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From the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.

Superfly

Curtis Mayfield

1972

Superfly

Album Summary

Super Fly is the third studio album by American soul musician Curtis Mayfield, released in July 1972 on Curtom Records. It was released as the soundtrack for the Blaxploitation film of the same name. Widely considered a classic of 1970s soul and funk music, Super Fly was a nearly immediate hit. Its sales were bolstered by two million-selling singles, "Freddie's Dead" (number 2 R&B charts, number 4 Pop charts) and the title track (number 5 R&B, number 8 Pop). Super Fly is one of the few soundtracks to out-gross the film it accompanied.Super Fly, along with Marvin Gaye's What's Going On (1971), was one of the pioneering soul concept albums, with its then-unique socially aware lyrics about poverty and drug abuse making the album stand out. The film and the soundtrack may be perceived as dissonant, since the film holds rather ambiguous views on drug dealers, whereas Curtis Mayfield's position is far more critical. Like What's Going On, the album was a surprise hit that record executives felt had little chance at significant sales. Due to its success, Mayfield was tapped for several film soundtracks over the course of the decade.

Wikipedia

Rating

3.68

Votes

5861

Genres

  • Soul
  • Funk
Reviews
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Tue May 11 2021
5

“Super Fly” by Curtis Mayfield (1972) Now this is how urban ‘social justice’ music is done. A concept album with a coherent, humanistic concept. Soulful poetry painting vivid scenes of the heartbreaking reality of the pain and hopelessness of black ghetto life. No pontificating on ‘root cause’; no rage directed at dubious agents of evil; no thinly disguised Marxist political posing; no plea to do wrong in order to set things right. Mayfield touches the individual heart with moral guidance that is edifying and redemptive. “Freddie’s Dead” is so much more than funeral dirge or eulogy. From the abyss of urban lament, It announces salvation. And check out the rap in the intro to “No Thing on Me”. Beats anything I’ve heard from the 90s. And the music soars. Mayfield’s vocals push and pull real tears. Very well controlled falsetto transcends gendered chains. Instrumentals are arranged with symphonic expansiveness, and (even if somewhat dated) are richly varied—and exquisitely performed. The well executed mix draws the listener with relentless mystery. I wish “Junkie Chase” (at only 1:41) would go on for another ten minutes. But alas, real junkie chases probably don’t last that long. For those into folk rock, the acoustic guitar work (Mayfield?) on the intro to “Think” is very well done, setting up a pleasantly surprising stylistic transition. There is so much good music on this album. And this is not the voice of nostalgia speaking. This may shock you, but . . . 5/5

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Thu Jul 07 2022
5

Thursday morning. Nearly the end of the week. Lounging on my velour recliner for a moment of contemplation, it's a sunny day and the light is streaming through the window highlighting the dust in the air. Rising out the seat, I glance in the mirror and my oversize collar is on point with the brown and yellow earth tones in the tie I picked out earlier. Aviators on and quickly check the moustache - nice. I leave for work, climb into the car and Curtis plays in the background on the 8-track. Sunlight glints on my glasses and I'm feeling the beats, one arm out the window as I drive. It's going to be a good day.

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Wed May 12 2021
5

Incredible. The production and instrumentals along with Curtis Mayfield's voice and lyrics just takes you to this really blissful place that's vulnerable and embraces it. It's by no means a downer either, because it can set the mood for a really great party.

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Thu Jun 10 2021
5

Where do you start to peel back the layers of this album?! The percussion, the guitar, the horns, the strings, the lyrical content, this is 36 minutes of absolute pure glory!

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Sun Aug 01 2021
5

Beautiful soul and funk sounds, and as a Chance fan it was cool to hear the origin of Pusha Man.

