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Soul - Released November 1, 1972 | Curtom Classics, LLC

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Rock - Released January 29, 2016 | Rhino

Like Face Value before it, Both Sides could be characterized as a "divorce album," but marriage wasn't the only thing Phil Collins was leaving behind in 1993. He was two years removed from We Can't Dance, the 1991 album that turned out to be his last with Genesis, so at a personal and professional crossroads, Collins holed up in his home studio to write and record the songs that became Both Sides. Apart from the relatively chipper "We're Sons of Our Fathers" and "We Wait and We Wonder," a percolating number that feels like a retort to Peter Gabriel's Us, Both Sides is moody without being menacing; it never slides into the stark, skeletal territory that gave "In the Air Tonight" a sense of unease. Rather, Collins turns inward, reveling in a hushed melancholy that conveys heartbreak and loss while skirting the edge of desperation. Song titles tell the tale: there are "Both Sides of the Story," but you "Can't Turn Back the Years," and "Can't Find My Way" and you wind up as "Survivors." By abandoning his thirst for big pop hooks and swapping introspection for art rock, he winds up with an album that is quietly compelling: it lacks the big hits but it feels complete as an album. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Soul - Released August 1, 1975 | Curtom Classics, LLC

The title is intended in an ironic way, as illustrated not only by the cover -- a grim parody of late-'40s/early-'50s advertising imagery depicting white versus black social reality -- but the grim yet utterly catchy and haunting opening number, "Billy Jack." A song about gun violence that was years ahead of its time, it's scored to an incisive horn arrangement by Richard Tufo. "When Seasons Change" is a beautifully wrought account of the miseries of urban life that contains elements of both gospel and contemporary soul. The album's one big song, "So in Love," which made number 67 on the pop charts but was a Top Ten soul hit, is only the prettiest of a string of exquisite tracks on the album, including "Blue Monday People" and "Jesus" and the soaring finale, "Love to the People," broken up by the harder-edged "Hard Times." The album doesn't really have as clearly delineated a body of songs as Mayfield's earlier topical releases, but it's in the same league with his other work of the period and represents him near his prime as a composer. © Bruce Eder /TiVo
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R&B - Released October 16, 2020 | Hollywood Records

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Soul - Released February 7, 1965 | Geffen

As with the previous year's Keep on Pushing, People Get Ready featured another big Curtis Mayfield hit, one that made as strong an impact on the civil-rights movement as on the charts. One of the most beautiful songs of the '60s, "People Get Ready" set the oft-used "gospel train" as its theme, with Mayfield speaking of faith for the present and deliverance in the future, while Sam Gooden and Fred Cash contributed beautiful harmony vocals (and a few lines of their own). That career touchstone aside, the rest of the material on the LP wasn't as strong as Keep on Pushing or the Impressions' marvelous debut. The two winners were "Woman's Got Soul" and "You Must Believe Me," both in a similar brassy, uptown mode as expected from the Chicago soul kingpins. A few of the songs were hauled out from as long as three years ago, like Mayfield's own version of "Can't Work No Longer," a Billy Butler hit he'd produced (also in 1965). The exceptional harmonies and arrangements were still in place, but for a few songs it was clear that Mayfield had tired of concocting novelties that looked back to the age of doo wop. © John Bush /TiVo
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Soul - Released January 10, 2006 | Rhino

The title read like a concept album (and the opener seemed to introduce a larger idea at work), but The Young Mods' Forgotten Story hung together only as the usual (read: brilliant) late-'60s LP from the Impressions: a few solid songs with a social or inspirational viewpoint and the rest featuring Curtis Mayfield's continuing exploration of love in all its forms. Two of the message songs were among the best of the group's history; "Choice of Colors" tenderly investigated black feelings about race, while the party song "Mighty Mighty (Spade & Whitey)" gave blacks and whites a rare chance to celebrate empowerment together. Mayfield's romantic songs ranged farther than usual, from the innocent, delicate "The Girl I Find" (complete with turtledove cries) to a deconstruction of the end of a long affair ("Seven Years") to the overbearing "Jealous Man," all with great arrangements provided by veteran Johnny Pate and newcomer Donny Hathaway. (Hathaway's addition didn't alter the Impressions' sound significantly, though his harmonic expertise and affinity for the church do find their way into a couple of tracks.) Only one song, "Wherever You Leadeth Me," found the group treading water (it could just as easily have appeared five years earlier). The rest was intriguing late-'60s soul from one of the best acts in the business. © John Bush /TiVo
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Soul - Released November 1, 1972 | Curtom Classics, LLC

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Soul - Released March 10, 1996 | Curtom Classics, LLC

Rhino's The Very Best of Curtis Mayfield is devoted to material the legendary soul man recorded after leaving the Impressions, focusing particularly on his classic songs from the early '70s. There are more comprehensive compilations on the market, namely the sublime double-disc Anthology and the flawed but worthwhile box set People Get Ready, but this is the best bet for anyone wanting a concise sampler of Mayfield's groundbreaking funk-soul, since it contains all of the bare-bone essentials: "(Don't Worry) If There's a Hell Below, We're All Going to Go," "Move on Up," "We Got to Have Peace," "Freddie's Dead," "Superfly," "Pusherman," "Future Shock," and "Kung Fu." Yes, Mayfield also made cohesive, frequently stunning albums during this era and his work with the Impressions was just as influential, but this disc benefits from its narrow focus, since the end result is a collection ideal for the curious and the novice, while also providing a great listen for anyone who already knows the records. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Soul/Funk/R&B - Released February 27, 2007 | RCA - Legacy

