Curtis Mayfield

Do It All Night

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The last Curtis Mayfield album distributed by Warner Bros., during Curtom Records' declining years of 1977-1978, was a maddening album, a complete break in style as Mayfield moved into a pure disco vein. It was his most successful album in three years, but it alienated many longtime fans because he deliberately dumbed down his writing -- he traded his core audience, who couldn't abide the album, for a slightly larger disco audience that had previously eluded him, painting himself into an artistic and career corner. The title track was indicative of the artistic nadir to which Mayfield had to descend to find where the mass audience had gone, a number without an ounce of poetry that he wouldn't have wasted his time with in the studio, much less completed or released, in years past; the beat and the arrangements rather overwhelm anything that Mayfield is saying or singing throughout this album. The closest one gets to the old Curtis Mayfield sound, which is to say, to Curtis Mayfield at all, is "In Love, In Love, In Love," a relatively subdued and soulful number which would have been a secondary track on almost any album that preceded this one, and it is practically lost here, sandwiched in between the commercial dance numbers "Keeps Me Loving You" and "You Are, You Are." Mayfield would adapt his style better to the needs of disco with Heartbeat, his next album.

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