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Mon Aug 01 2022
5

I'm glad this was our weekend album. There's just... so much. So many layers. Organ, hand drums, regular drums, distorted bass (and surely that's a whammy bar on the bass), spitting fuzz guitar, clean guitar with a wah (of course), any number of horns and strings, and... is that a fucking harp? Yes, yes it's a harp. And that's just the first minute of the first song. And it feels like they're all played by individual humans. All playing little bits and pieces, but also coming together in unison often enough that the songs feel like songs, not just jams. Somehow, even with all that instrumentation, it has a real live feel. There are mistakes here and there, and the vocals aren't the strongest, but I don't find they distract from the experience. They give it an energy. It feels alive. You're not listening to a product that has been painstakingly constructed and polished over months in a studio, you're in a room full of great musicians having a good time. The off the cuff feeling of the album comes with downsides. No Thing On Me feels cheesy, both lyrically and melodically. The wah in Give Me Your Love sounds like someone is strangling a duck. Both songs could have used more time in the oven, but I think more overall production time would have dulled some of the rawness that gives the rest of the album it's energy. So I'll take two (relative) duds if it gives me 7 songs that are brilliant, rich without being busy, dirty without being muddy, somehow simultaneously groovy and contemplative. I'll be listening to this for years to come.

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Mon Jan 17 2022
3

A plush pillow for the weary head of the ghetto's victims.

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Mon Dec 27 2021
2

Maybe I just wasn't in the mood for this but I was really bored.

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Tue Mar 09 2021
5

funky masterpiece

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Thu May 27 2021
5

The world needs more funk like this

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Tue Apr 13 2021
5

Satme et lækkert funk album. Fed høj falcetto stemme og lækre funky rytmer. Kort og godt album. Køb!

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Fri Jun 11 2021
5

I love getting funk albums on this list. Much like the soundtrack to Shaft, this album is just wall to wall funky jams. Not a single dull moment on the album 5/5

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Mon Feb 22 2021
5

Super Funk

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Thu Jun 03 2021
5

so dope

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Tue Mar 23 2021
5

So good

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Thu Jun 03 2021
5

I was thinking to myself “I’ll bet there won’t be a soundtrack album on this list” but I had forgotten about this album. So bleeding good.

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Wed Feb 24 2021
5

Funky, groovy fun. Loved it.

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Sun Feb 21 2021
5

I'm a big fan of this album. Think Mayfield is a genius, great concept album soundtrack and love the use of strings.

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Tue Mar 02 2021
5

Fuck yeah

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Sun Feb 28 2021
5

Curtis es animado. Genera buen rollo

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Tue Jun 15 2021
5

Muy chido, me gustó. Un sonido chill, limpio, no exagera en el dramatismo, parece un disco "honesto" y despreocupado pero bien producido y con instrumentaciones muy pro. Favs: Give me your love y Superfly. Mood: Wholesome.

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Thu Jul 15 2021
5

Genre defining. I wish it lasted 24 hours

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Sat May 08 2021
5

Hyvää kamaa Curtis tykitellyt. Äijän hittibiisi "Move on up" on kyllä ollut tiedossa, ehkä Superflynkin kuullut joskus, mutta ei ole aiempaa kokemusta koko levyllisestä. Ainakin tämä levy oli tosi hyvä, minulle sopiva määrä nuotteja per sekunti ja mukaansatempaavan ja taidokkaan kuuloista kaikin puolin. Ja kun biisit ei ole entuudestaan tuttuja, niin kaikki kuulostaa tuoreelta.

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Tue Jun 15 2021
5

Mejor soundtrack ever.

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Tue Mar 09 2021
5

Classic soul

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Thu Jul 01 2021
5

CLASSIC. I have listened to this album many many times and wish I had it on vinyl.

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Thu Jun 24 2021
5

So funky and tight. Great variety of tunes. Love the additional textures and flourishment added throughout tracks. This is one of my new favorites

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Tue Mar 02 2021
5

Flawless

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Tue Jun 15 2021
5

Un poco de soul y otro poco de funk es lo que necesitaba este día. Las letras 👌

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Tue Mar 30 2021
5

Dope lyrics, funky music.

