Happy Belated Birthday, Curtis Mayfield

4 Jun

I’m so glad my parents had this album when we were growing up, because  I’ve inherited it, and can play it any time I want to.  Except that I don’t have a record player, so that does pose a problem now, doesn’t it?

At the time the album, Superfly, came out in 1972, I was ten years old.  But my memories of the movie, the funky style of dress at the time that appeared on-screen, and on the streets of my hometown (Waterbury, CT), and Curtis’s falsetto voice ringing out over the soulful soundtrack, seem to be from my more mature, high school years.

Back then, being younger, and into dancing, I responded mostly to the cool sounds, but now when I read up on Curtis, I’m reminded of his great social activism, and his fight to bring awareness to black pride, the black struggle, poverty, and the effect of drugs on the black community.  I hadn’t known that Curtis had his own record company, Curtom, that produced records for other black artists (as well as put out his own albums) in order to protect them from the exploitation that often happened at other labels.  He was an entrepreneur, and a very prolific song-writer and producer.

It’s unfortunate that Curtis became paralyzed after lighting fell on him on stage at an outdoor concert in Brooklyn in 1990, which, afterward, caused a rapid decline in his health.    In 1999, Curtis was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and despite his failing health, still continued to write, record and produce music up until his death in 2001.

2 Responses to “Happy Belated Birthday, Curtis Mayfield”

  1. Steve June 4, 2012 at 7:09 am #

    I remember this album as well as the movie (the guy who directed the movie also directed Shaft which also had a great soundtrack written by Isaac Hayes aka Chef from South Park but yet I digress). It is somewhat ironic that the things Curtis fought for (pride, struggle, poverty, and the effect of drugs on the community) sound like the very issues communities across America are dealing with today regardless of color.

    P.S. I still have a turntable and can re-record your albums into .mp3 format (assuming you don’t have too many – it is easy but time consuming) – they come out pretty good as long as there are not a lot of scratches. If you ask your kids, I am sure they can show you other ways of getting your music off the net but I was never quite comfortable with that.

    • Wendy Jane June 4, 2012 at 11:04 pm #

      Hey Steve, thanks! But I am determined to get my own turntable one of these days. I want to play the vinyl!

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: