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Back to the World Import

4.7 out of 5 stars 23 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Back To The World is a powerful concept album dealing with America's social issues, the aftermath of the Vietnam War, the environment (years before it became fashionable), as well as Curtis' optimism for the future. 7 total tracks. Charly. 2005.
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (August 29, 2006)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Import
  • Label: Imports
  • ASIN: B000B9WDIW
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #75,251 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Amazon's Curtis Mayfield Store

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Eddie Landsberg VINE VOICE on May 16, 2006
Format: Audio CD
This has always been one of my favorite Curtis Mayfield albums, even though I don't think its his most popular (and it often goes out of print.) The reason is because its just so darn tight and funky - - yet political (in that distinct Curtis Mayfield) way too. The tracks are so tight, its incredible... and not only is it heavy funk - - but its a distinct type of funk that only Curtis was playing (and that's hard to describe for the uninitiated.) - - I don't know how to describe it... 100% Curtis = 94% JB, 6% Bob Marley ??? Really, you have to listen...

Overall, this is a great album because on one hand the instrumental tracks are kicking -- even if you're not dancing, you can't help but move, however, if you listen to it just for the lyrics, you can follow Mayfield's lyrics from begining to end... in part because he had a unique style of lyric writing too that made him more of a political poet or even a pre-hip hop rapper more than a simple soul wailer or crooner (as was common in that era.) Throughout the album Mayfield's status as a visionary and artist becomes clearer and clearer as he paints pictures and makes you think and wonder. Consider the opening track BACK IN THE WORLD, with its pumping bass and drums, lush violins, wa wa guitars, and funky horns about a Vietname Vet who dreams of coming back to the U.S. but finds life quite a bit different than what he was expecting... Mayfield pleads his case passionately and emotionally by putting you in his mind, yet the tune is also so damn funky you don't know how to respond. The music makes you want to dance... but the message makes you both sad and angry at the same time. And at the same time he also has that unique style of rhythm guitar as well !

Overall this is an intense album.
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Format: Audio CD
I played this album on the air at Utapao Royal Thai Naval Air Force Base in 1973 and 1974 over the American Forces Radio and Television station. Most of us knew this album because it was about a Vietnam Vet coming back to the States. Curtis Mayfield was a great musician and a wonderful human being. He is missed.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This one's my favorite Curtis Mayfield release after Superfly.It was originally released in 1973 and was required listening during my days in the US Army. Oh what great memories! Highly recommended!!
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Curtis Mayfield's lyrics and Richard Tufo's arrangement of the title cut paint a vivid, frank, gut wrenching picture of life for returning G.I.'s from the Vietnam War. If music videos were around back in 1973, the video for this song would probably resemble the album cover. The horns, strings, rhythm section, and special sound effects (beginning and ending) evoke movement. The final song "Keep On Trippin'" also stands out from the rest of the songs. Different from the others in presenting a softer sound from Curtis Mayfield. It is an unusual gem. The other songs should also satisfy Curtis Mayfield fans. Maybe not one of his best recordings, but certainly a good one.
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Format: Audio CD
This record has my alltime favorite curtis tune, and I love a whole lot of curtis tunes to death. When he says "it's the educated people...making up the rules, holding back the schools" I couldn't agree more. But much like his debut, Curtis, the hypnotic and apocolyptic ("hell below" on that one) is balanced by more upbeat stuff. Maybe the best Curtis cover art, too.
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I really loved this album and have always thought it was a great follow up to his masterpiece Superfly. He really shows off his incredible musical compositions on this album with some of the most breathtaking instrumentals i've ever heard. Curtis was the complete package, great songwriter, singer, arranager and producer. This album is a kind of a "concept" album of sorts. It still has powerful and timely lyrical content mainly dealing with life in the U.S. after the vietnam war which had just ended as the last troops were finally on their way back home.

The title track and 1st song on the album is told from the viewpoint of a soldier whose made it back home only to be told that A) The war had not been won and B) Nothing really had changed for the better since he'd left and in many ways was now worse. It's a very descriptive and chilling realization that now the soldier was in the midst of a another war for freedom of thought and expression "Back In The World". The second track, "Future Shock" is just as moving and powerful.

It details the actual war the soldier and his family are experiencing right here at "home" "Back In The World" that is the U.S. and paints the very real picture of how their was a just as much a struggle for survival here as in Vietnam. Then comes the Crown Jewel of this album, "Right On For The Darkness", which is such a beautiful example of a play on words. He tells of the blindness of the people and all the injustices going on all around and salutes the ignorance with a "Right On For The Darkness" almost as if to say, you're blind and asleep so continue on in your delusions.

It's at this point, after detailing all the "wrongs" of society, that the poet begins to tell us how to deal with the issues of the day.
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