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Wed Jun 09 2021
5

An absolutely classic soul album

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Mon May 10 2021
5

I really enjoyed this album, and everything about it. 5/5 stars.

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Wed Aug 18 2021
5

топппчиккк

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Fri Sep 03 2021
5

This is brilliant not just because everyone says so but because it truly is. The arrangements are like nothing you hear today. It's so evocative of it's time and the movie of course

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Sun Sep 05 2021
5

Awesome soundtrack! So funky, might have to actually watch the movie now.

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Wed Sep 08 2021
5

I think about this album as almost a companion of sorts to Marvin Gaye's What's Going On. Curtis Mayfield employs driving ponderous soul/R&B to explore social issues surrounding the cycle of poverty and drug use. He takes an extremely critical approach of drug dealing which is somewhat at odds with the message of the film. The music itself is tight and gives the lyrics room to land. Overall it is incredibly effective and engaging.

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Wed Sep 15 2021
5

What a great album the whole way through. Pusherman reminds me of the one time I accidently found myself on Whalley in Surrey. Got back on that skytrain and felt Superfly again.

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Wed Sep 15 2021
5

All timer

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Tue Oct 05 2021
5

An album bigger than the movie it was created for. Just a snapshot of life. Perfection.

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Mon Oct 11 2021
5

I get to cheat on this one as I already own it and listen regularly. Curtis at his best and the best Blaxploitation soundtrack.

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Tue Oct 12 2021
5

Not heard before. Absolutely brilliant. Going into regular rotation for sure.

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Tue Oct 19 2021
5

Sublime instrumentation is the first thing that jumps out into my ears. Harp! Hand percussion! Funky electric something! The breadth and depth here is too rare in concept albums and basically unheard of in music for film. It's the obvious archetype of blaxploitation-in-sound, but also an opinionated text by Mayfield and something more besides. For one thing, each song expands beyond its length, providing a feast of material in a relatively concise album.

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Fri Oct 22 2021
5

9/10 really enjoyable funk album, i think it could've had some stronger hooks.

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Fri Oct 29 2021
5

Love Curtis …

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Sun Oct 31 2021
5

I am pretty familiar with Superfly, and liked the soundtrack from it. But hearing it in a proper album format was really interesting; because it was really good. Like way better than I thought it was going to be. I've listened to this one 3 or 4 times at this point. I Really enjoy Pusherman, No thing on me, and Superfly. They are all really solid I gotta say.

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Wed Nov 03 2021
5

Потрясающе

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Wed Nov 10 2021
5

9/10

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Wed Nov 10 2021
5

Really enjoyed this record.

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Sat Nov 13 2021
5

Wow!

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Sun Nov 14 2021
5

Soul perfection

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Thu Nov 18 2021
5

🤯🤯🤯

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Wed Nov 24 2021
5

Such a beautiful álbum Theinstruments sound so good and his voice too

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Fri Dec 31 2021
5

This album actually got me into Curtis!

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Wed Jan 05 2022
5

Yass! Pusherman is a truly wonderful track. Mayfield's voice layers superbly with an accompanying bassline from heaven itself and drums and bongos to keep you interested and focused on listening. Freddie's Dead has been part of my listening rotation for years. Superfly itself is just a masterpiece of funk. This is a film soundtrack. I mean, there's no doubt about it, it was written for a movie and it sounds like that. It isn't an album per se, but the quality of the music is just.. Well. Just listen to it.

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Fri Jan 14 2022
5

Allt gott við þessa plötu. Sannanlega eitthvað sem öll þurfa að heyra áður en þau deyja.

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Fri Jan 14 2022
5

good, good. funky. good.

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Tue Feb 01 2022
5

What an album. Superb, funky, smooth. Yes please, Curtis.

