Archive for Curtis Mayfield

Sampler Daze: The WB/Reprise Loss Leaders, Part 8

Posted in Lost Classics! with tags , , , , , , , , , , on September 20, 2009 by 30daysout

theforce allmeat

There was no denying that, by 1975, popular music was undergoing another change.  The advances of the late 1960s had sunk in, and rock had already gotten over the Beatles by introducing bands like Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple and Foghat.  The second wave of hard rockers were honing their chops in 1975, and names like Aerosmith, Boston and Van Halen were waiting in the wings.

But the pop charts were showing a different shade: black.  Black artists had always been a part of pop music, of course: names like Stevie Wonder, Smokey Robinson and Diana Ross regularly appeared on the Top 40, as did Aretha Franklin, Marvin Gaye and the Staple Singers.  By 1975, soul music and R&B had been influenced by psychedelic guitar music, and the new music born from that was called funk.

Curtis Mayfield

One of the big artists of the early Seventies was Curtis Mayfield, who soldiered through the 1960s as the mastermind behind the Impressions and their groundbreaking hits like “People Get Ready,” “Keep On Pushing” and “We’re A Winner.”  Mayfield left the group in 1970 and as a solo artist he helped put black music on the top 40 with his classic soundtrack to the blaxploitation movie Superfly.   In 1975 Mayfield took his own label, Curtom, to Warner Bros., and he anchored the first sampler from that year, All Meat.  In 1990 Mayfield would be seriously injured by falling stage lighting, and he was paralyzed from the neck down.  After nearly a decade in this condition, Mayfield died in 1999.

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Review – “Soul” – Seal

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on November 12, 2008 by 30daysout


Seal has taken the “cover” road many artists seem to take when they run out of original material. On his latest disc, Soul, he’s recorded some classic R & B songs with mixed results.

Seal has one of the great voices in modern soul music and he more than does justice to the Sam Cooke tune “A Change is Gonna Come,” the Curtis Mayfield classic “People Get Ready,” Anne Peebles’ “I Can’t Stand the Rain,” and the beautiful Harold Melvin and the Bluenotes song “If You Don’t Know Me By Now.”

Where he falls flat and sounds uninspired is on tunes like “Stand By Me,” “Knock on Wood,” “Here I Am (Come and Take Me),” a song that was ruined long ago by UB40, “It’s Alright,” which can’t compare to the Huey Lewis cover of the Mayfield tune, and James Brown’s “It’s A Man’s Man’s Man’s World,” which probably shouldn’t be covered by anyone. I’ve always thought if you want to hear a James Brown song, listen to James Brown because no one will do it better.

Seal has always had interesting arrangements for his songs, but on many of these tunes he doesn’t stray too far away from the original. While this formula will work for some of his fans and some fans of soul music, it doesn’t work for me.

MP3: A Change Is Gonna Come – Seal

Seal Official Website

Seal Official YouTube site

The First Step

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on November 5, 2008 by 30daysout


Congratulations, America.  Thanks to everyone who voted.  Regardless of who you voted for, you made a difference.  Change has already begun, and many people agree that’s a good thing.  There is still a lot of work to do, still many challenges in the world, and there will certainly be some rough times ahead.  Most of the problems we face are too big to be fixed by only one man or one political party.  So we have to do this together. 

Today, let’s have a little party.  Some songs (OK, one: Blowfly) not safe for work.

MP3: “The Star Spangled Banner” (live) by Marvin Gaye

MP3: “Democracy In The USA” (live) by Leonard Cohen

MP3: “People Get Ready” by the Impressions

MP3: “Funky President (People It’s Bad)” by James Brown

MP3: “The First Black President” by Blowfly 

MP3: “We’re A Winner” (live) by Curtis Mayfield

MP3: “One Nation Under A Groove” by Funkadelic

MP3: “Living In America” by James Brown

MP3: “Let’s Work Together” by Canned Heat

YouTube: Bruce Springsteen’s new “Working On A Dream”

Stickin’ It To The Man!

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on May 17, 2008 by 30daysout


You know the drill: can’t sleep, get up, start watchin’ TV.  But one night I flipped past Turner Classic Movies and they had one of those great blaxploitation movies from the 1970s.  Didn’t catch the title, but Fred Williamson was blastin’ pimps and the fuzz with a machine gun, beddin’ buck-naked babes and generally stickin’ it to The Man.  Thanks, TCM, that sure fits my definition of “classic” and I wound up getting no sleep that night!

In the early 1970s, Hollywood determined there was an eager audience for movies made about black Americans.  So they started crankin’ them out – most were cliché-filled, violent films that wildly played up the stereotypes of the day.  You had yer revenge dramas, like Coffy, where a hot, sassy mama (Pam Grier) tracks down the dealers who got her sister hooked on the big H.  And you had yer private dick dramas, like Shaft and Slaughter.  You also had anti-heroes, like Ron O’Neal’s Superfly or Fred Williamson’s Black Caesar; they were the grandaddies of today’s gangstas.  Of course each one had enough pimps, players, gunplay and get-nekkid women to keep the audiences coming back for more.

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