Curtis Mayfield ¦ Curtis

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Curtis is the debut studio album by American soul musician Curtis Mayfield, released in September 1970. Produced by Mayfield, it was released on his own label Curtom Records. The musical styles of Curtis moved further away from the pop-soul sounds of Mayfield's previous group The Impressions and featured more of a funk and psychedelic-influenced sound. The album's subject matter incorporates political and social concerns of the time.[1]

Curtis sold well at the time charting at number one on the Billboard Black albums (for five nonconsecutive weeks) and number nineteen on the Billboard Pop albums charts. Only the single "(Don't Worry) If There's a Hell Below, We're All Going to Go" charted in the United States; however, an edited version of "Move On Up" would spend 10 weeks in the top 50 of the UK Singles Chart.

In 2020, the album was ranked at number 275 on Rolling Stone's 500 greatest albums of all time list.[2]


Mayfield began work on his own self-titled album in 1970. Although he never intended to leave the Impressions permanently, he would officially leave them in 1971, under recommendation from his business manager Marv Stuart and given the trend for both R&B and rock artists to go solo.[3][4]

Recording and production

Like with some of his later Impressions work, Mayfield's lyrics reflected the social and political concern rising in black America at the time. Mayfield was one of the earliest artists to speak openly about African-American pride and community struggle.[5] Mayfield reflected upon this time as a "happening era...when people stopped wearing tuxedos...people were getting down a little more."[3]

The album had a more hard edged sound than the Impressions had before. On this new sound Mayfield claimed it was something he "long wanted to do...but were out of category of what was expected of me and the Impressions. What I got off in the Curtis album allowed me to be more personal for myself.".[3] The two singles off the album "(Don't Worry) If There's a Hell Below, We're All Going to Go" and "Move On Up" showcased Mayfield's new funk musical style, while the rest of the tracks were much softer soul based songs.[3] Not having any traditional music lessons, Mayfield claimed his backing band would occasionally comment "gosh, this is a terribly strange key to play in", but still played it accordingly as written.[4] According to Joseph L. Tirabassi of Tiny Mix Tapes, "We the People Who Are Darker Than Blue" exemplified the "gliding soul" and "hard-hitting funk" the rest of the album veered between.[6]

Critical reception

Professional ratings
Review scores
Christgau's Record GuideB+[8]
The Encyclopedia of Popular Music[9]
Rolling Stone[11]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide[12]
Tom Hull – on the WebA−[13]
The Village VoiceB[14]

In a contemporary review for Rolling Stone, John Wendell was disappointed by Curtis, finding much of Mayfield's music more rhythmic than melodic, "fragmentary, garbled and frustrating to listen to"; he called the lyrics haphazardly written and mealy-mouthed. "He tries to deal with some pretty serious and complex subjects by stringing together phrases that end with the same sound—whether they make sense together or not", Wendell critiqued. "Sure, it's all subjective, but I can't myself see that what we need is 'Respect for the steeple/power to the people.'"[15] The Village Voice critic Robert Christgau was also somewhat unmoved by the album's "essentially middle-class guides to black pride" but qualified his judgment as reflecting a certain degree of cultural relativism on his part, making note of African-American audiences having embraced the record.[14] In the British publication Blues & Soul, John Abbey described the reception of the album in the United States as being "the most exciting project since Isaac Hayes' Hot Buttered Soul" and that it was "certainly one of the most creative and personal albums that I've heard in a long time." Finding it "more progressive musically than anything that Curtis ever did with the Impressions."[16] Abbey commented that "In the States, Curtis is sometimes misunderstood and even considered by some to be a racialist. In truth, he is the complete opposite because every one of his political songs pleads and cries for togetherness as opposed to segregation."[16]

