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26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Curtis' First
Curtis Mayfield was one of the first black artists to openly sing about the inequities facing his race as well as sing with Afrocentricity. He wrote songs for his group, The Impressions, such as "Choice of Colors", "We're A Winner" and "Keep On Pushin'" that provided the soundtrack for the civil rights movement. On his first solo album,...
Published on October 29, 2001 by P Magnum

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8 of 58 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars STOP MESSING WITH ART!!
The orginal version of this record is the BEST soul ablum of ALL Time. So why did they have to go and mess it all up??

Find the orginal, and write a letter to the money hungry record people telling them to stop srewing up art!
Published on August 19, 2004 by C. A. LAGRANGE


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26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Curtis' First, October 29, 2001
This review is from: Curtis (Audio CD)
Curtis Mayfield was one of the first black artists to openly sing about the inequities facing his race as well as sing with Afrocentricity. He wrote songs for his group, The Impressions, such as "Choice of Colors", "We're A Winner" and "Keep On Pushin'" that provided the soundtrack for the civil rights movement. On his first solo album, Curtis, he takes on a harder stance and his songs are most critical and scathing than the uplifting one he performed with The Impressions. The album's opener "(Don't Worry) If There's A Hell Below, We're All Gonna Go" breaks down stereotypes and lays blame for the nation's situation on everyone. The album's best track is the misty "We The People Who Are Darker Than Blue" that has a mystical vibe to it. Mr. Mayfield was never afraid of speaking his mind and his debut solo album has alot to say.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars He's A Winner!, January 22, 2005
This review is from: Curtis (Audio CD)
Of all my favorite songwriters, a group including the teams of Tosh/Marley Lennom/McCartney, Page/Plant, Jagger/Richards and Patton/Benjamin (Outkast), Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Jimi Hendrix and Ben Harper to name a few I would have to put the late, great Curtis Mayfield, Soul Brother #1 right at the top. His songs had the social conscioussness and political militance of Martin Luther King and he was a major influence two of the greatest Soul Brothas of all time, the "Bush Doctor" Peter Tosh and Brother Bob Marley who imitated his work with the Impressions as they first performed as the wailers . His music over three plus decades was just off the meat rack funky as hell, and so ahead of his time that his songs have been sampled on some of the best hip hop beats OF ALL TIME like Camp Lo's "Black Nostaljak a.k.a. Come On!", 2Pac's "r u still down", or the "BathTub" skit from Snoop's first album. You might not recognize these songs on paper but you most definitely would if you heard them. The man was a certified musical genius.

That said, this, his first solo album might just be his best which is really quite a feat considering teh two or three he released subsequently like Superfly and Roots. Not a weak track among the original or added tracks but the very best are "Move on Up", "(Don't Worry) If there's Hell Below", We People who are Darker than Blue" and "Miss Black America" among the original tracks. Of the demos "underground","suffer" and "Ghetto Child" are the best, the latter track being nearly identical to the killer opening cut "Little Child Runnin' Wild" from Superfly only without horns or strings and other production overdubs).

This album is a must have for a fan of top notch songwriting and musicianship as is his follow up solo effort Roots-1999 Live album entitled 'Curtis/Live!' both from 1971. I assume anyone with remote interest in Curtis knows Superfly is a masterwork in no need of explanation. I would also recommend buying ONE of Curtis' greatest hits packages because they have some great songs from scattered soundtracks and latter staged albums he did that were not quite as consistent as his early work but just as potent. I found one with almost 50 songs for 20 bucks!!

