Curtis Mayfield

Curtis Mayfield's Chicago Soul

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Curtis Mayfield doesn't actually sing on any of the music heard here, but it's all material produced and, in many cases, written by him during his two years working at Columbia's revived OKeh Records label as a producer. The years 1963-65 directly preceded Mayfield's founding of his first label, Windy C, which was the predecessor to Curtom Records, and you can hear the roots of the Curtom sound throughout these sides. In one fell swoop, he developed a signature every bit as soulful as anything coming out of Motown Records, with acts like the Opals, Gene Chandler, Walter Jackson, Billy Butler & The Enchanters, and Major Lance. The roster represents a nexus in Mayfield's career, with a name or two that later ended up on Curtom and, by way of Billy Butler, brother of Mayfield's Impressions compatriot Jerry Butler, and if you close your eyes, the Opals sound a lot like the Jones Girls. The music is very smooth and elegant, including the harder sounds, which reveal even greater intricacy of construction than the creations of the Motown label during this same era. Fans of Mayfield's own music with the Impressions or from his solo career will love this CD as a valid extension of his legacy, and casual listeners will also find a great deal to embrace on this disc -- one only wishes there were some full-length LPs associated with his period at OKeh.

Track Listing

Title/Composer Performer Time
feat: Opal
2 2:36
feat: Major Lance
4 2:25
5 2:20
feat: Major Lance
7 2:04
8 2:19
feat: Major Lance
10 2:04
11 2:57
12 2:31
feat: Major Lance
14 2:21
15 2:15
16 4:09
feat: The Opals
feat: Major Lance
blue highlight denotes track pick