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Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Funkified

It was Clay who brought up Curtis Mayfield a few weeks back. He was jazzed about Mayfield after seeing a local orchestra performing some of his funky compositions. It'd been in my to-do list to check out his ouevre for years. When I first starting collecting funk and soul cds, I was getting them in gobs from BMG's "12 for the price of 1" deal. I must have joined and quit that club a dozen times (and convinced my friends to join a time or two as well.) I picked up recordings by the Barkays, Ohio Players, Isaac Hayes, and the JB's. But for whatever reason, BMG wasn't offering any Curtis... not even Superfly.

Then the other day I watched Wattstax (a Netflix rental) and remembered just how kick ass Mavis Staples is. Wattstax was a 1973 concert documentary film commemorating the Watts riots and seeking black unity. It was hosted by a 'fro-sporting Jesse Jackson and featured a Woodstock-like array of artists including the Staple Singers. "Pops" Staples may have been the band leader, but Mavis' gospel grunts and groans are just about the most powerful sounds this side of a Serena Williams match.

Imagine my delight when a quick search on Soulseek revealed a gem of an album: the soundtrack to Let's Do It Again featuring music by Curtis Mayfield and the Staple Singers. The film, which I've never seen, is a comedy starring Bill Cosby and Sidney Poitier (who also directed.) The music is a perfect blend of two geniuses in their prime. Mayfield's compositions evoke silk sheets and bedroom eyes. Mavis (who usually saves her most passionate vocals for preachin' the word) permeates with down and dirty vocals... sometimes deteriorating into straight-up sex grunts. It's an amazing record and an obscure goody that you ought to check out.

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1 Comments:

At 8/17/2006 10:35:00 AM, Blogger Yojimbo_5 said...

I have seen "Let's Do It Again!" which, curiously, is not on my list of "Anytime Movies." It was a follow-up--not a sequel, as the characters are different--to a much better film called "Uptown Saturday Nights" that Poitier directed starring him and Cos' plus Flip Wilson and Richard Pryor. Harry Belafonte was also in it doing a wicked imitation of Marlon Brando's Godfather. USN had a score by Tom Scott, so LDIA outshines it there.

 

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