Curtis Mayfield: Superfly (OS) – [Record 212]

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This record was gifted to me by a buddy in Scotland. Cheers Dude :D

Superfly is the third studio album by American soul and funk musician Curtis Mayfield, released in July 1972 on Curtom Records. It was released as the soundtrack for the Blaxploitation film of the same name. Widely considered a classic of 1970s soul and funk music, Super Fly was a nearly immediate hit. Its sales were bolstered by two million-selling singles, “Freddie’s Dead” (#2 R&B, #4 Pop) and the title track (#5 R&B, #8 Pop). Super Fly is one of the few soundtracks to out-gross the film it accompanied.

Superfly, along with Marvin Gaye’s What’s Going On, was one of the pioneering soul concept albums, with its then-unique socially aware lyrics about poverty and drug abuse making the album stand out. The film and the soundtrack may be perceived as dissonant, since the Super Fly film holds rather ambiguous views on drug dealers, whereas Curtis Mayfield’s position is far more critical. Like What’s Going On, the album was a surprise hit that record executives felt had little chance at significant sales. Due to its success, Mayfield was tapped for several film soundtracks over the course of the decade.

Side One.
1. Little Child Runnin’ Wild.
2. Pusherman.
3. Freddie’s Dead.
4. Junkie Chase (Instrumental).

Side Two.
1. Give Me Your Love (Love Song).
2. Eddie You Should Know Better.
3. No Thing on Me (Cocaine Song).
4. Think (Instrumental).
5. Superfly.

Release: Superfly was originally released in 1972 on Curtom Records in both LP and 8-track formats. It also featured distribution in countries outside of the United States, including Italy, Germany, France, Canada, and the United Kingdom. On November 11, 1997, Rhino Records released a 25th Anniversary collection of the album with a bonus disc of demo versions of songs, radio spots and interviews. In 1999, Rhino Records reissued the album with two bonus tracks. On December 11, 2001, the British record label Charly Records re-released the album with several bonus tracks.

Reception;
Critical response: Music critics lauded Superfly. Rolling Stone ’​s Bob Donat was favorable of Mayfield’s anti-drug and self-liberation themes, and called Super Fly “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”. In a 2004 review of the album, Rolling Stone gave Superfly five out of five stars and cited it as Mayfield’s “creative breakthrough”. Rock critic Robert Christgau of The Village Voice gave the album an A- and lauded Mayfield’s songwriting. Christgau also wrote “these songs speak for (and to) the ghetto’s victims rather than its achievers (cf. ‘The Other Side of Town’, on Curtis), transmitting bleak lyrics through uncompromisingly vivacious music. Message: both candor and rhythm are essential to our survival”. John Bush of AllMusic praised the album’s lyrical substance and sound, calling it a “melange of deep, dark grooves, trademarked wah-wah guitar, and stinging brass”. On its significance, Bush concluded by stating:

“Superfly ignited an entire genre of music, the blaxploitation soundtrack, and influenced everyone from soul singers to television-music composers for decades to come. It stands alongside Saturday Night Fever and Never Mind the Bollocks Here’s the Sex Pistols as one of the most vivid touchstones of ’70s pop music.”

— John Bush

Accolades: In the Virgin Encyclopedia of Popular Music (2002), writer Colin Larkin gave the album a five star rating. In 2003, VH1 named Super Fly the 63rd greatest album of all time. The title track was selected by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as one of the “500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll”. In 2003, the album was ranked number 69 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.

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