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Curtis/Live! (Live @ Bitter End, NYC)

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It's a sign of just how high a peak of musical and commercial success Curtis Mayfield had ascended that he could release two live albums within two years of each other, with two completely different sounds and repertories, and get well-deserved top sellers out of both. Curtis/Live! is, simply, one of the greatest concert albums ever cut on a soul artist, and one of the legendary live albums of all time. Cut in January of 1971 during four nights at the Bitter End (then Greenwich Village's leading music venue) in New York, the resulting double LP transcended any expectations in both its programming and execution — Mayfield performed numbers off of the Curtis album ("Don't Worry If There's a Hell Below We're All Going to Go"), as well as exciting and urgent new versions of songs originally performed by the Impressions ("We're a Winner," "People Get Ready," "Gypsy Woman"), plus a very moving R&B version of "We've Only Just Begun." This is all beautifully stripped-down work by a quintet consisting of Mayfield (vocals, guitar), Craig McMullen (guitar), Tyrone McCullen (drums), "Master" Henry Gibson (percussion), and Joseph "Lucky" Scott (bass) — a solid, intense performance, with quietly elegant guitar playing against a rock-solid rhythm section, as Impressions hits are rethought and reconfigured in a new context, and Mayfield's early solo repertory comes to life in newer, longer live versions. The second disc, Curtis in Chicago, consists of a different kind of show, a dream concert celebrating Mayfield's musical history and Curtom Records, for which one is grateful the audio-tape machines were running properly (there was a public-television broadcast of the show, under the same name, that would be a choice video release today). Mayfield, the current Impressions, the original Impressions (including Jerry Butler), the successful mid-'60s version of the group; Gene Chandler (reworking "Duke of Earl"); and Leroy Hutson get to do their best songs, this time in a kind of big-band soul setting backed by the Curtom Rhythm Section augmented by the presence of Phil Upchurch. The sound is excellent on both discs, and the annotation is very thorough on this reissue. The British import from Sequel is currently the only way to get either of these albums on CD, and is a bargain.


Nacido(a): 03 de junio de 1942 en Chicago, IL

Género: R&B/Soul

Años de actividad: '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s

El legado de Curtis Mayfield es enorme. Como líder de los Impressions grabó algunas de las más bellas melodías del soul de grupo vocal de los años '60. Ya como solista, en los '70, fue pionero del funk y ayudó a introducir el comentario urbano crítico dentro de la música soul. Pero no era sólo un cantante. Escribía la mayor parte del material que usaba, en una época en que eso no era lo habitual entre los intérpretes de soul. Estuvo entre los primeros en hablar abiertamente, a través de sus composiciones,...
Biografía completa
Curtis/Live! (Live @ Bitter End, NYC), Curtis Mayfield
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