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Tue Feb 01 2022
5

A sublime soundtrack with plenty of funky grooves, Latin hand percussion, cinematic strings, funky guitar (and bass) and swirling arrangements; the works. Loads of great tracks like 'Pusherman', 'Freddie's Dead', 'Eddie You Show Know Better', 'No Thing on Me' and 'Superfly'. I wasn't born in the early 70's but gee I felt like I was transported to that time listening to the album. Not to mention the icing on the cake; Curtis Mayfield's unique vocal sound. Superb in all departments. Now I need to go and watch the movie!

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Wed Feb 02 2022
5

Just a classic album on many levels - Curtis Mayfield's falsetto voice just works so well over the fantastic funk/soul music; hard to explain but there's a perfect balance between his voice and the music. Probably as a testament to how good and accessible the music is, so much of this album has been sampled over the years from artists as ranging as Biggie Smalls to Beastie Boys to Alicia Keys. I'll admit to not having seen the movie but even without ... this album really does *feel* like a movie; there's a great flow to it - starting with "Little Child..." and the classic final title track truly feels like an end credits. Those two are probably my favourites although I really love the instrumental "Think" - Curtis was also a masterful guitar player and the tone and melody on this track are gorgeous. Maybe the only drawback would be a general sameness that runs throughout but I think the shortness of the album (37 minutes) helps stave that off enough to keep it nearly perfect. An album for pretty much any occasion. 9/10 5 stars.

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Fri Feb 04 2022
5

01

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Sun Feb 13 2022
5

I listened to his first album Curtis before this and I really, really loved it, definitely a 10/10 this album switches up the groove a little bit, which makes sense, this is a movie soundtrack, but it’s still really damn amazing both of these are 10/10s

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Mon Feb 21 2022
5

a super funk classic. Lush arrangements, super funky rhythms, Curtis' beautiful vocals. A far better album than the film probably deserved.

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Thu Mar 03 2022
5

I first listened to SUPER FLY on an LP sometime in the 80s. At the time I was collecting a lot of older records and somewhere had run across a used copy of this. I would go on to listen to play list fairly regularly as I really liked its funky groove. Sometime in the 90s I purged my record collection, and Super Fly was one of the albums that left my collection. It is one of many that I regret having parted with. I did have a few compilation CDs that contained tracks off this album (Freddie’s Dead, Super Fly and Pusherman) and had let those tracks replace the album in my collection, but listening to it now realize that it really is better as a whole. I love hearing this again. It is remarkable how great every song is on this, as movie soundtracks tend to have a lot of weaker spots or dull instrumentals. This soundtrack is a fantastic album apart with or without the film.

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Thu Mar 03 2022
5

Excellent vibe. Super groovy.

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Thu Mar 03 2022
5

Oh yeah, this one hits the spot…all the spots! Loved it!!

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Thu Mar 03 2022
5

This one was an easy repeat listen. Again and again. Amazing songs with beautiful orchestrations that tell a compelling story. Start to finish.

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Sat Mar 05 2022
5

No começo pensei em dar 4 estrelas mas depois percebi sua grandeza , ótimo disco

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Mon Mar 07 2022
5

Oh funk me.. Curtis Mayfield is a fucking legend. 5

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Tue Mar 08 2022
5

👍🏻

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Wed Mar 09 2022
5

Cool

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Fri Mar 11 2022
5

One of these classic soundtrack albums that is hard to listen to without thinking about the movie. In my memory, Curtis Mayfield had written stronger songs for The Impressions or his early solo albums. So 4* for the song writing and 5* for the sound. But now listening to it again, I think 5* also for the song-writing is more appropriate.

