I often get misty-eyed when listening to Curtis Mayfield. A genuinely great man and a colossal talent, he didn’t deserve to end the way that he did – a slow decline towards death (on Boxing Day 1999) after being paralysed from the neck down nine years earlier. Of course, no-one deserves to die like that. But Curtis really didn’t.
It’s difficult to know where to start with his music. Or where to end. He was always brilliant and produced so much great work. Best known for Move On Up and the Superfly soundtrack, he brought social conscience and black pride to American soul in the sixties (with The Impressions) and had a solo career in the seventies that was just as pioneering and even more influential.
Saying that, this track, from his 1975 There’s No Place Like America Today LP, is just an out and out love song. But what a love song. Featuring his wonderfully expressive falsetto, it glides along, supported by a smooth organ and lifted by some rather glorious horns. You put this on, sit back and you can feel yourself transported to somewhere much better and nicer than where you are now.
The only thing missing from it, really, is Mayfield’s guitar. He was a superb, and greatly underrrated, player.