Curtis Mayfield – 1971 – Roots
Read Reviews, Buy the Album or Download the Album for free
One of Soul’s most classic albums. Featuring timeless cuts like “Beautiful Brother Of Mine“, “Keep On Keeping On” and “Get Down“, this album is outstanding from start to finish. After leaving his position as leader of the Impressions, one of the most successful black vocal groups of the 1960s, Curtis Mayfield made progressive and highly influential funk/R&B records, most notably the soundtrack to the cult movie SUPERFLY. His unique, simultaneous rhythm/lead guitar style and fragile falsetto vocals have been much imitated but never duplicated.
A1 Get Down (5:45)
A2 Keep on Keeping On (5:08)
A3 Underground (5:15)
A4 We Got to Have Peace (4:44)
B1 Beautiful Brother of Mine (7:23)
B2 Now You’re Gone (6:50)
B3 Love to Keep You in My Mind (3:48)
Curtis Mayfield’s visionary album, a landmark creation every bit as compelling and as far-reaching in its musical and extra-musical goals as Marvin Gaye’s contemporary What’s Goin’ On. Opening on the hit “Get Down,” the album soars on some of the sweetest and most eloquent – yet driving – soul sounds heard up to that time. Mayfield’s growing musical ambitions, first manifested on the Curtis album, and his more sophisticated political sensibilities, presented with a lot of raw power on Curtis Live!, are pulled together here in a new, richer studio language, embodied in extended song structures “Underground“), idealistic yet lyrically dazzling anthems “We Got to Have Peace “, “Keep On Keeping On” and, best of all, the soaring “Beautiful Brother of Mine” and impassioned blues “Now You’re Gone“. The music is even bolder than the material on the Curtis album, with Mayfield expanding his instrumental range to the level of a veritable soul orchestra; and the recording is better realized, as Mayfield, with that album and a tour behind him, shows a degree of confidence that only a handful of soul artists of this era could have mustered.
While he may have produced consistently great, intellectual and popular music throughout his entire career, Curtis Mayfield was on a creative roll in the early to mid 70’s, and “Roots” is one of his strongest efforts. While not quite as stunning in it’s epic sweep as the flawless “Curtis”, or as hard-hitting as the best moments on “Superfly”, “Roots” is nonetheless a great LP.
From the opener, “Get Down” and the ultra-funky “Underground” to my favorite track, the ghostly sounding “Beautiful Brother of Mine“, this second solo outing is a feast for the ears.
Mayfield would completely explode the possibilities of his medium and alter black pop forever the following year with “SUPERFLY”, but for the time being he was content to soften his preachiness a tad with this release, and we, the lucky listener, reap all the benefits. A Classic.
This man stays on my mind all the time. I have to admit, “We the People Who Are Darker Than Blue” is the jam on this album with its breathtaking strings and rhythm section that sends chills up my spine. It is the jam right along with “Wild and Free“. This particular album went platinum cause it was consistent from one song to the next, had a common theme that is shared (being black in today’s society and love among mankind)and last, the album had actual musicians playing on this record and not the computerized music we hear today. Just listen to this record all the way through and you won’t be disappointed at all. You get your money’s worth with this guy. Curtis puts out quality material and he is never sounds rushed.