Nubag #1 (a year in the life)

My Mama Told Me – Justin Hinds and the Dominos


So much to say but, words, for me, don’t do thoughts/feelings justice. That said, I will do my best with the vocabulary I ‘have’ in an effort to communicate my thoughts/feelings on the what, why, how, when of the nubag (new bag) that I feel like working out of for the new year.

Interestingly and without my knowledge (but not without my understanding), the time has come and the nu beat is being played and the dance begins TODAY.

Not ONLY is it the dawn of spring it is also the dawn of the final phase (for me) and rebirth is coming as we ‘sail into the mystic’…

My aim is to post a tune every day between Feb 8th (new years day) and Jan 27th (year end), a marathon for sure but I will give it my best ‘shot’. The music will be diverse.

First up a top ranking piece of, (late), Ska from a king of Jamaican music, Justin Hinds (and the Dominos), one of the pioneers of the vocal group style at his/their very best. Recorded for the mighty Duke, the Trojan, Reid and released on his Treasure Isle Label. Echoes of and certainly inspired by Curtis Mayfield and Jerry Butler’s early Soul killer .. I’m a Telling You. One more example of Curtis Mayfield’s contribution to the development of Jamaican music.


musicology #0667

aSongforCon #6

Curtis Mayfield – The Makings of YOU

“almost impossible to do…reciting the makings of YOU”

one from the King for my princess. x

musicology #0656

Tribute to Don Pedro #6

the Sensations – Right On Time

Out of the Rhythm & Blues and into the Rocksteady with this majestic cover of the Impressions cut. Rarely does a cover do justice to the original for me but this one is an exception to the rule..

Written by Master Curtis Mayfield and originally recorded by the Impressions for the 1966 Ridin’ High LP the Sensations recorded this version in 1967. Released in the UK on Graeme Goodall’s Doctor Bird label this is a BiG piece from the Sensations, a group originally formed by Jimmy Riley and Cornel Campbell that featured, (along the way), Buster Riley, Aaron ‘Bobby’ Davis, Johnny Osbourne and Jackie Parris, who the lead is on todays fine piece im not sure but i’m guessing its Jackie Parris rather than Jimmy who had moved onto one of Jamaica’s greatest vocal groups the Uniques by 1967 but it could even be Cornel Campbell?

one thing IS for SURE…the tune is a top ranking, nailed on marrow trembler and one that I’m sure Don Pedro will appreciate as the surf hits the shore on another day in paradise and he watches the sun sink over the pacific as the Don is world renowned for ALWAYS being ‘Right On Time’.

BIG up yourself Don Pedro….

musicology #568

Down The Road A Piece #4

(Leroy Hutson – Love The Feeling)

Saturday night at Vintage was B.I.G. The Soul Casino was rocking..Andy Weatherall threw down at the ‘Warehouse’ and the company kept was SUPERB. I wasn’t sure whether I would be able to make it through to see Leroy Hutson on Sunday night? but it was one of the main reasons for attending so I thought that if I stumbled around the festival into the early evening then I had a chance…

Why is Leroy such a legend?, (other than his musical genius), for those of us who had the pleasure to be ‘on the, (Rare Groove), scene’ back in the day (85-87), Leroy Hutson was one of the primary artists. His ‘Hutson II’ LP was IN DEMAND to say the least. If you were there you know what I’m talking about and to hear him perform today’s slice of the musicology pie Live and Direct was an experience never to be forgotten.

The legend wasn’t due on until 9pm so it was touch and go but I managed it, (due in part to Craig Charles who was on fire for the two and a half hours leading up to Leroy coming on). As soon as he walked on though I was buzzing and immediately found my second wind. The man proceeded to tear it up and wove his magic leaving the crowd screaming for more especially when he enticed a call and response session on today’s slice the Rare Groove classic ‘Love The Feeling’ getting the Kittens to sing “Love I Love I Love” and the Cats to sing “The way you make me feel” was as good as it gets and anyone who was there knows what I’m talking about. For me it will always be a cherished memory..Recorded for and released on Curtis Mayfield’s Curtom label in 1976.

musicology #507

CoversWeek2 #4

(Cornell Campbell – Ten To One)

Slipping back into the sweet sounds of Jamaica for today’s cut with a piece by one of the islands great artists the MAJESTIC and pioneering Cornell Campbell . A Cat who begun his recording career at the tender age of 11 in the mid 1950’s for Coxsone, moved on to record with King Edwards in the mid 60’s, harmonised within ‘The Sensations’ for Duke Reid’s Treasure Isle, returned triumphantly to Studio 1 with ‘The Eternals’ and then begun a long solo career that continues HALF A CENTURY later to this day.

