The soul world was devastated in August 1990 when CURTIS MAYFIELD suffered a horrendous accident at a Brooklyn open air concert. The devastation was multiplied when 9 years later the Gentle Genius passed on. Since then most of Curtis’ solo canon has been reissued while there are plenty of lovely Impressions’ album out there too. At the sad time of his passing there were a couple of interesting tribute albums specially recorded to celebrate his genius (remember Bruce Springsteen’s version of Gypsy Woman?).
Now Australia’s Playback/City Hall Records are all set to issue a new celebratory tribute. The 20 tracker that is ‘Move On Up… The Songs of Curtis Mayfield’ is slightly different though. You see the album is a comprehensive compilation of Mayfield songs that have been out there for some time.
Some of the music comes from those active with Curtis in the Curtom days … stuff like Baby Huey’s ‘Hard Times’ and the Five Stairsteps’ ‘Baby Make Me Feel So Good’. Some of the cuts like Aretha’s ‘Look Into Your Heart’ are Mayfield productions but the bulk of the material comes from artists who just knew a good song when they heard one!
The compilation is filled with loads of lovely and interesting stuff – like Willie Wright’s Terry Callier-flavoured ‘Right On For The Darkness’, Julian Joseph and Sharon Musgrave’s take of ‘The Other Side Of Town’ and a reggae version of ‘Move On Up’ from Devon Russell. Thankfully there’s a Curtis cut too… a 1990 re-work of his ‘Here But I’m Gone’ with extra input from Lauryn Hill.
The album comes complete with comprehensive sleeve notes which conclude with “Curtis had a unique genius that always lent itself to being carried forward by fellow artists and new generations. Hopefully this compilation can help show the enormous impact and lasting spell cast by Curtis’s songs”.… AMEN!