A substantial Curtis Mayfield library would fit well into any music listener's home because, as many of his songs emphasize, people, whether black white yellow or brown are far more alike than they are different. I don't consider myself a fan of certain genres as much as a fan of good music and anything by Curtis is definitely that. I urge you to explore and enjoy him.
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars His solo debut back in print in the U.S., September 4, 2000
By 
T. C Lane (Marina, CA USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Curtis (Audio CD)
Although this solo debut can be found for a good price as an import (backed with the lesser "Got To Find A Way" from 1974) Rhino has give it the treatment that it deserves on its own. There are 9 bonus tracks here with the best being the non-album tracks that turned up on later albums (i.e. "Underground" and "Suffer"). There are good liner notes and the sound is great. This was Curtis' best album of the 70's (along with Superfly, the songs hold up well today and it's great to have it as a budget-priced album in the States.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It's a Winner!, February 27, 2001
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This review is from: Curtis (Audio CD)
1970 was the year. While the Chi-lites were Singing(For God's sake)Give More Power To The People)Curtis Mayfield was taking it for himself and giving it back to the people. From the instant classic of "If there's a Hell Below(we're all gonna go)which puts today's rap music to shame. It was totally honest without being vulgar,Curtis made sure God and damn were individual words. He dared do what very few except Gil Scott-Heron do which is mention the Nixon by name,not inuendo. After talking about "Educated fools from uneducated schools." Curtis writes and the then president; "Nixon talking about don't worry,he say don't worry "(echo sound)but they don't know,there can be no show. If there's Hell below,we're all gonna go"(echo twice) But there is joy in this music the uplifting "Move On Up" And the thought provoking, "We The People"(who are darker than Blue)with is still timely questions:"High yellow gal, can't you tell,your just the surface of our dark deep well? and,"But there's the joker in the street. Lovin' one brother, and killing the other." Add to all that,The start of Mayfield's own record label, Curtom which lasted untill 1976. And you have a truely historic recording.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pure Poetry, October 9, 2009
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This review is from: Curtis (Audio CD)
Simply said, Curtis Mayfield is the most underrated & underappreciated artist of the 20th century period! I was looking at Rolling Stone's list of the "100 Greatest Artist of All Time" recently and it has Curtis listed at #99?! Now, that's a ridiculous placement anyway you look at it, but, if you truly examine this list and see who they've got ahead of him, it's down right criminal!!!! Now, i'm fully aware of the ridiculous bias of Rolling Stone Magazine towards the beatles, elvis, etc.., but to place this man in the 99th position out of 100 is insane!!

He was one of the truest poets to ever pick up the pen and his songs are true reflections of the man, where he & the world were at that moment & where he hoped they both we would be in the end. He struck a cord with the youth of the day and like Maurice White, Sam Cooke, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder & Bob Dylan, spoke of the injustices and bigotry of that day in a clear and concise manner that was unavoidable while offering hope through mutual love & respect. Curtis was a unique blend of singer, songwriter, composer and producer, he was also one of the few artists of his day with his own record label.

"Curtis" is his 1st solo release after having already established his Genius in The Impressions. It is one of the most moving albums i've ever heard and every bit as good as the albums of that day and shows this man was every bit the writer as the above mentioned Avatars of Music history. Curtis' solo career is in many ways similar to that of Bob Dylan's. A tremendous songwriter whose music was considered the "Authority" for a particular movement. For Dylan, it was the "Folk Protest" movement and for Mayfield the "Civil Rights" movement. It's known that Dylan's producer, for his major 1960's albums, used Mayfield as an example of how Dylan was to deliever his message on his records.

Classics such as "If there's a Hell Below, We're all Gonna Go", "The Other Side Of Town", "Making of You" "Miss Black America" & my personal favorite "We People Who Are Darker Than Blue" shows this was a man who "Dug Deep" within to bring forth such pure mastery of music composition. The lyrical content of these songs are truly stunning and the music compositions Mayfield wrote as the foundation to deliever his messages are absolutely gorgeous!

I highly recommend this album to anyone as it was one of those classics that would forever change the face of music and began a incredible decade for one of the most incredible artist, of any time period or genre, in the 20th century. He is truly deserving of FAR MORE respect than he gets from "music critics" such as those from Rolling Stone Magazine. Then again, when you've influenced artists the likes of Bob Dylan, Donny Hathaway & Bob Marley, I suppose that in and of itself is the greatest show of respect! Rest In Peace my brother Curtis, you've earned your crown!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gone, but not forgotten., July 21, 2006
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This review is from: Curtis (Audio CD)
Only nine reviews for such an important album! Curtis was a giant. For me this was his greatest accomplishment. Yet, apparently, this masterpiece flies under the radar. I won't presume to explain.

In the late 60's Curtis Mayfield was the musical conscience of black America. He pulled no punches and at the same time he took no cheap shots. He never came across as preachy yet he always passed along a message that absolutely needed to be said. Moreover, even if you weren't cognizant of the message the sheer majesty of the music shone through.

I wish that I'd had the opportunity to meet Curtis. For this 57 year old "whitey" he was a hero of immense proportions.

Curtis has no weak songs. Horns, strings and that fabulous voice! I never tire of listening to the record, and now this CD. Unlike most recordings, once this one hits the player it stays on until the end. And then I play Move on up, again.

Curtis may be gone but he'll never be forgotten.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars CLASSIC, February 10, 2010
This review is from: Curtis (Audio CD)
What, among innumerable other aspects of Curtis Mayfield, amazes is his ability to make magic of each part of music he touched.

Curtis, the album, was Mayfield's first after leaving the soul ballad master's the impressions. Here, he transforms his music.

He does not just switch to the funk, but takes his new genre to a new level. All the care and arranging he applied to his music with the Impressions in the 1960s is here. But he morphs it into a intensly orchestrated, rich funk.

