The Essentials

Curtis Mayfield

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The Essentials Review

by Greg Prato

It's hard to make heads or tails of all the Curtis Mayfield collections that have surfaced over the years, and 2002 saw the release of yet another set, The Essentials. But unlike most other "Essential" collections (Rhino Records' ongoing budget-priced series that focuses on a wide variety of classic artists), the track listing of the Curtis Mayfield edition leaves out far too many classics; gems like "Pusherman," "Move On Up," and "We the People Who Are Darker Than Blue" are all suspiciously absent. Granted, quite a few Mayfield classics are present, such as "(Don't Worry) If There's a Hell Below We're All Going to Go," "Freddie's Dead (Theme from "Superfly")," and "Superfly," but the aforementioned missing tracks prevent the collection from being definitive. You'd be better off spending the extra few bucks on 1996's more extensive The Very Best of Curtis Mayfield [Rhino], in order to get the handful of hits missing from The Essentials.

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