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Funk for Friday: Curtis Mayfield, Superfly

So obvious there doesn’t seem any point in spinning it. So funky there is no way not to.

Curtis Mayfield, “Superfly” – from Superfly-The Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

Here’s what Rolling Stone had to say about the soundtrack on its release:

Superfly is not only a superior, imaginative soundtrack, but fine funky music as well and the best of Curtis Mayfield’s four albums made since he left the Impressions since the “Gypsy Woman” days. The Mayfield-Pate team dipped into three distinct musical satchels to pull out this lovely and energetic song cycle — the established Shaft system of dramatic, heaving chords and souped-up, insectine guitar and synthesizer chops by Isaac Hayes; the lyrical power of the song style and orchestration of Marvin Gaye and David Van dePitte; and, certainly not least, the amazing emotive skill of Curtis Mayfield, whose technique is honed and carried to strange extremes. “Pusherman,” the major vocal theme of the film, identifying the protagonist (“a man of odd circumstance, a victim of ghetto demands”), is almost scary and perverse, given Curtis’ manner: He kisses the word “pusherman” rather than sings it. The implications are so heavy that this truly amazing song, with its metallic percussion and hypnotic, drugged tone, couldn’t possibly be released as a single. The more conservative “Freddie’s Dead,” which deals with the demise of a sad fat stooge, was doled out instead to a faunching public and is now at the top of everyone’s Hot Hundred.

Not surprisingly, Rolling Stone later ranked Superfly #69 in its 500 Greatest Albums of All Time [here].

And here’s a live version from some TV show back in the day:

For more…

Filed under: Song of the Day, , ,

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zerode by nick chapman is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.

Oh - and hello to Jason Isaacs.

The 400 Blows

zerode

is an over-caffeinated and under-employed grad school dropout, aspiring leftwing intellectual and cultural studies academic, cinéaste, and former poet. Raised in San Francisco on classic film, radical politics, burritos and soul music, then set loose upon the world. He spends his time in coffee shops with his laptop and headphones, caffeinating and trying to construct a post-whatever life.

 

What's in a name... The handle "zerode" is a contraction of Zéro de Conduite, the title of Jean Vigo's 1933 movie masterpiece about schoolboy rebellion.

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