Here heard cutting his teeth on a Curtis Mayfield and The Impressions soul classic. As far as I’m concerned an absolute marrow trembler from start to finish and yet another musical diamond mined from the Studio1 archives. One listen should leave us in no doubt as to the influence both Curtis Mayfield and Coxsone Dodd had on Jamaican musicology….LISTEN TUNE.

musicology #483


(Curtis Mayfield – Billy Jack)

So…after yesterday’s introduction to the musicology of Soul it’s time to turn up the heat with a cut from the 70’s..not to say that yesterday’s piece from the Miracles wasn’t ‘hotter than ten fire side’ as, for me, it most certainly is but as is often the case at the dawn of things, (the birth of Soul in this instance), it’s not always as accessible until the context is expanded and the horizon widened…

Significantly it was today’s artist that first touched both my conscious and unconscious in equal amounts beginning an appreciation for the man and his ‘language’ that started from babe in arms due, in part, to my dad who is a BIG Curtis Mayfiled, (and the Impressions), fan. One of the first LP’s that I can remember in fine detail is Curtis Live, (and it’s counterpart ‘Curtis’ you know the one with the man himself on the cover in them flared strides looking of into the sunset. I have featured and wrote about Curtis many times over the past three years so excuse me if I don’t repeat what I have already written for the sake of ‘information’.

Simply put….for me Curtis is Soul personified and his message has inspired me MANY, MANY times along the ‘way’…

Highlighted from his eponymous and hard hitting 1975 social commentary set ‘There’s No Place Like America Today’…..

Just out Monday
Run into a friend
Down the street, down the street
Where I live
Ahh ahh sad things begin
I could feel from within
From the message
From the message
He had to give

‘Bout a buddy of mine
Running out of time
His life run out of time
Somebody past noon
Shot across the room
And now the man no longer lives

Too bad about him
Too sad about him
Don’t get me wrong
The man is gone
But it’s a wonder he lived this so long

Up in the city they called him Boss Jack
But down home he was a alley cat
Ah! didn’t care nothing about being black
Ah! Billy Jack

Ahh can’t be no fun, can’t be no fun
To be shot, shot with a hand gun
Body sprawled out, you without a doubt
Running people out, there on the floor

Ah, ah bad bloody mess
Shot all up in his chest
Shot in the chest
One sided duel, gun and a fool
What a way to go

Up in the city they called him Boss Jack
But down home he was a alley cat
Ah Didn’t care nothin’ bout being black
Ah Billy Jack

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.


musicology #411

Terry Callier #3

(Terry Callier – Look At Me Now)

Mr Callier’s first recording. Released as a 45 in 1963 !!

Now my people think that I just fake it,
I know I do things they don’t understand,
So I’ve got to show ’em I can take it yeah,
I’ve got to show ’em I can be a man,
Still there’s somethings that never have appealed to me,
Like standing out in front of a crowd,
Well people just you wait and see,
I’m gonna give you reason to be proud,

I’m gonna make it some day,
I’m gonna make it somehow,
Then I’ll be able to say hey,
Take a look at me know,
Yeah look at me know,

Well now my woman thinks I’m just a dreamer,
And she’s right about me I suppose,
But I could never, never, never be a schemer,
I don’t know the things a schemer knows,
But I do know there’s a better day coming up soon,
And baby just you wait and see,
I’ll find us a light in this darkness,
If you just have faith in me,

I’m gonna make it some day yeah,
Gonna make it somehow,
I’ll be able to say yeah, yeah, yeah
Baby look at me know,
Look at me know,
Look at me know,
Look at me know

musicology #409

Terry Callier #1

(Terry Callier – What Colour Is Love)

“After the storm say there must be a calm” and as much as the process of catharsis continues for me I feel like the, (metaphorical), dark clouds are lifting and the sun is beginning to break through. Intense and passionate, (whatever the situation), I tend to immerse myself in the joy and the pain of existence and am always looking to engage with the project of living rather than watch it pass me by. I don’t believe in the afterlife and have witnessed how short our time on this beautiful rock can be. Not for me to look back and wonder what might have been so the “what if” question is never asked. Music for me doesn’t imitate life it opens a dialogue and last weeks theme has delivered a space for reflection and resolution.

