Album Listening Club – Super Fly discussion

By 1972, Curits Mayfield was a respected musicial artist and songwriter, having written “People Get Ready” in 1965 for his group The Impressions. In 1972, he composed the soundtrack for the Blaxploitation film Super Fly. This album, along with Marvin Gaye’s What’s Going On and the Shaft soundtrack the year before, helped explore and explain some of the black experience in the U.S. in the early 70’s.

Artwork © 1972 Curtom Records
I know these things because I read about them in Wikipedia. I’m white, and at the time was 2 years old and lived in Orange County, California.
Through the powerful music and imagery, these albums have since provided me with some insight to how some black people live in the U.S. – the up-front and institutional racism that existed then and persists to this day, and how it affects the daily life of people of color. It’s not the totality of the experience of people of color, true, but it exposes some of the worst parts of it. For that, I’m thankful, and can hopefully work toward the true equality of people in the world, starting in my own country.
As for the music – I mostly came to know it first from samples in rap songs of the late 80’s (Ice-T & Beastie Boys) and from Fishbone‘s cover of “Freddie’s Dead” on their Truth and Soul album. It’s only from the Album Listening Club that I’ve heard the whole record, I think.
And, with that – let’s jump to the comments and discuss the Super Fly soundtrack by Curtis Mayfield!
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One thought on “Album Listening Club – Super Fly discussion

  1. I'm definitely a fan of soul and funk, so this record was easy to listen to, from the music sense. Some of the strings here and there reminded me of disco strings, too, which I didn't mind.Junkie Chase – the prototype music for chase scenes in 70's TV through the end of the decade, what with the Wah-Wah guitar and horn stabs.Give Me Your Love – Dramatic, not romanticNo Thing On Me (cocaine song) – I feel like in this song I can hear more of Mayfield's influence on Fishbone, specifically "The Reality Of My Surroundings", specifically the songs "Junkies Prayer" and "Pray To The Junkiemaker". Somewhat musically, but also lyrically. Definitely – oddly? – this is the most easygoing song on the soundtrack.Think (instrumental) – Nice pastoral piece. Stands out among the darkness of the other songs.Superfly – Classic soul tune. The horns remind me of James Brown a bit, too.Lyrically, the songs told stories that are alien to me – dealing drugs, inner city slums, friends being killed, being hassled by the cops. The music with the lyrics evoke an empathy with the characters in the songs (and the movie, I would assume) – you want these people to be able to move to a better life. So much of the music on this record has a latent tension to it. Most songs aren't relaxing music to me, and Mayfield's voice underscores that sensation.The album is regarded as a classic, and I can't argue with that.


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