“Listen – Curtis Mayfield – Give Me Your Love (Love Song) – MP3″
I hope that everyone had a most excellent weekend (many of us here in the States have it extended through Monday due to Memorial Day). It has – against all odds – been fairly warm and sunny, though the nice weather brings with it the first signs of the summer tourist onslaught, in which the simplest trip to the grocery store becomes an odyssey.
Things hereabouts have been exceedingly groovy. Saturday night I fell by the world famous Asbury Lanes to see my brother (CJ Grogan) play alongside one of the legends of the NYC/NJ 80s garage/mod revival scene, that being Mod Fun, a band that has reconstituted here in the 21st Century with new songs and an updated sound. Though I spent a lot of time with the boys back in the day, I hadn’t seen them play (or see two of them at all) in over 20 years.
It was old home night at the lanes, where in addition to Mod Fun, and all surviving members of my band from back in the day – The Phantom Five – there were a number of other 80s era musicians and scenesters present. A good time was had by all, and my brother ended his set with an impromptu Phantom Five reunion, which included vocals by yours truly (check it out over at Iron Leg). It was a gas.
That said, I welcome you all to yet another week at the Funky16Corners Blog. This week we’re taking it on the road (figuratively anyway) to Chitown.
At the end of every week I tend to sit down, dig into the archives of prepared material for inclusion herein, and gather together the three (usually) numbers that I plan on writing up the following week. Last week, as I was writing up the Betty Everett tune I presented on Friday, and doing the research for that post I realized that I had a grip of Chicago stuff ready and raring to go, and presenting them as part of a ‘themed’ week struck me as a good idea.
The cool thing is that the three tune I’ll be posting all fall into their own stylistic areas, with something smooth, something funky and a bit of classic, early Northern-style soul. The connecting thread – aside from the geographic one – is that they all have something, directly or indirectly to do with the mighty Curtis Mayfield.
In the annals of Chicago soul there are a number of musical giants, but Curtis Mayfield rises above them all. Starting out as a member of the Impressions, as a songwriter, producer and arranger Curtis Mayfield was by far the biggest influence on the Chicago soul sound of the 1960s and 1970s, creating a style that spread well beyond the Cook County borders. His influence was all-encompassing, much like Allen Toussaint in New Orleans, or Gamble and Huff in Philly.
The tune I bring you today is one of the lesser known – yet finest – cuts from the legendary 1972 soundtrack LP from the film ‘Superfly’. Producing two significant hits in the title cut and ‘Freddie’s Dead’ as well as the influential ‘Pusherman’, the ‘Superfly’ OST is not only one of the finest albums in Mayfield’s long and illustrious discography, but also one of the finest soundtracks ever.
The tune I bring you today ‘Give Me Your Love (Love Song)’ sees Mayfield bridging the gap between standard song structure and soundtrack ambience, building a long, atmospheric blaxplo groove yet keeping enough structure in the mix that what you’re getting is essentially still a “song”. Dig, if you will the Johnny Pate arrangement, wherein the sweeping strings are juxtaposed against the wah-wah guitar, bringing to mind a slighty sexier (and somewhat lighter) take on the Norman Whitfield ‘Papa Was a Rolling Stone’ template. You get all of that, plus Mayfield’s soulful, whispery tenor, one of the greatest voices of the classic soul era.
It may not be the heaviest thing Curtis ever did, but I think you’ll find yourself giving this one several repeat listenings.
As always, I hope you dig it, and I’ll be back on Wednesday with something soulful.