Rolling Stone - 2/3/00, p.534 stars out of 5
- "Cut for cut, Mayfield's solo debut is stronger than SUPERFLY....Rare items: the achingly empathetic 'Other Side of Town' and 'Miss Black America,' featuring one of his many children."
Q - 12/00, p.1444 stars out of 5
- "...It wedded the big issues of the day to peerless songwriting that yielded such enduring classics as 'Move On Up'..."
Recorded at RCA Studios, Chicago, Illinois. Includes liner notes by David Nathan.
All tracks have been digitally remastered.
Personnel: Curtis Mayfield (vocals); Don Simmons (drums).
Audio Remasterer: Dan Hersch.
Liner Note Authors: David Nathan; Michael Wesley Johnson.
Recording information: RCA Studios, Chicago, IL.
Photographer: Bob Cato.
Unknown Contributor Roles: Clifford Davis; Elliott Golub; Rudolph Stauber; Sol Bobrob; Gary Slabo; Pat Ferreri; Ron Kolber; Lenny Druss; John Howell ; Richard Single; Harold Klatz; John Ross; Lorin Binford; Robert Sims; Phil Upchurch; Robert Lewis .
Arrangers: Gary Slabo; Riley Hampton.
CURTIS is the first solo album by R&B/soul legend Curtis Mayfield. After leaving the Impressions, Mayfield began to write lyrics that were more politically charged. With the 1970 release of CURTIS, he became one of the most important socially conscious artists of his generation. The album's opener, "(Don't Worry) If There's a Hell Below We're All Going to Go" uses racial epithets openly, as Mayfield asserts the shiftlessness of America. Set to a funky groove, with smart horn arrangements and wah-wah guitar, this song is a brazen attack on social mores, racism, the Vietnam War, religious impropriety, and Nixon-era politics.
"We the People Who Are Darker Than Blue" is another track that poignantly examines the race and class struggles of urban America. This song is made up of more than just a static groove; its tempos shift midway through and powerful brass figures, timpani punctuations, and harp glissandos soon dominate the mix. Also featuring the powerful "Move On Up," CURTIS is a classic soul record, and its relevance is amplified by its quest for racial harmony and its bold anti-establishment stance. (Note: The 2000 reissue of CURTIS features nine bonus tracks.)