, quickly becoming repetitive (something not limited to the opener or 'So You Don't Love Me'.)

In fact, when 'Mother's Son' punches it's way into the running order halfway through, it's a shock. Suddenly the funk is back, with rhythm instruments are backed by only by clavinet as the strings get a rest. As with some of Curtis' material the song probably could have been shorter, but there are a couple of spicy solos that I wouldn't want to trade in for the sake of succinctness. And half the point of funk is getting a groove and riding it, but what I love most about Curtis in his earlier releases, is his ability to surprise me.

Once again, Mayfield draws on previous material for inspiration, expanding some of the feel from the song 'Sweet Exorcist' on the more complex 'Cannot Find a Way' which echoes some of his earliest material, funky, with horns, prominent bass and drums backed by strings that often make plaintive sweeps. It doesn't ever change gears however, and falls prey to my chief complaint with the album - that being its repetitiveness.

Collectors will want this one, but less dedicated (or obsessive, whichever you prefer) will want to stick with his first three studio albums, the 'Superfly' OST and 'Curtis/Live!' - or at least, start there.
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