Curtis Mayfield – 1973 – Back To The World
This is another contribution by Groovy Emmanuel (i suppose you all know him) who express his feelings right away :
“1973 and what is finally left behind after a long period of time in which so many youngsters were so far away. What’s Going On in Marvin’s own words. Carole King put it that way in her million seller “Tapestry” lp : “Sometimes I wonder if I’m ever gonna make it home again, it’s so far and out of sight.”. Yeah, it’s out of sight but finally Back To The World for those who made it…
“The World” was what US GIs in Vietnam called America, and acclimating back into the world could be a harrowing experience. Curtis Mayfield addresses this problem in the title track to his 1973 album, Back to the World.
It’s never too easy coming back. And in 1973, Curtis felt something like this : “I am blind and I cannot see, You are there, your petty evil don’t bother me, Playing all the clothes you wear, Laugh at me, pressed and clean, and I don’t care.”. (“Right On For The Darkness”)
Hey, is there something less depressing in here? Yes brothers, Curtis’ emotional appeal, “If I Were Only a Child Again”. And Curtis’ own words: “This album I dedicate to my children and all children, for its through their eyes and the eyes of all those precious few, that maybe we, the grownups, can still make the world a better place for everyone to live”.
The album though it met mediocre reviews back then, it reached #1 in r’n’b and #16 in pop charts, and also included his minor hit “Future Shock”. The “World” seemed to understand and keep sharing these emotions.
With all due respect, this is for those, mostly kids then, who came so close to facing more than an average one can ever face in a lifetime, and moreover to those who finally made it home at last and had a more difficult task to fight against in their daily lives ever since.
Nuff said brothers, now enjoy it, and remember: Keep On Trippin’…or Keep On Keepin’ On.”
This is a fine @320 vinyl rip of the original Curtom Records LP, including covers.
A1 Back To The World (6:47)
A2 Future Shock (5:17)
A3 Right On For The Darkness (7:28)
B1 Future Song (Love A Good Woman, Love A Good Man) (5:00)
B2 If I Were Only A Child Again (2:52)
B3 Can’t Say Nothin’ (5:13)
B4 Keep On Trippin’ (3:16)
Pure genius from Curtis Mayfield and a record that’s got all the righteousness and political power you might guess from the cover! The album burns with a sense of empowerment that’s every bit the best strength of Curtom in the 70s a sublime blend of heavy soul, funky undercurrents, and far-reaching arrangements that still always manage to groove! And Curtis’ vocals are great too echoing out with a newfound presence that far surpasses the raspy quality of his early work with The Impressions. Arrangements are by Rich Tufo, production is by Mayfield (Dusty Groove)
This has always been one of my favorite Curtis Mayfield albums, even though I don’t think its his most popular (and it often goes out of print.) The reason is because its just so darn tight and funky – yet political (in that distinct Curtis Mayfield) way too. The tracks are so tight, its incredible… and not only is it heavy funk – but its a distinct type of funk that only Curtis was playing (and that’s hard to describe for the uninitiated.) I don’t know how to describe it… 100% Curtis = 94% JB, 6% Bob Marley ??? Really, you have to listen…
Overall, this is a great album because on one hand the instrumental tracks are kicking even if you’re not dancing, you can’t help but move, however, if you listen to it just for the lyrics, you can follow Mayfield’s lyrics from begining to end… in part because he had a unique style of lyric writing too that made him more of a political poet or even a pre-hip hop rapper more than a simple soul wailer or crooner (as was common in that era) (Eddie Landsberg)
This record has my alltime favorite curtis tune, and I love a whole lot of curtis tunes to death. When he says “it’s the educated people…making up the rules, holding back the schools” I couldn’t agree more. But much like his debut, Curtis, the hypnotic and apocolyptic (“hell below” on that one) is balanced by more upbeat stuff. Maybe the best Curtis cover art, too. (Johnny Thursday)
I remember first hearing this album during the Vietnam War. The poignant tracks were very relevant to the times, raised consciences and helped to ease the pain endured during the turbulent sixties and early seventies. The passing of Curtis Mayfield appears to have been a minor event. But his contributions to black society are immeasurable. In the history of the civil rights struggle, Curtis contributed immensely to the lifting of black self-worth. The lyrical skills exhibited by Curtis on this recording rival some of the greatest European and American poets. The musical composition further helps to envelope the listener in a blanket of tranquility. When you consider the baseline and percussion contained in Curtis’ solo albums the desire to dance immediately occurs. Curtis may longer be with us but a soul that could compose some beautiful music has to be in an eternal place that we all must aim to reach. If we had music of this caliber today the world would be a much peaceful place. I know you will enjoy this also. (Robert L. Harqett)
Enjoy the prophet of Soul Music singing “Future Shock”
Thank you Groovy Emmanuel for the music and knowledge.