Few if any artists were able to take the events of the day, put it to music & touch the deepest part of your being like Curtis. This was the "State of the Union" address for that time period & in many ways this current one as well. Mayfield was always very socially conscious in his lyrical content but this album really seems to dig deep into the soul and express the fears, gloom, disillusion of people in that time period. It's an ablum of many moods and reflects true human emotion from love to loss to joy and pain, a very dualistic approach indeed.
You find also perhaps his best guitar work on this ablum and the funkiest, hardest and nastiest music compositions as well. No song shows this more than the first track "Billy Jack", hard core funk with lyrics that are unashamed in their revealing of how harsh life truly can be. Curtis also displays his more mellow side with the next 2 tracks "When Seasons Change" and "So In Love". This is an album that challenges it's listener to go inward and reflect on beliefs held while at the same time encouraging the opportunity for possible change.
The poet once again takes us on a ride thru society and how it was affecting peoples lives day to day were they were at. This is one of my personal favorites by Mayfield & although many claim it's dark and sullen, I found it refreshing, raw and honest. This record was released in 1975, a year which so some of the most wonderful music ever to be released, but few were addressing the still prevelant injustices still affecting many people. The nation was just coming out of Vietnam and the fallout from the Watergate scandal and it was also right in the middle of the Black Power Movement which was the next phase of what was the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960's.
This is a very reflective album that reveals what a person living in that day might have felt and the raw emotion they may have been dealing with. And it gives the listener a very in depth level of understanding as to what was going on inside of Curtis himself as he looked at the world of his day and saw very real issues that were having very real consequences. Just listen to his heartfelt cry in "Jesus", I think he truly lets his listener into his psyche on this ablum maybe more than any other and revealed that behind his warm and friendly smile, their was a man who was deeply disturbed about the course of the country he found himself in.
I've loved Curtis' music since he co-founded The Impressions who were my favorite group of the 1960's. His is a career few if any have matched. To be in an incredible group, then have an outstanding solo career as both a performer, producer and executive is a very rare thing indeed. This is album may have been more sullen than others released that year but it's no less important and it's songs and message stood up to anything else have a relevance for all even to this day.
I had been looking everywhere for this CD...My son told me to check with Amazon.com (he said they have everything)...Sure enough I got the CD and love it...Curtis was ahead of his time as reflected in his music. The message in this album reflects the hard times in our lives today. We will always remember Curtis and his tremendous contribution to music.
Being new the works of Curtis Mayfield, I must say that this album really surprised me. Strong musical content with thought provoking lyrics, this album really brought me back to the sounds of 70's soul, while still feeling fresh and topical. Great listen without being boring.