Normally, the F music is about the grooves, which is absolutely applicable here. But the wha whas, bongos, everything is placed with love with the care of a master. Listen to the lush strings on "If There Is A Hell Below," or the amazing rhythmic blocks, mid-section of "We Children Who Are Darker Than Blue," or the declaritive drum boot that throttles us into "Move On Up.

I have not even touched the lyrics, which are detailed sculptures about race relations: during the era, how we dealt with race was moving from being our national shame to our national badge of courage. If Marvin asked What's Goin' On, Curtis told us in a painter;s detail

These are the touches that cut music above, and no one did it better than Master CURTIS.

On the musical table of elements.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Album, CDs are promo's not official release, June 4, 2010
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This review is from: Curtis (Audio CD)
A Classic LP with raw uninhibited lyrics that shows Curtis' abilities. If you are from this generation, and a Curtis fan, you need to listen to this one. The discs that I ordered were promos and not official releases, I confirmed this with Mofi. Both discs I received were open, with barcode lined out. Nothing wrong with the disc but for MoFi Collectors, this needs to be known.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Now this is what being alive sounds like!, September 8, 2013
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This review is from: Curtis (Audio CD)
Why this magnificent album doesn't already have hundreds of glowing 5-star reviews astonishes me, because this is the sound & energy & joyous heartbeat of LIFE itself. Not a bad song, not a wrong note -- it's all here in Curtis' passionate, uplifting voice that speaks to anyone with even a glimmer of human feeling & soul. Yes, it's certainly & achingly of its time; but it calls across years, decades, to those who struggle, to those who refuse to surrender, to those who reject hatred & embrace humanity. It's all the more powerful & positive because Curtis never glosses over the inequities & inustices that he & so many others lived through -- but he refuses to let them define & confine him. If this album doesn't move you, then you're already dead, or might as well be. It's quite simply one of THE great American albums, regardless of era -- most highly recommended!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Curtis Goes Out For The People, October 26, 2010
This review is from: Curtis (Audio CD)
At the crucial time when people of most sides of the musical spectrum could (and did) make a successful living out of giving permission for their audience not only to the world around them but also the possibility of taking positive actions to correct what needed to be corrected. Everyone in the R&B world from Marvin Gaye and Stevie Wonder at Motown to Gil Scott-Heron and Bobby Womack were coming at their music from a similar angle at the time. And it was only appropriate that during this time Curtis Mayfield,one of the few outside Sam Cooke in the late 50's/early 60's to do it all creatively and express a social conscience at the same time would go solo from the Impressions at this time and put his two cents in. Everyone during this time had a unique flavor to how they expressed themselves and Curtis didn't change that on his end. The overall sound of this album is very unique. His music from aggressive,fast paced uptempo songs such as hits "(Don't Worry) If There's A Hell Below We're All Going To Go" and "Move On Up" along with songs such as "Wild And Free" and the upbeat and melodic sounding "Miss Black America" not only have some afrocentric jazz/funk percussion and fat bass/guitar lines to them but also some of the dreamiest and fanfaring orchestrations you could find on a funky soul record of this era. Even on numbers such as the humane,slower romantic numbers "The Makings Of You" and the more darkly realistic streetside commentary of "The Other Side Of Town" offer the same effect with the orchestral end of things. Other songs such as "We The People Who Are Darker Than Blue" is a glue appropriatly coming right in the middle of the album,not only bridging the musical stylings this album presents but also crossess bridges by starting out slow and plaintive and spinning off into another percussion groove. All of this could be easily seen coming on Curtis's final few releases with the Impressions,especially the multi-partison "teaching" approch Curtis takes to delivering lyrics about everything from cultural concerns,poverty,freedom and romance. As much as the original album pulled everything together so well and is about as close to a well rounded and powerful debut as one could possibly ask for the huge amount of bonus tracks are a lot more illustrative than you might think. Demos songs such as "Power To The People","Ghetto Child","Readings In Astrology" and the slower and shorter "Suffer" not only showcase early versions of songs on the original album while still in the ether but the slinky,clean yet psychedelic basslines and guitar work for Mayfield and how crucial they are to the songs stripped from the produced and orchestral settings. The remainders are either demos of different instrumental takes of songs on the actual album,the most notable part of which is where Curtis is heard announcing a take of "Don't Worry If There's A Hell Below We're All Going To Go" and one of the musicians responds "That's a hell of a statement". And that could actually serve as my own six word review of this album if you will;from the music,lyrical focus to the strengh of the songwriting and production itself this is one of those oft referred "neglected classics" that...well may not be as neglected as we think and if so there's a good reason.
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Curtis
Curtis by Curtis Mayfield (Audio CD - 2000)
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