Never Say You Can't Survive was the last Curtis Mayfield album done in a pure soul vein for the next three years – its style and sound place it in a direct continuity with the rest of his output right back to 1958. The singing on love songs such as "Show Me Love," "Just Want to Be With You," and "When We're Alone" is among the most achingly lyrical and passionate of his career. The title track boasts ravishing backup singing by Kitty & the Haywoods (who also perform outstandingly on "I'm Gonna Win Your Love") and a beautiful arrangement by James Mack.
Less sociopolitical than previous efforts, Give Get Take Have offers "Mr. Welfare Man" as its sole attempt to enlighten and enhance. Mayfield was obviously experiencing the joys of new love when he cut "Only You Babe" and "This Love Is Sweet," and the tear-jerking numbers "In Your Arms Again" and "Party Night." His aching falsetto coos and purrs, but sounds weakened on this LP. Overall, the album falls short of Mayfield's former releases, but even great artists don't always achieve their usual high standards. Never Say You Can't Survive was the last Curtis Mayfield album done in a pure soul vein for the next three years.
It's hard to pick a favorite Curtis Mayfield album, and my judgment is surely clouded by the fact that this album was under-celebrated at the time and still often overlooked. But as speaking objectively as I can, this is surely Mayfield at the top of his game. And possibly my favorite album. Clive Anderson's liner notes on this Charly reissue may be a bit pretentious, opening up with a citation from Wordsworth, but they do pretty much nail the album and do it justice. The album is like an extended meditation on the American underclass, and particularly the despair in the Black communities in the mid-70s.
CURTIS is the first solo album by R&B/soul legend Curtis Mayfield. After leaving the Impressions, Mayfield began to write lyrics that were more politically charged. With the 1970 release of CURTIS, he became one of the most important socially conscious artists of his generation. The album's opener, "(Don't Worry) If There's a Hell Below We're All Going to Go" uses racial epithets openly, as Mayfield asserts the shiftlessness of America. Set to a funky groove, with smart horn arrangements and wah-wah guitar, this song is a brazen attack on social mores, racism, the Vietnam War, religious impropriety, and Nixon-era politics.
Honesty is a 1982 released album by Curtis Mayfield, originally issued on the Boardwalk Label.
Short Eyes is a Curtis Mayfield soundtrack to Robert M. Young's 1977 film, based upon the play of the same name by Miguel Piñero. The album contains one of Mayfield's last funk hits, "Do Do Wap is Strong in Here".
Recorded in California in 1981, Love Is The Place found Mayfield experimenting with his sound and yielded two Top Twenty R&B hit singles, the reggae-inspired 'She Don’t Let Nobody (But Me)' and 'Toot An’Toot An’Toot'. The first of these also gave Mayfield his biggest pop hit for six years whilst a cover by reggae duo Chaka Demus & Pliers made the UK Top 5 in 1993. The album’s superb title track is another highlight.
Heartbeat is an album by Curtis Mayfield. This 1979 offering mixed disco rhythms with soul balladeering. Future Temptation Ron Tyson contributed to some of the songwriting and production. "Tell Me, Tell Me (How Ya Like to be Loved)" was remixed for a 12" by Fred Breitberg and Michael Hearn and the duet with Linda Clifford "Between You Baby and Me", edited as a single, was also issued on The right combination, an album of duets between both singers released in 1980. It's the first Mayfield album he didn't produce entirely.