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Soul - Released January 1, 1990 | CAPITOL CATALOG MKT (C92)

No less than 18 years passed between the release of Curtis Mayfield's original Superfly soundtrack in 1972 and the release of The Return of Superfly: Original Soundtrack in 1990. To say that the African-American musical landscape had changed considerably during those 18 years would be a major understatement. Urban contemporary, not soul, had become R&B's dominant direction, and rap had become the music of choice for young Blacks. So this CD emphasized rap, but it also acknowledged 1970s Black culture by offering five new tunes by Mayfield, one of the era's icons. The new Mayfield material, which includes "Superfly 1990" (a duet with Ice-T) and "Showdown," isn't in a class with "Pusherman" and other gems he recorded in the 1970s, but they demonstrated that the singer could still be enjoyable. Meanwhile, all of the rap selections are by West Coast MCs, and they range from the late Eazy-E's "Eazy Street" (a menacing gangsta rap ditty) and the underrated Def Jef's "On the Real Tip" to Tone Loc's cult song "Cheeba Cheeba" (which took its share of criticism for promoting marijuana use). Also noteworthy is the Uzi Bros.' "There's a Riot Jumpin' Off," a commentary on the American prison system. To be sure, this collection falls short of the excellence of the original Superfly soundtrack of 1972, but most of the material is decent, if less than essential. © Alex Henderson /TiVo
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Soul - Released April 26, 1982 | Boardwalk Records

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Soul - Released July 1, 1987 | Curtom Classics, LLC

Although Curtis Mayfield's album sales had decreased significantly by the late '70s, the smooth Chicago soul veteran remained a popular live attraction well into the '80s. Audiences still longed to hear gems from both his years with the influential Impressions and his early solo hits, and he gives them exactly what they want on this album (released as both a single CD and a two-CD set). Mayfield reminds us just how great the Impressions were on heartfelt versions of such '60s classics as "Gypsy Woman" (which greatly influenced the Isley Brothers), "It's Alright" and the inspirational "People Get Ready," and is equally captivating on incisive, early-'70s sociopolitical hits like "Pusherman," "Freddie's Dead," and "If There's a Hell Below." Live in Europe's main flaw isn't Mayfield's performances, but a band that, although decent, just doesn't go that extra mile or do this superb material justice. Horns, a main ingredient of many of his hits, are sorely missed -- especially on "Move on Up" -- and Buzz Amato's keyboards simply can't take their place. © Alex Henderson /TiVo
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Reggae - Released December 13, 2019 | Mensch House Records

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R&B - Released November 5, 2020 | Music Manager

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Reggae - Released July 13, 2018 | Dub Store Records

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Soul - Released January 1, 1977 | Curtom Classics, LLC

Never Say You Can't Survive was the last Curtis Mayfield album done in a pure soul vein for the next three years -- its style and sound place it in a direct continuity with the rest of his output right back to 1958. The singing on love songs such as "Show Me Love," "Just Want to Be With You," and "When We're Alone" is among the most achingly lyrical and passionate of his career. The title track boasts ravishing backup singing by Kitty & the Haywoods (who also perform outstandingly on "I'm Gonna Win Your Love") and a beautiful arrangement by James Mack. The album's final track, "Sparkle" (written for Sam O'Steen's movie of the same name, starring Philip Michael Thomas, Irene Cara, and Lonette McKee), gets one of three distinct treatments that the song ever received (the others from the soundtrack and Aretha Franklin's version). © Bruce Eder /TiVo
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Soul - Released November 1, 1972 | Curtom Classics, LLC

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Soul - Released February 1, 1977 | Curtom Classics, LLC

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R&B - Released August 22, 2006 | Rhino

Lou Johnson's Sweet Southern Soul is a solid album of journeyman soul. Recorded in 1969 for Atlantic offshoot Cotillion, the mix of ingredients is classic: production by Jerry Wexler and Tom Dowd, musical backing by the Muscle Shoals crew, songs by Don Covay, Eddie Hinton, and Curtis Mayfield. Indeed, the whole thing reads like a textbook to Southern soul in the late '60s. The only thing missing is a compelling lead vocal from Johnson. He certainly has soul and at times sounds like a contender (on the testifying "People in Love" or the bubbling "Rock Me Baby"), but mostly he just sounds average. The choice of cover songs is not too stellar, as the Drifters' "This Magic Moment" and Ben E. King's "Don't Play That Song (You Lied)" don't translate very well. On the flip side of that, Johnson's take on the country chestnut "She Thinks I Still Care" is a lovely, relaxed version that adds something nice and soulful to the original. Sweet Southern Soul is a record that may not justify its lofty status among soul collectors, but is very pleasant nonetheless. © Tim Sendra /TiVo
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Film Soundtracks - Released December 18, 2020 | Walt Disney Records