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Fri Mar 11 2022
5

I'd heard the title track but nothing else here. Somehow it makes me feel nostalgic - it was released 12 years before I was even born, so that makes no sense. I guess it just gives me vibes of those cool sexy 70s, really sums up what they fed us of that decade in the 1990s. Like a best-of summary - all the cool funky disco bits, none of the mediocre shit that no doubt also existed, and it clocks in at a cruisy 36min. Either way, my life is that bit more complete now that I've heard this, and it's definitely going on the "listen again" pile. For this project, that's pretty uncommon. And for a movie soundtrack? Rare as rocking horse shit. Full marks are deserved. 5/5.

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Mon Mar 14 2022
5

Never have I ever felt more gangster than when listening to this album.

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Tue Mar 22 2022
5

Classic.

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Fri Mar 25 2022
5

Not just super fly: Super-duper fly. 6 stars

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Mon Apr 25 2022
5

I’m a fan already

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Tue Apr 26 2022
5

how much did i LOVE this! Great album.

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Sat Jun 11 2022
5

Yes! I haven't listened to this in so long. I went through a short blaxploitation film kick in high school that introduced me to 60s/70s soul music. This album is a masterpiece, even if the film really wasn't.

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Thu Jun 30 2022
5

The funk!

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Fri Jul 08 2022
5

Awesome album. One of the few time people may know the album better than the movie.

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Mon Jul 11 2022
5

this is sooo goooooddd mmmm awooooga so beautiful and sexy. i am seduced

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Sun Jul 17 2022
5

Incredible vibes, and it works so well as a standalone that I sometimes forget it's a soundtrack

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Fri Jul 22 2022
5

First time listening to this album, and this really is brilliant. A funk/soundtrack masterpiece.

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Mon Aug 01 2022
5

What a fantastic album. The tracks strike a perfect balance between jam and focused song, so they feel nice and loose, but not too much so. The lyrics and vocals were a step up from the very repetitive Chic album. Even though they weren't hitting every note perfectly, it kinda fit the tone of the album. Definitely going to check out more Curtis Mayfield!

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Mon Aug 01 2022
5

Such a damn good funk album.

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Sun Aug 07 2022
5

Some super funky and soulful jams. Love it.

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Tue Aug 23 2022
5

Really amazing. I love the 70's funk cop/thriller sound (secretly always wanted to make an album like this). The songs are great, everything is great. I wish it were longer.

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Tue Aug 23 2022
5

Oooh, like butter baby. This is great. Silky smooth and funky as hell. "Pusherman," "Freddie's Dead," and "Superfly" are all classics but the album is solid front-to-back. Just phenomenal musicianship all around and a fun, funky energy.

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Tue Aug 23 2022
5

Just a beautiful, funky album. Nothing more to say, it can't be improved.

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Thu Aug 25 2022
5

Curtis Mayfield was an absolute gem. Front to back this album is just banger after banger. Makes me want to watch the movie too! I am putting this on my "vinyl albums to look out for" list for sure.

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Sat Aug 27 2022
5

Outrageously great. 5/5

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Sat Aug 27 2022
5

Pusherman is way ahead of it’s time.

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Mon Aug 29 2022
5

Super groovy, adding a few songs to my playlists.

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Tue Aug 30 2022
5

Funky as fuck. Loved mostly everything about this. Favourite Tracks: - Little Child Runnin Wild - Pusherman - Superfly - Eddie You Should Know Better - No Thing on Me (Cocaine Song) - Freddie's Dead Overall Grade: 5/5

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Tue Sep 06 2022
5

Funk Soul Brotha check it out now

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Mon Sep 12 2022
5

It’s exactly what I expected a 70’s jazz esque album to sound like. And it ruled

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Tue Sep 13 2022
5

very cool

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Fri Sep 16 2022
5

Great album, love it. There's just something about Curtis Mayfield's sound that I loooove so much.

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Thu Sep 22 2022
5

Love the vibes, great old soul music that would definitely listen to again

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Tue Sep 27 2022
5

One of the best soundtracks of all time. Funky, smooth, socially concious and funky. Yep. I said it twice. Best Tracks: Pusherman; Freddie's Dead (Theme from Superfly); Superfly

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