Stephen Chapman

The second incarnation of my blog

Rolling Stone top 100 albums: #72 Curtis Mayfield – Superfly

Based on the top 100 albums in Rolling Stone magazine’s top 500, I have set myself the challenge of hearing and appraising each album. I hope to be surprised and educated along the way.

At number 72 is Superfly by Curtis Mayfield. It is the soundtrack to the film of the same name, a movie in the Blaxploitation genre. Released in 1972, it featured socially aware lyrics about racism, poverty and drug abuse.

The funky style, the “whacka whacka” guitar, the bongos and the swirling strings add up to a classy collection of music. From the first track Little child running’ wild, you know that it could only have come from the early 1970’s.

Freddie’s dead is a sad song but so goddam cool that if it was a person, it would be dressed in a bad velvet suit, have a real mean look and would be drinking some hard booze and smoking.

I assume that somewhere in the world, there is a Police TV programme with Junkie chase as it’s theme tune. It’s one of a couple of instrumentals on the album. Give me your love and No thing on me are the closest you get to love songs, but only if you don’t concentrate on the lyrics too much.

Despite the often foreboding feel to it, the album has such a great rhythm, it drives the songs along. I believe that you can listen to this album in two very different ways: you could concentrate on the heavy lyrics and the atmosphere or simply let the groove wash over you. Both approaches work for me.

It all goes to show that there aren’t enough bongos in songs these days!

My rating: 7/10

Standout tracks: No thing on me, Junkie chase

Listen to the album here.

See the Top 100 here.

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This entry was posted on September 30, 2014 by in music and tagged , , .

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