Review Summary: i'm your mama i'm your daddy i'm that nigga in the alley i'm your doctor when in need want some coke have some weed6 of 7 thought this review was well written
After his time with Chicago soul group The Impressions came to an end, Curtis Mayfield re-emerged as a solo artist in the early 1970s. Beginning with the debut album Curtis
, it was a period that marked the full fruition of his talents as a singer, songwriter and producer and resulted in a wealth of classic material, much of it present on his 1972 soundtrack to Gordon Parks Jr's blaxploitation movie Super Fly
. While the merits of the movie can be questioned, Mayfield's accompanying music was often sublime in its attempts to humanize the cocaine dealer protagonist Youngblood Priest and his cohorts.
Assisted by arranger Johnny Pate, who also contributed the instrumentals "Junkie Chase" and "Think", Mayfield's main success was in striking a near perfect balance between swaggering funk and sweetly sung soul, accentuated brilliantly by the use of string and horn flourishes at just the right moments. It's eminently listenable, and the highlights (“Freddie's Dead”, “Little Child Runnin’ Wild”, “Pusherman” and the title track being the most notable) are timeless compositions that depict Super Fly
's seedy ghettos and junkies of 1970s Harlem through an empathetic lens of socially conscious lyricism. While the quality of the previously mentioned standouts isn't sustained throughout the entire record, there are no mediocre or throwaway songs here either, adding to the album's laid back flow and replay value.
is well deserving of its reputation as both a premier example of film soundtracking and one of the high points of 1970s soul and funk; those still unacquainted should rectify that now.