Curtis Mayfield – There’s No Place Like America Today (1975)

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CURTIS MAYFIELD
There’s No Place Like America Today
Released 1975 on Curtom
Reissue on Charley / Snapper 2001

1 Billy Jack 6:07
2 When Seasons Change 5:23
3 So In Love 5:10
4 Jesus 6:10
5 Blue Monday People 4:45
6 Hard Times 3:42
7 Love To The People 4:06

   Arranged By – Rich Tufo
Bass – Lucky Scott*
Design – Lockart*
Drums – Quinton Joseph
Engineer – Roger Anfinsen
Guitar – Phil Upchurch
Illustration – Peter Palombi
Keyboards – Rich Tufo
Keyboards, Guitar – Curtis Mayfield
Percussion [Congas And Bongos] – Henry Gibson
Producer, Written-By – Curtis Mayfield

_____________________________

(Special Indepedence Day post for our United States readers…)

It’s hard to pick a favorite Curtis Mayfield album, and my judgment is
surely clouded by the fact that this album was under-celebrated at the
time and still often overlooked.  But as speaking objectively as I can,
this is surely Mayfield at the top of his game.  And possibly my
favorite album.  Clive Anderson’s liner notes on this Charly reissue may
be a bit pretentious, opening up with a citation from Wordsworth, but
they do pretty much nail the album and do it justice.  The album is truly like
an extended meditation on the American underclass, and particularly the
despair in the Black communities of the mid-70s.  He is right to point
out that (unlike previous albums, like his landmark Superfly), this
record “refrains from excoriating Black Americans for their
predicament.”  Gone are the warnings about self-destruction, as well as
the anthems of ‘racial uplift’ like Move On Up or Miss Black America.
It’s as if the utopian optimism born in the Civil Rights movement, and
its counterpart in revolutionary consciousness like that found in the
Panthers, have fizzled out into a resignation to grim realities.
Still, the record may be spare and solemn, but it’s not bleak.  Music
can still get you through the Hard Times, and Mayfield manages to show
us the redemption found in everyday moments and daily struggle, of
turning to the people close to you when everything else has let you
down.

It’s worth pointing out that the song ‘Hard Times’ was
first recorded by Baby Huey on his one and only album, produced by
Mayfield.  And even if it’s one of the funkier cuts on the record, it’s
still downbeat, much more so than the Baby Huey’s frantic version.  Also
there’s no adlib about living on Oreos and drinking Thunderbird.
Further testament to Mayfield’s genius that he could recast his own
compositions into such different contexts and wring two different
stories out of them.

this is also one of the BEST SOUNDING CD’s I OWN.  It makes me want to find the other Charly pressings of Curits’
stuff, because the Rhino reissues sound really harsh by comparison.  I have the vinyl too and this Charly / Snapper is as close as you’ll get to perfection short of that.

 

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23 Comments

  1. password:

    vibes

  2. One of the greatest albums of all time 🙂

  3. i agree with your assessment of 'there's no place like america today.' an absolute gem in the curtis mayfield canon.

  4. Hi Flabbergasted,

    would you consider using maybe another or second provider for the downloads? i ran into your page by accident ages ago and have had a look ever since. now with depositfilesi would have to set up an account and pay for it. really i would rather pay you something for your great work. keep it up . with best regards from hamburg, germany.

    hannes

  5. To me Curtis' last really great album.
    "Back to the World" was the last to feature full orchestra in the stlye of his solo debut, followed by three albums with quite similar sound, "Sweet Exorcist", "Got To Find A Way" and "No Place…" all more or less stripped down to the core band of guitar, piano, bass, percussion with only occasional use of strings or brass.
    What they missed in instrumental scope was more than compensated by the intense and tight interplay. Not to mention several solo spots for Curtis' effective wah-wah playing (or is that Phil Upchurch?)
    Not to use the orchestra like on earlier albums may have been simply a question of budget, but it actually helps bring across the rather subdued world view, you mentioned.

    This is a most welcome upgrade, many thanks!

  6. It is indeed a great album!

  7. yeah Puerco, the word that always comes up is "lean"..
    >>several solo spots for Curtis' effective wah-wah playing (or is that Phil Upchurch?) <<<

    You know I've been wondering this exact same thing about these records. Upchurch is one of my unsung heroes. He and Curtis worked so well together that I often can't tell their playing apart. 'Exorcist' and "Got To Find a Way' are both lovely albums too but this one has the SONGS for me.

    Curtis brought back orchestra for the soundtrack record "Short Eyes" a few years later, which I'd almost forgotten about.

  8. Ohhhh, man. I was delighted to see this one featured here. I don't know that I can bring myself to agree with you that it's CM's best (have spent waaaay too much time wearing out Curtis/Live and Curtis, and Superfly was part of my coming of age), but yeah, a lean gem if ever there was one. Does it go without saying that 'So in Love' is transcendent? Christ, this is all probably sounding really asinine and pompous. Anyway, many thanks for this, F.–greatly looking forward to hearing the pressing.

  9. I probably meant "best" as in it's the best whenever I decide to put it on the stereo. 🙂 Seriously though, I came to this album after playing the @#%@# out of his first five solo albums, so it kind of blew me away and stayed in rotation for a long time. 'Superfly' is of course a masterpiece. I really like Curtis Live especially hearing those tunes without the orchestrations.

  10. Yeah, this one is great, but to my humble opinion "Cannot find the way" is the best represantion of his style

  11. This one is great, but to my humble opinion "Cannot find the way" is the best representation of his style

  12. Upsss, the title is "Got to Find a Way". " cannot find the way" is the title of the song on that album

  13. Thanks very much!

  14. Sou fã desse site! Tem como repostar o disco do Burnier & Cartier?
    Obrigado!

  15. Probably agree with your assessment Mr Vibes – or can I call you Flabber?! – this was always one of my favourite Curtis albums back in the day, and my old vinyl copy got played to within an inch of it's life. Thanks for reminding me of just how good it is.

  16. Oh man, thanks for this one.

  17. Choosing a favorite Curtis album is a pointless endeavor… Listening to "Back To The World" today and deciding it's my favorite. But that's what happens every time I haven't visited one of the aural houses Mr. Mayfield built for us – I decide I would never live anywhere else, until get restless again.

  18. A classic album. When I first heard this album I was upset because his songs finished too soon. I would be just getting into the groove as they say, when the song would finish. Damn it! Thanks.

  19. I wound up at this site because I was looking for this album and maybe one or two other Jorge Ben albums from the same period. Thank you so much not only for the incredible selection but also the useful and informed commentary.

  20. thanks for the upload man, but for me the password "vibes" does not work…

  21. Raphael, please take a look at the info posted in the right-hand column and see if it helps you —>

  22. hmmm, anyone home?

  23. Many thanks for this great album!

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