Rolling Stone - 11/14/96, p.1124 Stars (out of 5)
- "...Mayfield never lets his message outshine his melodic gifts. His high tenor voice is intact, and Mayfield's gospel roots still provide much of his inspiration....Mayfield brings grace and good taste to the steamy vibe of Atlanta-style '90s R&B..."
Entertainment Weekly - 10/4/96, p.62
"..The mellow groove, complete with wah-wah guitar fills and purring backup vocals, may speak of decades past, but the effect is that of a needed catch-me-up with a long-absent friend....Welcome back." - Rating: B+
Q - 2/97, p.984 Stars (out of 5)
- "...a beautiful, suitably life-affirming album. His trademark twinkling guitar is missing, but the voice is as gorgeous as ever--occasionally a little deeper than of old, but still a tool as expressive, humane and downright likable as any that's graced pop..."
Vibe - 11/96, p.136
"...NEW WORLD ORDER is truly heaven sent....The effect, reminiscent of old-school Mayfield without descending into retro nostalgia, finely suits the blend of bittersweet love songs and social commentary..."
Village Voice (2/25/97) - Ranked #31
in the Village Voice's 1996 Pazz & Jop Critics' Poll.
Mojo (Publisher) - 3/00, p.121
"...almost unbearably poignant....The new songs are unequivocal messages of hope and he revisits earlier material like 'We The People Who Are Darker Than Blue'. It's the fondest of farewells."
Personnel includes: Curtis Mayfield (vocals, various instruments); Aretha Franklin, Sandra St. Victor (vocals); Blaise Mayfield, Lisa Coates (rap vocals); Eric "E Smooth" Hicks (rap vocals, keyboards, programming); Roger Troutman (talkbox, guitar, keyboards, bass, programming); Tomi Martin (acoustic & electric guitars); Martin Terry (electric guitar); James Fischer (electric guitar, keyboards, programming); Carlos Glover (guitar, strings, keyboards, programming); Mario "Gary" Thompson, Craig Love (guitar); Rosmary Woods (strings, piano, drums, programming, background vocals); Frank "Buzzie" Amato (piano); Sir Dean Gant (keyboards); Narada Michael Walden (bass, steel drums, timbales, congas, shakers); Preston Crump (bass); Dee Simmons (drums); Organized Noize (programming); Mavis Staples, The Blow Jays, Joi, Skyler Jett (background vocals).
Producers include: Curtis Mayfield, Brian Fleming, Carlos Grover, Rosmary Woods, Organized Noize.
Engineers include: Carlos Glover, Blake Eiseman, David Frazer.
Recorded at Curtom Recording Studio, Doppler Recording Studios, Southern Tracks Recording Studio; Purple Dragon Recording Studios, Atlanta, Georgia; Tarpan Studios, San Rafael, California.
NEW WORLD ORDER was nominated for a 1997 Grammy Award for Best R&B Album.
The title track was nominated for a 1997 Grammy for Best Male R&B Vocal Performance.
"Back To Living Again" was nominated for a 1998 Grammy Award for Best Male R&B Vocal Performance.
Personnel: Curtis Mayfield (vocals, background vocals); Sandra St. Victor (vocals, background vocals); Eric Hicks (rap vocals, keyboards, programming); Blaise Mayfield (rap vocals); Tommy Martin (guitar, acoustic guitar); James Fischer (guitar, electric guitar, keyboards, programming); Carlos Glover (guitar, strings, keyboards, drum programming); Roger (guitar, keyboards, talk box, drum programming); Craig Love, Gary Ray Thompson (guitar); Tomi Martin (acoustic guitar); Martin Terry (electric guitar); Rosemary Woods (strings, piano, drums, keyboard programming, background vocals); Joseph Jennings (alto saxophone); Howard Nicholson (tenor saxophone); Eddie Davis (trumpet); Richard L. Owens (trombone); Frank Amato, Vance Taylor (piano); Arnold Hennings (keyboards, drums, programming, keyboard programming); Dale Degroat (keyboards, drum programming); Marvin "Chanz" Parkman, Dean Gant (keyboards); Ralphe Armstrong, Ralph Armstrong (electric bass); Brian Fleming (drums, keyboard programming, drum programming, background vocals); Daryl Simmons, Organized Noize (drums, keyboard programming); Dee Simmons (drums); Narada Michael Walden (congas, shaker, steel drum, timbales); Luis Stenfanell (congas, percussion); Sleepy Brown (percussion); Claytoven Richardson, Sandy Griffith, Annie Stocking, Debra Killings, Tina Gibson, Raimundo Thomas, Dooney Jones, Tanya Smith , Charles Pettaway, James "Diamond" Williams , Jeanie Tracy, Joi, David Morris, Mavis Staples, Shirley Murdock, Skyler Jett, Tony Lindsay, Tony Lindsey (background vocals).
Audio Mixers: Curtis Mayfield; David Frazer; Dexter Simmons; Mike Peterson; Tim Harrigan; Michael Peterson; Alvin Speights; Organized Noize; Roger ; Rosemary Woods; Thom "TK" Kidd; Carlos Glover.
Liner Note Author: Curtis Mayfield.
Recording information: Curtom Recording Studio, Atlanta, GA; Doppler Recording Studios, Atlanta, GA; Tarpan Studios, San Rafael, CA.
Directors: Joy Bailey; Rosemary Woods.
Editors: Curtis Mayfield; Rosemary Woods; William Allgood.
Photographers: Dana Lixenberg; Lloyd Wolf.
Unknown Contributor Roles: Ron Weisner; Aretha Franklin.
Arranger: Narada Michael Walden.
That Curtis Mayfield is still gracing us with his soulful presence is a miracle. His comeback from paralysis has been quiet, slow and steady. Mayfield's delicate, breathy falsetto defined the era of late-'60s/early-'70s soul. The man who sang "Superfly" and "Freddie's Dead" had, and still has, a rare gift: a combination of abounding talent and social conscience. On NEW WORLD ORDER, which has nothing to do with George Bush and everything to do with the continuing saga of the king of smooth soul music, both his sound and his conscience remain intact.
The arrangements are, as always, spare, even gritty. A single, piercing guitar note wails in the background, as Mayfield seems to barely touch the notes he sings. He just brushes up against them at first, then embraces them like long lost lovers. On "Ms. Martha," a slow-grooved tribute to a neighborhood woman's quiet power, Mayfield enlists the help of gospel supervoice Mavis Staples. Here, and throughout, the message is real, unadorned, but always positive.