Today’s cut kicks off a week long tribute to a Cat who has been an important and valued guide over the past few months the inspirational Terry Callier whose qualities are beyond doubt and question. A poet who stands tall in an age where it seems to me many are retreating to Plato’s ‘cave’ of illusion and appearance.

Highlighted from his 1973 set ‘What Colour Is Love’

Listen Tune. 

“Is it wrong or is it right,
Is it black or is it white,
What colour is love,
Is it here or is it there,
Is it really everywhere,
What colour is love,
Is it strong like the mountains
Or deep like a fountain,that’s flowing free
And what about me,
How can you receive,
If youre not a believer
Is it blue like the sky,
And does it really reach that high,
What colour is love,
Is it near or is it far,
Is it distant like a star,
What colour is love,
Does it glow like an ember,
And do you you remember,
If love doesn’t last,
Does it live in the past,
And a heart cannot live,
If a heart isn’t giving,
When it’s over does it show,
Does it leave an afterglow
And I really want to know,
What colour is love?

musicology #398

Sound&Fury #2

(Terry Callier – Darker Than A Shadow)

Slowing down the tempo a piece with this the second cut on the sound&fury courtesy of a Cat who has been a constant feature on themusicologist’s playlists over the past few weeks..poetic lyricologist of the highest order, childhood friend of Curtis Mayfield and one time Cabrini Green resident, Terry Callier.

This majestic slice is borrowed from his 2002 set ‘Speak Your Peace’. Just like to add thas far as I am concerned Terry Callier is an artist who deserves our support. Buy his sets, go to his concerts and let him know that he has some ‘warriors’ by his side.

“Darker than a shadow,
Darker than a shadow,

I was asleep and having dreams,
Awakened by a silent scream,
A raging wind and clouds of steam,
It was..darker than a shadow,

Unprepared for scenes like these,
With heavy air and boiling seas,
Destruction of societies,
It was..darker than a shadow,

What type insanity is this,
Standing on a precipice,
That leads into a deep abyss,
And it is darker than a shadow,
Darker than a shadow,

There was a storm like this before,
Aftermath where angels walked,
Poisoned waters, wasted shores,
And it was..darker than a shadow,

Is this all we have learned my friends,
We’re doing now what they did then,
Repeating great mistakes again,
Darker than a shadow,

What type insanity is this,
We are walking in a scorching mist,
Leads down to a deep abyss,
And it is darker than a shadow,
Darker than a shadow,
Darker than a shadow,

And then from out the deepest void,
There came a flaming asteroid,
One third of this world was destroyed,
It was…darker than a shadow

Mankind was in a raging fit,
And thermo-neuclear fires were lit,
We never saw the end of it,
‘Cause it was…darker than a shadow,

What mad insanity is this,
Standing on a precipice,
That leads into a deep abyss,
It is darker than a shadow
What type insanity is this,
Standing on a precipice,
That leads into a deep abyss,
And it is darker than a shadow,
Darker than a shadow,
Darker than a shadow,
Darker than a shadow,
Darker than a shadow,
Darker than a shadow,
Darker than a shadow,
Darker than a shadow”

musicology #378

Modernist #6

(The Impressions – Say It’s Alright)

I was going to end this theme tomorrow but on reflection there’s too much music yet to be featured and such is the quality of the dialogue from the commentators I’m letting it run for another week.

A large part of the debate has been the use of the word ‘Modernist’ and whether it was in fact used by anyone at the time? with that in mind hold this quote from the book ‘Soul Stylists’ compiled by Paolo Hewitt which is full of anectodes from Cats who claim, (and I see no reason to believe they are lying), to have participated in the ‘nameless thing’ of the early 1960’s.

