A massive package of greatness – the first four solo albums from Chicago soul
genius Curtis Mayfield! First up is Curtis – a record that not only foregrounds all the subtle politics he'd been forging in the Impressions during the 60s – but one that also really has Mayfield exploding as a force to be reckoned with in the studio! The album's a personal masterpiece – to the career of Curtis what
the early solo albums of Issac Hayes were to his own genius – a bold, unfettered statement of pride and power – of the sort that would both make Mayfield and the Curtom Records label forces to be reckoned with in the 70s. Every cut is a classic – and titles include "Move On Up", "If There's a Hell Below We're All Gonna Go", "Miss Black America", "Wild & Free", "Give It Up", "The Makings Of You", "The Other Side Of Town", and "We the People Who Are Darker Than Blue". Roots is one of our favorite Curtis Mayfield albums ever – a massive early 70s effort that's filled with wonderful songs all the way through, and quite possibly one of the most perfect realization of the righteous vibe of the early 70s Curtom years! Curtis is in fine form throughout – as a singer, composer, and producer – but he's also got some excellent Chicago soul
help from arrangers Riley Hampton and Johnny Pate – both key talents on the 60s Windy City scene, still able to come up with a deeply soul
ful groove here – and both able to blend together strings and funk in the way that Curtis was going for at the time. Titles include the massive "We Got to Have Peace" – a tune that never gets old – plus "Underground", "Keep On Keepin On", "Now You're Gone", "Get Down", "Love To Keep You In Mind", and "Beautiful Brother of Mine". Back To The World is pure genius from Curtis Mayfield – and a record that's got all the righteousness and political power you might guess from the cover! The album burns with a sense of empowerment that's every bit the best strength of Curtom in the 70s – a sublime blend of heavy soul
, funky undercurrents, and far-reaching arrangements that still always manage to groove! And Curtis' vocals are great too – echoing out with a newfound presence that far surpasses the raspy quality of his early work with The Impressions. Arrangements are by Rich Tufo, production is by Mayfield, and titles include "Future Song" (aka "Future Shock"), "Keep on Trippin", "Can't Say Nothin", "Back To The The World", and "Right On For The Darkness". Sweet Exorcist is a wonderfully wicked album from Curtis Mayfield – one that's not nearly as famous as his Superfly set, but which is every bit as great! The groove here is lean, mean, and totally righteous – a bit more stripped-down than some of the rumbling funk of other Curtom efforts, and served up with a fluid groove that makes the album a killer from start to finish! As with Superfly, there's a nice blend here between uptight funky tracks and some more laidback soul
– showcasing both sides of the Curtis Mayfield sound of the 70s – the brash society-changing soul
, and the mellower, more fragile voice that first came to prominence in The Impressions. Titles alone tell you the vibe of the record – and they include "Ain't Got Time", "To Be Invisible", "Kung Fu", "Suffer", "Power to the People", and "Make Me Believe In You". All albums newly remastered – in sleeves with the original artwork too!