ARTIST: Curtis Mayfield
YEAR RELEASED: 1971
CHART ACTION: #21, #3 R&B
SINGLES: Mighty Mighty (Spade and Whitey)
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: We’re a Winner, We’ve Only Just Begun, People Get Ready, Gypsy Woman, (Don’t Worry) If There’s a Hell Below We’re All Going to Go
LINEUP: Curtis Mayfield, Craig McMullen, Joseph Scott, Tyron McCullen, Henry Gibson
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Live album from one of the premier soul artists of the early 70’s is a good representation of Mayfield’s vocal skills and personality.
SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: While it may seem odd to release a live album after just one solo album, this live album doesn’t seem superfluous. Filled with long (even longer!) versions of songs from his debut solo album, a few cuts from the Impressions and a surprise cover, it’s a great document of Curtis Mayfield’s early 70’s prowess.
Most of the time, the vamps and raps to the audience are exiled. Here, though, they’re vital as they explain where he’s coming from and what each song means personally and politically. Mayfield is a pleasant showman, yet he’s not afraid to allow his band to get down with the funk.
This captures the time and place in soul music perfectly. Mayfield was a great creative force in this time; it’s great to have it documented.
NOTES & MINUTIAE: Five songs are from the Impressions, three from his solo album, one cover, and three brand new Mayfield songs that didn’t appear on a studio album.
IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Yes, a live version of “Superfly” recorded with a different band at a later time, and the single cut for the single (naturally).
GRADE: A-: Curtis Mayfield, live. I wish I could have seen him.