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REQUIRED LISTENING: a musician's personal notes about favorite artists.

People get ready - The Curtis Mayfield story.
Curtis Mayfield is an immortal giant within the history of soul music. From his beginnings with the Impressions, all the way through to his solo work (rich in social commentary and passion) Curtis was always able to get to the heart of the matter and bring it home to you. His falsetto is pretty much unmatched for emotional impact, while his vocal arrangements and guitar playing ran the gamut of the inner city to the sub continental. Early Impression's classics, such as "It's All Right," "Keep On Pushing,"and "Choice Of Colors" paved the way for what was to come later during his solo period. "Move On Up" is one of the most brilliant melodies I've ever heard -- ending in an instrumental rave that never gets old. "We People Who Are Darker Than Blue" is dynamically stirring and contains a message so strong that it reverberates with the same power 35 years later. These gems sit side-by-side within the deep soul of "The Making Of You," "So In Love" and "Sweet Exorcist" ...which just show us another side of this man's incredible talent. Did I also mention the funk of "Pusher Man," "Freddie's Dead" and "Super Fly"??? It is a cruel irony that being on stage was his downfall: stage lighting fell on Curtis at a gig, he was crippled and later died of complications from the accident. Still, Curtis Mayfield gave us a great gift in the music he left behind.

posted: July 2005.


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