A sublimely spiritual track from one of the masters of soul, Curtis Mayfield, and his legendary group, the Impressions. Written by Mayfield, "People Get Ready" is a direct link between gospel music and its secular progeny, soul. It is actually just a well-produced crossover gospel track, as the theme is a ringing religious metaphor with no obvious secular interpretation: "People get ready/There's a train a-coming/You don't need no baggage you just get on board/All you need is faith to hear the diesels humming/Don't need no ticket you just get thank the Lord." Mayfield noted in the liner notes to the fantastic Curtis Mayfield & The Impressions: The Anthology 1961-1977 (1992): "That was taken from my church or from the upbringing of messages from the church. Like there's no hiding place and get on board and images of that sort. I must have been in a very deep mood of that type of religious inspiration when I wrote that song." But surely the message would have had a wider resonance in the civil rights era, as did many church promises of redemption, justice, and peace. Themes such as these were what Bob Marley must have identified with when he quoted lines from "People Get Ready" in his own "One Love": "There ain't no room for the hopeless sinner/Who would hurt all mankind, just to save his own/Have pity on those whose chances grow thinner." Riding a relaxed bass line groove, with staccato guitar up-strums, glockenspiel, muted horns, and pizzicato strings, the verses are sung in an ensemble call-and-response style with Mayfield and the Impressions' Fred Cash on tenor vocal and Samuel Gooden on bass vocal. In between are some extremely tasteful guitar lines from Mayfield himself. On the second of these figures, Mayfield modulates the track up in key for a heightened sense of drama. The title track from the group's 1965 album, "People Get Ready" was produced and arranged by Chicago soul/blues legend Johnny Pate at Universal Recording Studios in Chicago and went to number three on the R&B chart and 14 on the pop chart. "People Get Ready" has been covered many times by artists ranging from the Housemartins -- Norman Cooke's (also known as Fatboy Slim) original band -- to former GOP chairman Lee Atwater. The most famous cover of the song would have to be Jeff Beck and Rod Stewart's 1985 hit record from Beck's solo Flash, which suffers from horrible mainstream '80s production, but is nevertheless a pretty good version, with blistering bluesy guitar work from Beck. A better Stewart recording of the song is his 1993 Unplugged...and Seated with old mate Ronnie Wood on acoustic guitar, lush orchestration, and a gospel choir. This recording does justice to the anthemic nature of the song.