Curtis Mayfield is one of those artists that sounded cool no matter what he sang, he was a master songwriter and a tremendous guitar player.
Freddie’s Dead (live, early 70s?):
Curtis Lee Mayfield (June 3, 1942 – December 26, 1999) is best known for his anthemic music with The Impressions during the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s and for composing the soundtrack to the blaxploitation film Super Fly, Mayfield is highly regarded as a pioneer of funk and of politically conscious African-American music. He was also a multi-instrumentalist who played the guitar, bass, piano, saxophone, and drums.
Curtis Mayfield’s songwriting and his distinct guitar playing have influenced a lot of artists.
Bob Dylan played Mayfield’s People Get Ready , and it is obvious he liked Curtis Mayfield’s work . The Impressions’s Keep On Pushing, the album, is on the Bringing It All Back Home cover.
Paul Weller interviewing his hero, the late Curtis Mayfield, most likely before Mayfield’s gig at Ronnie Scott’s Jazz club in the Soho area of London on 31st July 1988:
Roots is Curtis Mayfield’s second studio album, released in October 1971, we don’t know the exact date so we will do the celebration today.
Curtis Mayfield – Keep on keeping on (BBC TV, 1972):
I love Mayfield’s pleading voice and strong songwriting. In a just world this album would be as well-known as Marvin Gaye’s What’s Goin on, it is equally good. It has many similarities with What’s Goin’ on, the long songs (relatively), the far-reaching ambition both lyrically and musically, the heartbreaking and soulful ballads and the sweet voice of a soul legend at his peak.
The music is extremely bold, Curtis Mayfield creates a sound scape that is both complex and simple at the same time.
And you can dance to it!
Curtis Mayfield – Get Down (Soul Train, 1972):
“The music is even bolder than the material on the Curtis album, with Mayfield expanding his instrumental range to the level of a veritable soul orchestra; and the recording is better realized, as Mayfield, with that album and a tour behind him, shows a degree of confidence that only a handful of soul artists of this era could have mustered. “
– Bruce Eder (allmusic)