musicology #447

NewYork NewYork #6

(Curtis Mayfield – We’re A Winner)

Monday morning, (and I mean morning !), in the Big A and my mind has been spinning like a whirling dervish trying to make some sense of this thing we call life. Was out all day yesterday and didn’t find the time and space to throw down a cut and today’s my last day so I’m determined to lay a farewell slice of the NewYork pie on the line…was all over Manhattan like a rash yesterday starting in a well known electronic/photographic retail emporium in search of a Lumix GF1 camera after being well and truly bitten by it’s amazing reviews but no dice as they are continually out of stock such is it’s popularity, making the desire to own one even greater. Then a short walk through Hells Kitchen on a mission to find a cupcake shop for Lucy’s friend where we breezed through a flea market. Nothing really took my eye enough for me to put my hand in my ‘sky’ other than a small photograph which will serve as a visual reminder. a short walk through Times Square and onto lunch at Cipriani’s in Grand Central where we indulged in their famed Bellini..I’m not used to eating in the afternoon and after a cauliflower soup and a serving of Eggs Benedict I was well and truly stuffed and so we waddled down to the subway to take a ride downtown for a bit of retail therapy..truth was that nothing inspired me enough to buy other than a small gift a piece for Con and Fabes..I need to feel the vibes to shop and yesterday didn’t have that flavour. 4 days hasn’t been enough, I haven’t even begun to speak about what’s in my heart and on my mind. Didn’t sleep much last night and find myself standing on a crossroads..might step out? walking the streets often helps me to find the way.

The cut today has major significence for me as, (according to my dad), it was the tune that he used to rock me to sleep as a babe in arms, many moons have waned since then but my deep appreciation for Curtis continues and will remain until the ’12th of never’. Recorded live at New York’s ‘Bitter End’ in 1970 regulars on themusicologist may be aware that pieces from the set have already featured here over the years and that not only is it my oldest musical memory but also my most treasured. from the Intro on side 1 right through to the outro on side 2 every recorded moment hangs off the top branch of the musicology tree.



3 thoughts on “musicology #447

  1. even on live performances (not usually my favorites) Curtis Mayfield is brilliant!!!…this
    song is just so inspiring..


    1. Were a winner and never let anybody say,
      Boy you can’t make it ’cause some peoples mind is in your way,
      At last that blessed day has come
      And I don’t care where you come from,
      We’re all movin’ on up,
      We’re movin’ on up…


  2. Just a bit o’ background on a true classic…..

    “We’re a Winner” is a 1967 hit song recorded by The Impressions. Written and produced by Impressions lead singer Curtis Mayfield, ably supported by the great Johnny Pate. The song is notable as one of the most prominent popular recordings dealing with the subject of black pride. The song is a rousing composition whose lyrics urge that the time for self-pity is over and that one acknowledge his/her worth… even in the face of opposition. To accentuate the song’s uplifting feel, “We’re a Winner” was recorded with a live studio audience in the Impressions’ homebase of Chicago, Illinois.

    Although the Impressions had previously released inspiration singles such as “People Get Ready” and “Keep on Pushin'” those songs were more nuanced and more directly rooted in gospel music than “We’re a Winner”. Only a few other previous singles by other black mainstream artists – most notably Sam Cooke’s “A Change is Gonna Come” – had attempted to confront racial politics in America. “We’re a Winner” became an anthem for the Civil Rights Movement and its success resulted in increasing social consciousness in soul music.



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