Christgau revisited Curtis in Christgau's Record Guide: Rock Albums of the Seventies (1981) and found it far less middlebrow on further listens;[8] later in Rolling Stone, he said the album is song-for-song "stronger than Superfly".[11] Bruce Eder from AllMusic said Mayfield had "embraced the most progressive soul sounds of the era" on an album that was "practically the Sgt. Pepper's album of '70s soul".[7] While regarding Mayfield's first four albums as forming a timeless, "politically conscious, progressive-soul tetralogy", PopMatters critic Charles Donovan said Curtis has "eight lengthy, politically conscious, progressive soul songs, some easy to connect with, others more challenging and requiring multiple listens", while noting its frequent presence in critics' best album lists.[17] In The Rolling Stone Album Guide (2004), Geoffrey Himes wrote that the songs remained irresistibly catchy, even though sometimes Mayfield's messages were oversimplified and the production sounded excessively "ornate".[12] Treblezine names it among the 10 essential albums of psychedelic soul.[18]


In 1972, Mayfield won the Prix Otis Redding (best R&B album) from the Académie du Jazz for Curtis.[19]


The song "We People Who Are Darker Than Blue" has been covered by the British rock band Babe Ruth on their third album Babe Ruth.

Track listing

All tracks are written by Curtis Mayfield

Side one
1."(Don't Worry) If There's a Hell Below, We're All Going to Go"7:50
2."The Other Side of Town"4:01
3."The Makings of You"3:43
4."We the People Who Are Darker Than Blue"6:05
Side two
1."Move On Up"8:45
2."Miss Black America"2:53
3."Wild and Free"3:16
4."Give It Up"3:49
Total length:40:28

All songs written and composed by Curtis Mayfield except where noted.

2000 Remaster bonus material
9."Power to the People" (demo version) 2:47
10."Underground" (demo version) 3:11
11."Ghetto Child" (demo version) 5:10
12."Readings in Astrology" (demo version) 3:31
13."Suffer" (demo version)Donny Hathaway, Mayfield2:31
14."Miss Black America" (demo version) 2:22
15."The Makings of You" (backing tracks, take 32) 4:35
16."(Don't Worry) If There's a Hell Below, We're All Going to Go" (backing tracks, takes 1 & 2) 9:34
17."(Don't Worry) If There's a Hell Below, We're All Going to Go" (radio edit) 3:26
Total length:77:53

Chart history


YearPeak chart positions
U.S. Pop albums[20]U.S. R&B albums[20]


YearTitlePeak chart positions
U.S. Pop
U.S. R&B Singles
1970"(Don't Worry) If There's a Hell Below, We're All Going to Go"293
1971"Move On Up"12


  • Musicians – Leonard Druss, John Howell, Harold Lepp, Loren Binford, Clifford Davis, Patrick Ferreri, Richard Single, Rudolph Stauber, Donald Simmons, Robert Lewis, Harold Dessent, Ronald Kolber, Harold Klatz, John Ross, Sol Bobrob, Sam Heiman, Elliot Golub, Henry Gibson, Robert Sims, Gary Slabo, Philip Upchurch

Technical personnel

  • Riley Hampton and Gary Slabo – producer, mixer
  • R.J. Anfinson and Tom Flye – recording engineer
  • Curtis Mayfield – producer