“The bands from our youth club in Hastings were dressed like The Shadows on the cover of their first album; very neat red jackets, dark ties and white shirts. Then I spotted these strangely dressed guys from another school. They had short Italian haircuts and they wore bum freezer jackets with cut away collars and half belts on the back, narrow ties, tapered trousers with slits up the sides and side laced winklepickers. I went up to one of them and asked;
“Why are you dressed like that?” and he spoke the immortal words;
“Because I’m a Modernist”

The cat’s name is Lloyd Johnson and no date is mentioned but from the sounds of the ‘clobber’ it’s likely to have been before 1964

From themusicologist’s perspective what is beyond doubt are the release dates of the music contained on the theme which is obviously, (in almost all cases), not subjective and delivers insight into the most important aspect of any ‘scene’..the music and today’s cut is, in my mind, one of the greatest pieces of mod/ernist musicology of the period from quite possibly the driving force behind the winds of change none other than Curtis Mayfield who has featured heavily on themusiciologist over the last few years but also in my life since babe in arms.

hold this next quote on today’s cut from a book on the legend by author Peter Burns.

“Recorded in August 1963 the horn arrangement, a suggestion of Mayfield’s, took it’s inspiration from a Bobby Bland single but the idea for the song itself had come from a conversation between Curtis and Fred, (Cash, member of ‘the holy trinity’), one night when the Impressions were on tour in Nashville. Mayfield was effusively expounding some ideas and future plans and Cash was interjecting from time to time and concurred with “Right” and “Well that’s allright”, suddenly Curtis had a hook line ‘Say It’s Alright’. They cut this historic track at Universal studios in Chicago just two months after Curtis’s hit production of Major Lance’s ‘The Monkey Time’ which was still riding high on the charts. All the vital elements came together and this modern classic brought The Impressions back even stronger than before”.

Released on ABC-Paramount and arranged by Johnny Pate

“Say It’s alright, (it’s alright), say it’s alright, (it’s alright),
It’s alright have a good time cause it’s alright wooohh it’s alright,
We’re gonna move it slow, when lights are low,
When you move it slow it sounds like a moan and it’s alright wooohh it’s alright
Now listen to the beat, trying to catch your feet,
You got Soul and everybody know that it’s alright wooohhh it’s alright,

When you wake up early in the morning feeling sad like so many of us do,
Hum a little Soul make life your goal and surely something’s gotta come to you,
And say it’s alright, say it’s alright…it’s alright have a good time cause it’s alright woohhh it’s alright,
Now everybody clap your hands give yourself a chance,
You got Soul and everybody know that it’s alright wooohh it’s alright,

Some day I’ll find me a woman who will love and treat me real nice,
Then my roams? gotta go and my love she will know from morning noon and night,
And she’s gotta say it’s alright..say it’s alright,
It’s alright have a good time cause it’s alright woohhh it’s alright,
Now everybody clap your hands, now give yourself a chance…you got Soul now baby..”

musicology #375

Modernist #3

(Major Lance – The Monkey Time)

Following yesterday’s dynamic duo of, (an extract from), Johnny Spencer’s excellent ‘Mod/ernist’ critique combined with the equally inspirational Miracles cut I would like to continue by quoting from a piece by Dick Hebdige who wrote a paper, (presumably for a thesis), in 1974 called ‘Style Of The Mods’. The majority of it, (as the title suggests), involves ‘Mods’ which is a different subject but obviously connected.

“All youth styles are threatened with the eventual neutralisation of any oppositional meaning. Mods were particularly susceptible to this combination of limited acceptance and full blooded commercial exploitation. According to George Melly the progenitors of this style appear to have been a group of working class dandies, possibly descended from the devotees of the Italianate style known through the rag trade world as ‘modern’ who were dedicated to clothes and lived in London. Only gradually and with popularisation did this group accumulate other distinctive identity symbols, (The Scooter, Pills and music). By 1963, the all night R&B clubs held this group firmly to Soho and Central London”.

