Rolling Stone - 2/3/00, p.534 stars out of 5
- "...16 career-spanning songs, all good and most great..."
Producer: Curtis Mayfield.
Compilation producers: David Nathan, David McLees, Bill Inglot.
Includes liner notes by David Nathan.
Digitally remastered by Bill Inglot and Dan Herssch (DigiPrep).
Audio Remasterers: Dan Hersch; Bill Inglot.
Liner Note Author: David Nathan.
Arrangers: Curtis Mayfield; Gary Slabo; Rich Tufo; Gil Askey; Johnny Pate; Riley Hampton.
This single-disc Rhino compilation culls Curtis Mayfield's biggest '70s hits. One of the brightest lights of soul and funk music in the late 20th century, Mayfield's impact on music as a singer, songwriter, producer, and spokesman on issues of social concern, first as a member of The Impressions in the '60s, then as a solo performer, is incalculable.
THE VERY BEST OF samples his distinctive and varied palette, from 1970's chilling call to equality "(Don't Worry) If There's a Hell Below We're All Going to Go" to the smooth, understated R&B of 1990's "Do Be Down." In between are smoldering bedroom ballads ("The Makings of You," "So in Love"), irrepressible dance tracks ("Move On Up"), and appeals to social conscience ("We Got to Have Peace," "Future Shock"). Also included are three killer entries from the SUPERFLY soundtrack: "Freddie's Dead," "Pusherman," and the eternally grooving theme song. As always, Mayfield's tasteful guitar work, ambitious arrangements, and sweet, powerfully soulful falsetto vocals shine throughout. While fans seeking a more complete exploration of the man's discography should seek the three-disc Rhino box, THE VERY BEST OF provides a superior shortlist of this seminal figure's solo work.