This is an mp3 blog attempting to document the gross amount of music I listen to. About once a day, I'll post something I like. If you're a copyright holder on anything I host, get in touch, and we'll settle things in a steel cage instead of a courtroom.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Have some coke, have some weed, I'm your Curtis Mayfield

Oh lord, so much going on. Work is kicking my ass, but that's to be expected right now. Guvmint contract ebbs and flows, as does life.

Andrea and I drove down to Richmond last week to see the spectacle that was the Lawrence Arms/American Steel (whose new record Destroy Their Future KILLS and you should all go buy it right now)/Falcon/Sundowner show. I had a blast and I got to touch Brendan Kelly, so my life is complete.

So anyway, recently I was on a huge Ted Leo kick, and thanks to eBay, I was able to track down some of his pre-Pharmacist work, including stuff he did with Chisel and Animal Crackers. While researching the man, I read some old interviews and found out his favorite singer is Curtis Mayfield. I like Curtis Mayfield. I don't know anyone who hasn't at least heard side one of Superfly. I just never explored the guy's stuff.

Well, $7 and copies of the best of the Impressions and his self-titled debut album later, I wonder why I overlooked the man. Saying the dude knows how to kick out the jams is an understatement. Hell, he makes bongos sound rad instead of the province of white Dave Matthews disciples, which is a fuck of an accomplishment.

Hell, I might even go as far as to call the Impressions the most important black group of the 60's. Writing most of their own songs and featuring songs of the heart bumping up against songs of rebellion, they were definitely revolutionary, at least in the music evolution sense. If you have the spare cash, I can't recommend checking out their complete discography enough.

'Course, you know his name because he did the solo things, releasing four classic albums in a row, the last of which is the justifiably legendary soundtrack to the movie Superfly, a work so staggeringly good that it even surpasses James Brown's landmark soundtrack for Black Caesar. Unfortunately, it was the absolute success of the soundtrack that in a way contributed to Mayfield's downfall. While he had some good records released since Superfly came out, none ever really came close to his initial run.

I will say this about him - he was one of the realest motherfuckers ever. A lighting rig fell on him in 1990, paralyzing him from the neck down, but that didn't stop him. Even though he couldn't play guitar or piano anymore, he still managed to keep writing music and kept putting out albums. He would have to sing songs one line at a time, but he kept at it until right before he died. That, children, is a musician's soul.

He died in 1999, but he left a huge fucking legacy behind him. It seems like every time I listen to a song of Mayfield's that I haven't heard before, I usually end up thinking "hey, I heard that in a rap song before!" He's one of the most sampled artists of all time, and for good reason. Ownership of Curtis, Roots, Superfly, and The Best of the Impressions is mandatory, or you're out of the cool kids' club.

Move on Up:


Little Child Running Wild:


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