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Check Out Your Mind!

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Album Review

Just before he departed the Impressions for a solo career, Curtis Mayfield performed on one last album with the group. Check out Your Mind! saw Mayfield departing with class, driven by big, brassy nuggets of psychedelic soul like "Check out Your Mind," "You're Really Something, Sadie," and "(Baby) Turn on to Me." Despite the raised consciousness of the title, Check out Your Mind! also featured quite a few fine examples of traditional sweet soul, like the hit "Can't You See" (which hearkened back to the group's early days), "You'll Always Be Mine," and "Only You." Mayfield wasn't quite the workhorse he seemed to be; though Check out Your Mind! was released around the same time as his solo debut, a few of the songs here weren't really new: he'd originally written both "Madame Mary" and "We Must Be in Love" for the Five Stairsteps, while "Do You Want to Win?" takes elements from both "You're Really Something Sadie" and "(Baby) Turn on Me." Still, there was much more great material than average, and the trio ended with style an eight-year reign as one of the most talented, intelligent, and successful of all soul groups.

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Formed: 1958 in Chicago, IL

Genre: R&B/Soul

Years Active: '50s, '60s, '70s, '10s

The quintessential Chicago soul group, the Impressions' place in R&B history would be secure if they'd done nothing but launch the careers of soul legends Jerry Butler and Curtis Mayfield. But far more than that, the Impressions recorded some of the most distinctive vocal-group R&B of the '60s under Mayfield's guidance. Their style was marked by airy, feather-light harmonies and Mayfield's influentially sparse guitar work, plus, at times, understated Latin rhythms. If their sound was sweet and lilting,...
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