Wednesday, May 11, 2005

CC Briefs: "Mayfield: Remixed" by Curtis Mayfield

Name: Curtis Mayfield
Album: Mayfield: Remixed: The Curtis Mayfield Collection
Label: Rhino

The word "remix" should never replace the original interpretation of an artist work. But let it be known that even DJs, or mixers, gotta work too. They make a living mixing - and that is an art in itself also. Breathing fresh air into classics is the heart of this project...and it proves to be a worthy ride. No, this project is not perfect - and it is not compiled with a great deal of patience; probably because of meeting deadlines, but it features a chunkful of gems that are sure to push Mayfield's influence towards today's generation. The bulk of the material bases its foundation on the drive of house/club music (which may not take this album into pop chart fame); yet the original melodies are obviously in place - including Mayfield's voice. Eric Kupper graciously takes on the task of mixing "Move On Up" (which was one of Mayfield's best dance tunes), and does one of the better arrangements of the whole project. The fresh horns and bouncing rhthyms is sure to electrify any club or party setting. Louie Vega and his popular Masters At Work Team adds a greater calypso flow to the original and stretches the song out to a good seven minutes. "Do Do Wap Is Strong In Here", another Mayfield political standout, probably remains true to its original form. With a few add-ons and keyboard effects, fans of the original will surely greet this one with open arms. Of all the riveting cuts, "(Don't Worry) If There's A Hell Below..." gets the extra hype. It doesn't sound like the original, except for Mayfield's falsetto expressions in the lyrics. But the great part about this one is that it features a hefty electronica bounce that will have you dancing from the very beginning. Of course, it's the lyrics that one should focus more on (even though the music may deter you), but it's a wonderful ride. Another great track one should check out is the riveting "We Got To Have Peace"; mixed wondrously by Eddie Baez. Unlike most, I personally didn't enjoy DJ Grandmaster Flash's take on "We're A Winner". The words were broken up so much and stretched out so drastically that it was hard to enjoy the flow. "People Get Ready" may be the only track that may offend, or upset, fans of the original. A gospel house version of this would have been suffice. It would have been nice, or unique, to have the songs flow together in one heavy mix (in the form of modern day mix tapes). But individualizing each cut for each mixer probably would have been more beneficial in identifying their work. And plus, who would dare attempt to merge these songs together like that...and get cuzzed out later on. This is a good journey of music and wonderful way in delivering Mayfield's influential music to today's generation of party-goers. Yes, funk still lives on...and soul music lives on...but what an excellent way of embracing a person's art; to re-introduce it with tribute in mind.

MUSIC STYLE: R&B, Soul, House/Techno/Club, Disco
RELEASE DATE: February 15, 2004

1. Superfly (7:11)
2. Do Do Wap Is Strong In Here (6:45)
3. Move On Up (8:10)
4. We're A Winner (6:37)
5. Little Child Runnin' Wild (8:54)
6. Freddie's Dead (7:28)
7. (Don't Worry) If There's A Hell Below We're All Going To Go (5:26)
8. YoWe Got To Have Peace (6:56)
9. People Get Ready (8:05)
10. Pusherman (5:12)


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