In my personal experience the ‘Modernist’ of the early 1960’s steadfastedly refuses to align themselves with the ‘Mod’ movement that followed even though between 1962-1965, they shared many of the same clubs, dancehalls, venues and of course music. The ‘Modernist’ was not all all interested in imitation and therefore the music had to be Authentic. Be it Modern Jazz, Early Soul, Rhythm & Blues, Blues or the sounds of Jamaica that were beginning to be heard in and around London’s clubs at the time so NO English band imitating R&B would ever have been taken seriously. An exception may have been Georgie Fame’s Blue Fames who were BIG downstairs at the Flamingo but NEVER groups like The Animals, The Who, The Stones, Small Faces etc..they would be considered MOD bands.

Today’s slice of modernist musicology is courtesy of Major Lance whose vocal sound helped revitalise the sound of Black America. Mainly it must be said down to one man…Curtis Mayfield who in 1963 was at the forefront of the OKeh label’s re-emergance as a serious force to be reckoned with. This cut I know for a fact was a firm favourite downstairs at THE club for hip cats of the time ‘The Scene’ , (located in Ham Yard Soho). Arranged by Johnny Pate and produced by Carl Davis

Hold this quote on the cut from Robert Pruter’s definitive book on the subject ‘Chicago Soul’.

“On May 8th 1963, Lance went into the studio again and made what has to be considered recording history. He did three songs; ‘Monkey Time’, ‘Please Don’t Say No More’ and ‘Mama Didn’t Know’, the latter an answer to Curtis Mayfield’s Jan Bradley hit, (or the much more obscure Fascinations cut), from earlier in the year ‘Mama Didn’t Lie’. Monkey time was paired with ‘Mama Didn’t Know’ for Lance’s second release on OKeh, and the record became a monster hit during the summer and early fall, eventually selling more than a million copies. ‘Monkey Time’, featuring the classic brassy sound that distinguished later OKeh hits, launched the OKeh label and popularized a dance of the same name.”

musicology #371

SuchIsLife #5

(Jackie Wilson – Love Is Funny That Way)

Day five..bit later than intended but Such Is Life..

Today’s cut is from one of the greatest singers to have ever recorded….Jack Leroy Wilson Jr known simply as ‘Jackie’ who ranks right up there with the best. Jackie, Sam Cooke and Curtis Mayfield were instrumental in fusing Rhythm & Blues, Gospel and ‘Popular’ music into what became known as Soul. Of course there were others who deserve recognition but without these three it wouldn’t be the same.

Jackie’s recording career begun in 1951 but really begun to take off after replacing Clyde McPhatter, (who left to form the Drifters),  in Billy Ward’s Dominoes. In 1957 Jackie, (possibly inspired by his greatest ‘rival’ Sam Cooke), went Solo and begun his unfortunate lifelong ‘bondage’ with ‘manager’ Nat Tarnapol who is reported to be the one most responsible for robbing Jackie blind for his whole career. But the least said about him the better. Jackie racked up many hits and was quite possibly the world’s greatest performer whose stage shows are the stuff of legend. He could dance and almost sing anyone under the table but as so often seems the case died broke due to his manager’s ruthless greed and exploitation. This one from 1971, (no idea who is sharing the mic with him), was recorded and released on the Brunswick label.

Listen Tune

musicology #314

Live&Direct #10

(Curtis Mayfield – Stone Junkie Live)

Penultimate cut of the current theme and then something new on Monday…not sure what it might be but as always I’ll let the music be the shepherd.

Today’s slice of the Live&Direct pie is courtesy of the man whose musicology ‘begat’ themusicologist with my earliest musical memories; brother Curtis Mayfield with a piece from the, what is today well known, set ‘Curtis Live’. Not sure how popular it was in 1971? with it’s militant message and hard hitting social commentary but as is always the case with Authenticity it spoke to me. I was no more than a babe in arms at the time but thanks especially to my Dad who was, (and still is), a BIG Curtis fan, the music and message of Curtis burned into my consciousness and has stayed there ever since. I have read somewhere that the experiences and messages learnt from the so called formative years are the ones that exert the most powerful influence on our character. If so then Curtis was, for me, one of my most valued ‘teachers’ (along with certain members of my family), and for that I am eternally greatful. So without further delay hold this, the second cut from his ‘Live’ set to have featured on themusicologist.