See also



  1. ^ Jones, Chris (2008). "Review of Curtis Mayfield – Curtis". BBC Music. Retrieved July 13, 2016.
  2. ^ "The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time". Rolling Stone. 2020-09-22. Retrieved 2021-08-16.
  3. ^ a b c d Pruter 1992, p.306-307
  4. ^ a b Thompson 2001, p. 158
  5. ^ Unterberger, Richie. Curtis Mayfield > Biography at AllMusic. Retrieved 22 April 2008.
  6. ^ Tirabassi, Joseph L. (October 2, 2008). "1970: Curtis Mayfield – Curtis". Tiny Mix Tapes. Retrieved July 13, 2016.
  7. ^ a b Eder, Bruce. "Curtis – Curtis Mayfield". AllMusic. Retrieved April 22, 2008.
  8. ^ a b Christgau, Robert (1981). "Consumer Guide '70s: M". Christgau's Record Guide: Rock Albums of the Seventies. Ticknor & Fields. ISBN 089919026X. Retrieved March 7, 2019 – via
  9. ^ Larkin, Colin (2006). The Encyclopedia of Popular Music. Vol. 5 (4th ed.). MUZE. p. 588. ISBN 0195313739.
  10. ^ "Curtis Mayfield: Curtis". Q. No. 373. July 2017. p. 103.
  11. ^ a b Christgau, Robert (February 3, 2000). "Curtis Mayfield 1942–2000: A Beginner's Guide". Rolling Stone. Retrieved July 13, 2016.
  12. ^ a b Himes, Geoff (2004). "Curtis Mayfield". In Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian (eds.). The New Rolling Stone Album Guide. Simon & Schuster. pp. 523–24. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8.
  13. ^ Hull, Tom (June 22, 2021). "Music Week". Tom Hull – on the Web. Retrieved June 24, 2021.
  14. ^ a b Christgau, Robert (1970). "Consumer Guide (16)". The Village Voice. New York. Retrieved April 5, 2013.
  15. ^ Wendell, John (26 November 1970). "Curtis Mayfield: Curtis". RS 71. Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on 2007-12-02.
  16. ^ a b Abbey 1970.
  17. ^ Donovan, Charles (March 6, 2019). "Chapter One of Curtis Mayfield's Solo Career Gets a Much-Needed Makeover". PopMatters. Retrieved January 31, 2021.
  18. ^ "10 Essential Psychedelic Soul Albums | Treble".
  19. ^ "Special French Award to Satchmo" (PDF). Billboard. April 8, 1972. p. 49.
  20. ^ a b Curtis Mayfield > Charts & Awards > Billboard Albums at AllMusic. Retrieved 22 June 2008.
  21. ^ a b Curtis Mayfield > Charts & Awards > Billboard Singles at AllMusic. Retrieved 22 June 2008.
  22. ^ Warwick 2004, p. 713.


External links


Veröffentlichungen von Curtis Mayfield die im OTRS erhältlich sind/waren:


Curtis Mayfield auf Wikipedia (oder andere Quellen):

Curtis Mayfield, 1972

Curtis Lee Mayfield (* 3. Juni 1942 in Chicago, Illinois; † 26. Dezember 1999 in Roswell, Georgia) war ein US-amerikanischer Soulmusiker.


Mayfield begann sein musikalisches Schaffen früh – bereits mit sieben Jahren sang er zusammen mit Jerry Butler in einem Gospel-Chor. Bald darauf trat er der Band The Alfatones bei. Das Gitarrenspiel und Songwriting brachte er sich selbst bei. 1956 schloss sich Mayfield The Roosters an. Fortan spielte, sang und schrieb er Lieder in wechselnden R&B-Bands in Chicago und New York. Aus The Roosters wurde die Band The Impressions, mit der Mayfield einige seiner bekanntesten Hits hatte, darunter For Your Precious Love, das oft als erste Soulsingle bezeichnet wird, sowie It’s All Right, I’m so Proud, Keep on Pushing, People Get Ready, We’re a Winner und Mighty, Mighty.

Ab 1970 arbeitete Mayfield als Solokünstler sowie mit zahlreichen Soullegenden wie Gladys Knight & the Pips, Aretha Franklin und The Staple Singers. Mit Superfly veröffentlichte er 1972 einen der einflussreichsten Blaxploitation-Soundtracks. 1976 spielte er im Film Short Eyes mit, für den er auch den Soundtrack schrieb und dessen Produzent er war. In der ersten Hälfte der 1970er Jahre erzielte er seine größten Charterfolge mit Liedern wie (Don't Worry) If There's a Hell Below We're All Going to Go, Move On Up, Future Shock, Kung Fu sowie Freddie's Dead und Superfly aus dem Soundtrack zum gleichnamigen Film, seine beiden einzigen Top-10-Erfolge in den USA als Solist.[1] Beide Aufnahmen erhielten darüber hinaus Gold-Auszeichnungen. Ab 1975 war Mayfield nur mehr in den US-amerikanischen R&B-Charts vertreten.

