LATE NIGHT DREAM Presents A Tribute To Curtis Mayfield (Performer & Producer)320kbit/s

    LATE NIGHT DREAM Presents A Tribute To Curtis Mayfield (Performer & Producer) by LATENIGHT DREAM FACTORY
  • Add a comment

It's impossible to talk about Curtis Mayfield's career and life without first retracing his adventure with The Impressions. The success of this vocal quintet, of which Curtis was always the undisputed leader and regular composer, helped him considerably to gain momentum in overcoming the barriers he encountered in his solo career. Listening to the work of the Impressions, one gets a glimpse of all the major elements that made Curtis Mayfield's music the classical gem it has become: a unique compositional spirit, a great sense of harmony, especially in his breathtaking arrangements of chorus and brass, and above all an undeniable creativity on the guitar. The latter will be considered as her second means of expression. Apart from these aspects, the music of the Impressions, between Soul, Doo-Woop and serenade, was the cradle of the extreme sensuality of Curtis's voice which, even when these lyrics regularly took on a social character (starting, roughly speaking, with the title "People get ready" in 1965), never ceased to be hypnotic and haunting. A music that is intrinsically and profoundly spiritual.

And for good reason: the story begins in 1952 when 10-year-old Curtis, under the influence of his grandmother and mother, began singing in several gospel choirs, such as the Northern Jubilee Singers. It was in the latter that he met the future lead-singer of The Impressions, Jerry Buttler. Very quickly he began to learn piano, drums, but especially guitar. In 1958, Curtis was only 15 years old when Jerry convinced him to start a harmonic vocal quintet with three other boys: Richard and Arthur Brooks and Sam Gooden. First choosing the name The Rootsers, they quickly became The Impressions.

After a relative success with their song "For your precious, love", Jerry Butler leaves the band to play solo. Curtis, who had no crush and was eager for cash, composed and arranged a few songs for Jerry and went on tour with him on guitar, pocketing $1,000 in the process, which he immediately reinvested in studio recording sessions for his band. In the meantime Fred Cash has replaced Jerry Butler. The session paid with this money was decisive: thanks to the recordings produced, they left in July 1961 for New York to sign with ABC records, a label on which, until 1968, the band would accumulate success with 136 songs recorded, about thirty of them reaching the best places in the R&B and pop charts of the time. In 1962, when Curtis wanted to relocate the band to Chicago, the Brooks brothers decided to stay in New York and set up their own version of The Impressions, but quickly abandoned the idea after the flop of their first and only 45t. The two other members, Fred Cash and Sam Gooden, soon join Curtis in Chicago.

Sessions, albums and hits followed, but Curtis soon began to feel cramped in his "Impressions" outfit. Indeed, although he would sometimes give up his lead-singer position to one of his colleagues, he would most of the time be the singer. He also writes lyrics and music, plays guitar, and even produces and directs the band's recording sessions. Thus, armed with a solid entrepreneurial spirit and a confirmed knowledge of the milieu, he set up his own label in 1966 (extremely rare for an Afro-American at the time), Windy C, on which he produced the group the Five Stairsteps and the singer June Conquest. Two years later, with the help of his manager at the time, Eddie Thomas, he founded Curtom Records, which, distributed by Buddah records, included Les Impressions as well as artists such as Leroy Hutson and the Natural Four. But these new responsibilities only encouraged him to satisfy his desire for independence and to fulfil his vision. So in 1970 he took the plunge and left the Impressions.

Turning the page after fourteen years of shared history is not easy. These former colleagues, the bad tongues but also his fans, are waiting for him at the turn. Yet it was with disconcerting naturalness that Curtis negotiated this delicate turning point and in 1970 gave life to the album which, to this day, is still considered one of the major pillars of his work, the eponymous Curtis. Throughout the album, Curtis asserts the sound that will become his trademark, his identity: bass, drums and Latin-inspired percussion form the backbone of the album. The sumptuous brass and string arrangements form the counterpoint to a song that oscillates between preaching and whispered serenade. But, in addition to the sound, Curtis also asserts his style: the love of God from his childhood had gradually given way to that of women, the subject of the Impressions' predilection. It is now the love of the people, his own ("We the people who are darker than blue") as well as that of others ("Don't worry if there's a hell bellow we're all gonna go"), that will now be at the centre of his concerns. For it is here that lies all the nuance between Curtis's funk and that of James Brown, for example: the horns shine just as brightly, the basses are no less throbbing, but where James gets razor-sharp when he wants to cut into the listener's soul, Curtis insinuates himself with a vocal sensuality that nothing can resist. One must then look at the text, with its sometimes realistic and sometimes cynical narration, to understand that this music, which shines brightly when it narrates love, burns about as much when it awakens consciences.

The 1971 live album, released barely 8 months after the Curtis album entered the Charts (which he didn't leave for 49 weeks), transformed the trial. Recorded in New York in January 71, Curtis covered three tracks from his first album, as well as five classics from Les Impressions, a cover of The Carpenters and three new songs. Also in 1971, Curtis's successor, Roots, was released. Curtis's lyrics, which were more varied musically and socio-politically inspired by the new album, were just as varied as ever. In spite of all these qualities, some tracks are not as good as others and Roots is not necessarily the album that posterity will remember. And for good reason, the following year Curtis Mayfield delivered his greatest commercial and artistic success: the soundtrack to the film Superfly. The scenario of the film - a drug dealer on the eve of retirement decides to try one last shot - is no more interesting than that of any other Blaxpoitation film. The musical treatment is only better: using the story as a starting point, Curtis Mayfield manages to give his texts an unusual depth in this kind of exercise: he delivers a message of unity and tolerance, even managing to prevent drug addiction while keeping an undeniably "street", sweaty, totally cinematic musical and textual imagery. The wah-wah guitars, the Latin percussions and the incredible complementarity created between the bass lines and the brass do the rest and inscribe tracks like "Pusherman", "Freddie's Dead" or "Superfly" in the firmament of the absolute classics of Black Music.

Throughout the 70's Curtis releases numerous solo albums (Sweet exorcist in 1974, There's no place like America today in 1975 etc.), reaffirms his interest in cinema (Claudine's soundtrack in collaboration with Gladys Night & the Pips, then that of Short Eyes) and even gradually gets into the disco he inspired. Despite everything, the public's interest in him declines little by little, and his productions stand out less and less from the crowd. He was rediscovered in the 1980's by rappers who happily sampled him, and sometimes he returned to success, notably in 1981 with his album Love is the place, in 1992 with his collaboration on the Return of Superfly project and especially in 1996 with the album New world order. Indeed, at the time, it was the album that no one was waiting for: since the accident he suffered on August 14, 1990 (the fall of an electric car chase on his back in the middle of a concert left him paralysed from the spine), a respectful pessimism surrounds Curtis Mayfield. The tributes, as often in such circumstances, follow one another, and for good reason: two Grammy Awards of esteem in 1994 and 1995, and a few albums of tributes later, Curtis Mayfield died on December 26, 1999 of medical complications, at the age of 57.

Throughout his career, his music has inspired his contemporaries: from Bob Marley in the 1960s to rapper Kanye West and his very recent sample of "Move on up": we won't stop hearing Curtis Mayfield's genius on the world's airwaves anytime soon!

01.Keni Burke - Never Stop Loving Me
02.Don Covay & Angela Strehli - Um, Um, Um, Um, Um, Um
03.Phil Collins - I've Been Trying
04.Vernon Reid - Listen Now! We People Who Are Darker Than Blue
05.The Isley Brothers – I'm So Proud
06.Lee Everton - I Got to Keep on Moving
07.Jerry Butler - Choice Of Colours
08.Whitney Houston - Look Into Your Heart
09.Stevie Wonder - I'm The One Who Loves You
10.Gladys Knight - Choice Of Colors
11.Angela Strehli – Got A Right To Cry
12.Eric Clapton - You Must Believe Me
13.Melba Moore - Ain't No Love Lost
14.Patti Jo - Make Me Believe In You
15.Bruce Springsteen - Gypsy Woman
16.Huey Lewis & The News - It`s All Right
17.The Cecil Holmes Soulful Sounds - Superfly
18.Narada Michael Walden – (Don't Worry) If There's A Hell Below, We're All Going To Go
19.Linda Clifford - You Are, You Are
20.Bill, Ben & Baggio - Pusherman
21.Delbert McClinton - He Will Break Your Heart
22.B.B. King - Woman's Got Soul
23.Tevin Campbell - Keep On Pushin'
24.Aretha Franklin - The Makings Of You
25.Sue Barker - Love To The People
26.Lenny Kravitz - Billy Jack
27.The Dynamics - Move On Up
28.David Sanborn - People Get Ready
29.Branford Marsalis & The Impressions - Fool For You
30.The Staple Singers - Let's Do It Again


Translate this for me

    0:30   Keni Burke - Never Stop Loving Me
    5:30   Angela Strehli - Um, Um, Um, Um, Um, Um
    8:00   Phil Collins - I've Been Trying (2015 Remaster)
    13:00   Various Artists - We People Who Are Darker Than Blue
    19:00   The Isley Brothers - I'm so Proud
    23:30   Lee Everton - I Got To Keep On Moving
    27:00   Various Artists - Choice Of Colours
    30:30   Whitney Houston - Look into Your Heart
    34:30   Stevie Wonder - I'm the One Who Loves You
    38:30   Gladys Knight - Choice Of Colors
    42:00   Various Artists - Got A Right To Cry
    45:00   Eric Clapton - You Must Believe Me
    49:30   Melba Moore - Ain't No Love Lost
    53:00   Patti Jo - Make Me Believe In You
    56:00   Bruce Springsteen - Gypsy Woman
    59:30   Various Artists - It's Alright
    1:05:00   Narada Michael Walden - (Don't Worry) If There's a Hell Below, We're All Going to Go
    1:10:30   Linda Clifford - You Are, You Are
    1:15:30   Bill - Pusherman
    1:18:00   Delbert McClinton - He Will Break Your Heart
    1:22:00   B.B. King - Woman's Got Soul
    1:26:00   Tevin Campbell - Keep on Pushin'
    1:29:00   Curtis Mayfield - The Makings of You
    1:33:30   Sue Barker - Love to the People
    1:38:00   Lenny Kravitz - Billy Jack
    1:44:00   The Dynamics - Move On Up
    1:50:00   David Sandborn & Jonathan Sandborn - People Get Ready
    1:54:00   The Impressions - Fool for You
    1:57:30   The Staple Singers - Let's Do it Again

    Soul, funk, RnB, Pop, Blues, Singer-Songwriter, Tribute, cover, 70's, 80's, 90's, 2020
    Full Link
    Short Link (Twitter)
    Download Video Preview for sharing