Recorded at New York’s ‘Bitter End’ in 1971 and featuring the combined talents of Craig McMullen, Joseph “Lucky” Scott, ‘Master’ Henry Gibson, Tyrone McCullen and of course Curtis Mayfield.

Don’t know about Elvis but for me ‘Curtis Lives’ and always will.

“Here’s something that I know everybody knows about,
I ain’t gonna point no fingers, I don’t want nobody to point no fingers,
But I, right on yeah…I think it’ll break it down…

Stone junkie, stone, stone junkie,
Stone junkie, stone, stone junkie,
Stone junkie, stone, stone junkie,
Stone junkie, stone, stone junkie,

Times have now arrived in this nation,
There’s now a people with a different relation,
Black and white, yellow, red and blue,
All in the same bag we know it’s true,

They just,
Stone junkies, stone, stone junkies,
Stone junkies, stone, stone junkies,

Don’t let your mind become offended miss Lady,
‘Cause you ain’t no better than our typical Sadie,
You just got money, you can spend out at will,
But when comes aches and pains, you still use the pill,

I don’t mean nothin’,
Stone junkie, stone, stone junkie now,
Stone junkie, stone, stone junkie one mo’,
Stone junkie, stone, stone junkie now,
Stone junkie, stone, stone junkie,

Stone junkie, stone, stone junkie,
Stone junkie, stone, stone junkie yall,
Stone junkie, stone, stone junkie now,
Stone junkie, stone, stone junkie,

I know everybody whose heart is still thumping, (he died)
I know everybody whose heart is still thumping,
Is drinking, shooting, snorting, smoking on something,

I feel like I fell in a hole, you know that hit home everywhere,

Now that might sound funky so I don’t mean to mislead,
So you can retract the thought of you on drugs or on weed
That ain’t my business you know what you do
I’m just singing for the majority of you

Should I say mister,
Stone junkie, stone, stone junkie,
Stone junkie, stone, stone junkie,
Stone junkie, stone, stone junkie,
Stone junkie, stone, stone junkie,

Please give my fellas a great big round of applause…”

musicology #234

inmodwetrust #1

(Walter Jackson – That’s What Mama Say)

new theme on themusicologist and one that is very much a part of my musical education due to the fact that both my mum and dad were first generation mod/ernists, (1962-1966). the cuts laid down this week were all played in and around London during the above period.

first up is a piece from one of the premier ‘mod’ labels, operating out of ‘Chi’, OKeh. A label that was one of the first to focus on ‘immigrant’ music in the 1920’s recording many of the early Jazz pioneers such as Louis Armstrong, King Oliver, Sidney Bechet and Mamie Smith. After some time spent lost in the musical wilderness the company’s fortunes were reignited by employing Carl Davis in 1962 as head of A&R who had the vision to employ Curtis Mayfield as associate producer in 1963 as well as three of the best arrangers Johnny Pate, Riley Hampton and Gerald Sims who is quoted to have said

“the Chicago sound came from basically one source…Curtis Mayfield”

This one from 1963 is sung by one of themusicologist’s favourite singers, Walter Jackson. Produced by the aforementioned Carl Davis, arranged by Riley Hampton and songwriten by none other than Curtis Mayfield with, (possibly), the Impressions harmonising.

musicology #233

communication #11

(The Wailers – Dreamland)

This one is dedicated to the woman of my dreams who I have had the pleasure of spending half my life with. and even though we are in the process of seperation and our paths are taking different turns I will, (and do), love and cherish her for as long as I draw breath. Yesterday was her 40th Birthday and I wanted to lay this one down especially for her.

As far as I’m concerned this is the Wailers at their best. ‘Bunny’ delivers lead on this one with Peter and Bob harmonising in true Impressions style and is yet another piece of majesty from Coxsone Dodd’s Studio1 label. I grew up listening to and being inspired by Third World’s version of this song from their, (1977), ’96 Degrees In The Shade’ LP and much as I cherish that version this ‘marrow trembler’ brings me to my knees whenever I hear it.

musicology #227

communication #5

(Curtis Mayfield – Oh So Beautiful)

what more can I say about one of the 20th Century’s greatest musical communicators? regulars to themusicologist will know how much the man has been an inspiration to me. featured heavily over the last 20 months and will be featured many, many more times in the future.