In den 1980er Jahren sanken die Verkaufszahlen seiner neu veröffentlichten Alben. Er tourte jedoch weiterhin durch die ganze Welt. Am 13. August 1990, während eines Open-Air-Auftritts im New Yorker Stadtteil Brooklyn, traf ihn eine von einem Sturm losgerissene Lichttraverse. Er war danach vom Hals abwärts gelähmt, begab sich aber zumindest für kurze Zeitabschnitte noch ins Studio oder komponierte im Krankenbett.

1995 erhielt Mayfield den Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. 1996 kam sein letztes Album, das 25. Soloalbum New World Order, heraus. Aufgrund seiner Lähmung konnte er nicht mehr Gitarre spielen, sondern nur noch singen. Im Februar 1998 musste sein rechtes Bein aufgrund einer Diabetes-Erkrankung amputiert werden. Am 15. März 1999 wurde er in die Rock and Roll Hall of Fame aufgenommen.[2] Aus gesundheitlichen Gründen konnte er an der Zeremonie nicht teilnehmen. Seine letzte Veröffentlichung war ein Gastauftritt bei der Gruppe Bran Van 3000 auf dem Song Astounded aus deren Album Discosis, das unmittelbar vor seinem Tod aufgenommen wurde und erst posthum 2001 erschien.

Curtis Mayfield starb am 26. Dezember 1999 im North Fulton Regional Hospital in Roswell, Georgia, an Diabetes. Seit seiner Lähmung hatte sich sein Gesundheitszustand kontinuierlich verschlechtert.[3] Mayfield wurde eingeäschert.

Der Rolling Stone listete Mayfield auf Rang 98 der 100 größten Musiker, auf Rang 34 der 100 größten Gitarristen, auf Rang 40 der 100 größten Sänger und auf Platz 78 der 100 größten Songwriter aller Zeiten.[4][5][6][7]



Musiklabel Katalog-Nr.
Höchstplatzierung, Gesamtwochen, AuszeichnungChartplatzierungenChartplatzierungen[8][9]
(Jahr, Titel, Musiklabel Katalog-Nr., Plat­zie­rungen, Wo­chen, Aus­zeich­nungen, Anmer­kungen)
Curtom 8005
(1 Wo.)UK

(49 Wo.)US
(43 Wo.)R&B
Erstveröffentlichung: September 1970
Produzent: Curtis Mayfield
Curtom 8009
(19 Wo.)US
(18 Wo.)R&B
Erstveröffentlichung: Oktober 1971
Produzent: Curtis Mayfield
Curtom 8014
(2 Wo.)UK

(46 Wo.)US
(36 Wo.)R&B
Erstveröffentlichung: Juli 1972
Soundtrack zum gleichnamigen Film
Produzent: Curtis Mayfield
1973Back to the World
Curtom 8015

(26 Wo.)US
(25 Wo.)R&B
Erstveröffentlichung: Mai 1973
Produzent: Curtis Mayfield
Buddah Records 5602

(34 Wo.)US
(34 Wo.)R&B
Erstveröffentlichung: April 1974
mit Gladys Knight & the Pips
Soundtrack zum gleichnamigen Film
Produzent: Curtis Mayfield
Sweet Exorcist
Curtom 8601
(22 Wo.)US
(27 Wo.)R&B
Erstveröffentlichung: Mai 1974
Produzent: Curtis Mayfield
Got to Find a Way
Curtom 8604
(7 Wo.)US
(12 Wo.)R&B
Erstveröffentlichung: November 1974
Produzent: Curtis Mayfield
1975(There’s No Place Like) America Today
Curtom 5001
(11 Wo.)US
(17 Wo.)R&B
Erstveröffentlichung: Mai 1975
Produzent: Curtis Mayfield
Let’s Do It Again
Curtom 5005
(18 Wo.)US
(23 Wo.)R&B
Erstveröffentlichung: September 1975
mit The Staple Singers
Soundtrack zum gleichnamigen Film
Produzent: Curtis Mayfield
1976Give, Get, Take and Have
Curtom 5007
(8 Wo.)US
(15 Wo.)R&B
Erstveröffentlichung: Juni 1976
Produzent: Curtis Mayfield
1977Never Say You Can’t Survive
Curtom 5013
(3 Wo.)US
(8 Wo.)R&B
Erstveröffentlichung: März 1977
Produzent: Curtis Mayfield
Short Eyes
Curtom 5017
(3 Wo.)R&B
Erstveröffentlichung: November 1977
Soundtrack zum gleichnamigen Film
Produzent: Curtis Mayfield
1978Do It All Night
Curtom 5022
(6 Wo.)R&B
Erstveröffentlichung: August 1978
Produzent: Curtis Mayfield
RSO 3053
(16 Wo.)US
(25 Wo.)R&B
Erstveröffentlichung: Juli 1979
Produzenten: Curtis Mayfield, Bunny Sigler, Norman Harris, Ronald Tyson
1980The Right Combination
RSO 3084
(4 Wo.)US
(4 Wo.)R&B
Erstveröffentlichung: Juni 1980
mit Linda Clifford
Produzenten: Curtis Mayfield, Bruce Gray, Gil Askey, Norman Harris
Something to Believe In
RSO 3077
(10 Wo.)US
(15 Wo.)R&B
Erstveröffentlichung: Juli 1980
Produzenten: Curtis Mayfield, Gil Askey
1981Love Is the Place
Boardwalk 33239
(24 Wo.)R&B
Erstveröffentlichung: September 1981
Produzenten: Dino Fekaris, Curtis Mayfield
Boardwalk 33256
(10 Wo.)R&B
Erstveröffentlichung: September 1982
Produzent: Curtis Mayfield
1988Superfly (Reissue)
Curtom 2002
(8 Wo.)R&B
Erstveröffentlichung: August 1988
Produzent: Curtis Mayfield
1990Take It to the Streets
Curtom 2008
(17 Wo.)R&B
Erstveröffentlichung: Februar 1990
Produzent: Curtis Mayfield
The Return of Superfly
Capitol 94244
(9 Wo.)R&B
Erstveröffentlichung: 13. August 1990
diverse Interpreten inkl. fünf Tracks von Curtis Mayfield
Soundtrack zum gleichnamigen Film
Produzent: Curtis Mayfield
1996New World Order
Warner 46348
(2 Wo.)UK
(18 Wo.)US
(50 Wo.)R&B
Erstveröffentlichung: 1. Oktober 1996
Produzenten: Brian Fleming, Carlos Glover, Curtis Mayfield, Narada Michael Walden

Weitere Studioalben

  • 1981: Your Precious Love (The Impressions feat. Curtis Mayfield and Jerry Butler; Reissue des Impressions-Albums von 1963; Charly Records 2023)
  • 1985: We Come in Peace with a Message of Love (Curtom 2001)
  • 2005: Mayfield: Remixed The Curtis Mayfield Collection (Rhino 79542)


  • Stambler, Irwin: The Encyclopedia of Pop, Rock and Soul. 3. überarbeitete Auflage, New York City, New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1989, ISBN 0-312-02573-4, S. 448–450.


Commons: Curtis Mayfield – Sammlung von Bildern, Videos und Audiodateien




  1. Curtis Mayfield Songs ••• Top Songs / Chart Singles Discography ••• Music VF, US & UK hits charts. Abgerufen am 8. Mai 2020.
  2. Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Curtis Mayfield in der Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
  3. Jet. Johnson Publishing Company, 17. Januar 2000, S. 55, abgerufen am 18. Januar 2011.
  4. 100 Greatest Artists of All Time. Rolling Stone, 2. Dezember 2010, abgerufen am 8. August 2017 (englisch).
  5. 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time. Rolling Stone, 18. Dezember 2015, abgerufen am 7. August 2017 (englisch).
  6. 100 Greatest Singers of All Time. Rolling Stone, 2. Dezember 2010, abgerufen am 7. August 2017 (englisch).
  7. The 100 Greatest Songwriters of All Time. Rolling Stone, August 2015, abgerufen am 7. August 2017 (englisch).
  8. Chartquellen: Singles Alben UK US
  9. Joel Whitburn: Top R&B Albums 1965–1998, ISBN 0-89820-134-9.

Curtis Mayfield ¦ Curtis
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