This cut is taken from his final album New World Order. Recorded seven years after the incident that not only paralysed but was eventually to kill him. Remarkably he managed to finish this set laying on his back, (the only way he could get enough air into his lungs), singing one line at a time. After he recorded each line, the songs were edited together.

Eric Clapton is quoted to have called it “the greatest album of the year”

Curtis, step up and let us know what ‘time’ it is.


“It is glorious….
this is Curtis…never forget the life we live is oh so beautiful, yeah…
this life we live, (life we live) is oh so beautiful, (oh it’s so beautiful),

and I just want to tell you, i’m inspired to live my life,
you trust in me I trust in you, we try to do what’s right,
long as we we can grow, it doesn’t matter where you go,
there’ll always be you see, some sacrifice,

sometimes I gotta struggle day and night,
but I must do what I do,
cos life is truly really good,
now it’s time to get the money and watch my people grow,
and now I gots to go to another level,
I made my moves, and paid my dues it’s on again, (it’s on again yeah),

this life we live, (life we live) it is oh so beautiful, (is oh so beautiful), oh so beautiful,
(oh so beautiful life is beautiful),
the love we give, (the love we give), is oh so beautiful, (is oh so beautiful),

to see the sun shine,
you gotta come out sometimes,
it’s not for us to know, or wonder why,
reaching out in harmony,
praying for longevity,
just trying to find,
some meaning of my life

know when life’s got a way of making things look tough,
but still i’m thinking that is not enough,
t’aint ever make me feel like giving up,
i’m never gonna stop, don’t stop, won’t stop
i gots to have my fun,
wont be like be that it will be so dull and done
so I’m chillin’ and ill never fake the fun, (don’t fake the fun, don’t fake the fun)

this life we live, (life we live) is oh so beautiful, (oh so beautiful), oh so beautiful,
(oh so beautiful oh yeah)
this love we give, (the love we give), is oh so beautiful, (is oh so beautiful), oh so beautiful,
(so beautiful)

imagine if the people of the world girl,
could find the balance, to take the challenge, my my,
just to solve your conflict with another,
sister and brother,
father and mother, hey hey

to reap all the glory,
we must take inventory,
and love everything in it,
cos this is our planet,

this life we live, (this life we live) is oh so beautiful, (oh so beautiful), oh so beautiful,
(do you know what I’m talking about),
this love we give, (yeah, yeah), it is oh so beautiful, (oh yeah), oh so beautiful, (it is glorious),
this life we live is oh so beautiful, (you got to reap everything you sow in life, oh yeah) oh so beautiful,
keep love on the planet we live in,
this love we give, (oh yes) is oh so beautiful,
smell a rose sometime, stop this crime

musicology #190

nowordsjustmusic #6

(Never Know What You Can Do Give It A Try – Leroy Hutson)

musicology #166

malevocals2 #4

(Leroy Hutson – Paradise)

today’s cut is an 80’s Soul & Boogie classic from a man whose apprenticeship was served under one of the genres undisputed kings…Curtis Mayfield. Originally a member of vocal group ‘The Nu Tones’, he went onto feature (along with Donny Hathaway), as a member of the ‘Mayfield Singers’ after hooking up with him at Howard University.

multi talented as Singer, Songwriter, (he co-wrote Donny’s solo anthem ‘The Ghetto’), arranger and musician. he took over from Curtis as lead singer of ‘The Impressions’ in 1970

in 1973 having served his apprenticeship he went solo and released some extra fine work especially on his Hutson, and Hutson II albums. This one is a later work, (1982), taken from his only album for Elektra.

musicology #125

socialcommentaryweek #5

(Curtis Mayfield – Power To The People)

yep it’s time for Curtis. one of the undisputed, hardest hitting social commentators to have graced us with his presence. as usual his lyrics are clear and concise and leave no room for interpretation.

regulars will know how much Curtis means to themusicologist and I could never sing his praises loud enough.

so i’ll leave it to the man himself to lay it on you…for me Curtis has always spoken for the oppressed whatever colour, race or creed and his message has always transcended those enforced divisions.

pucker tune that says it all.