Curtis Mayfield – 1973 – Back To The World

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This is another contribution by Groovy Emmanuel (i suppose you all know him) who express his feelings right away :

“1973 and what is finally left behind after a long period of time in which so many youngsters were so far away. What’s Going On in Marvin’s own words. Carole King put it that way in her million seller “Tapestry” lp : “Sometimes I wonder if I’m ever gonna make it home again, it’s so far and out of sight.”. Yeah, it’s out of sight but finally Back To The World for those who made it…

“The World” was what US GIs in Vietnam called America, and acclimating back into the world could be a harrowing experience. Curtis Mayfield addresses this problem in the title track to his 1973 album, Back to the World.

It’s never too easy coming back. And in 1973, Curtis felt something like this : “I am blind and I cannot see, You are there, your petty evil don’t bother me, Playing all the clothes you wear, Laugh at me, pressed and clean, and I don’t care.”. (“Right On For The Darkness”)

Hey, is there something less depressing in here? Yes brothers, Curtis’ emotional appeal, “If I Were Only a Child Again”. And Curtis’ own words: “This album I dedicate to my children and all children, for its through their eyes and the eyes of all those precious few, that maybe we, the grownups, can still make the world a better place for everyone to live”.

The album though it met mediocre reviews back then, it reached #1 in r’n’b and #16 in pop charts, and also included his minor hit “Future Shock”. The “World” seemed to understand and keep sharing these emotions.

With all due respect, this is for those, mostly kids then, who came so close to facing more than an average one can ever face in a lifetime, and moreover to those who finally made it home at last and had a more difficult task to fight against in their daily lives ever since.

Nuff said brothers, now enjoy it, and remember: Keep On Trippin’…or Keep On Keepin’ On.”

This is a fine @320 vinyl rip of the original Curtom Records LP, including covers.

Tracks:
A1 Back To The World (6:47)
A2 Future Shock (5:17)
A3 Right On For The Darkness (7:28)
B1 Future Song (Love A Good Woman, Love A Good Man) (5:00)
B2 If I Were Only A Child Again (2:52)
B3 Can’t Say Nothin’ (5:13)
B4 Keep On Trippin’ (3:16)

Pure genius from Curtis Mayfield and a record that’s got all the righteousness and political power you might guess from the cover! The album burns with a sense of empowerment that’s every bit the best strength of Curtom in the 70s a sublime blend of heavy soul, funky undercurrents, and far-reaching arrangements that still always manage to groove! And Curtis’ vocals are great too echoing out with a newfound presence that far surpasses the raspy quality of his early work with The Impressions. Arrangements are by Rich Tufo, production is by Mayfield (Dusty Groove)

People’s Reviews

1

This has always been one of my favorite Curtis Mayfield albums, even though I don’t think its his most popular (and it often goes out of print.) The reason is because its just so darn tight and funky – yet political (in that distinct Curtis Mayfield) way too. The tracks are so tight, its incredible… and not only is it heavy funk – but its a distinct type of funk that only Curtis was playing (and that’s hard to describe for the uninitiated.) I don’t know how to describe it… 100% Curtis = 94% JB, 6% Bob Marley ??? Really, you have to listen…

Overall, this is a great album because on one hand the instrumental tracks are kicking even if you’re not dancing, you can’t help but move, however, if you listen to it just for the lyrics, you can follow Mayfield’s lyrics from begining to end… in part because he had a unique style of lyric writing too that made him more of a political poet or even a pre-hip hop rapper more than a simple soul wailer or crooner (as was common in that era) (Eddie Landsberg)

2

This record has my alltime favorite curtis tune, and I love a whole lot of curtis tunes to death. When he says “it’s the educated people…making up the rules, holding back the schools” I couldn’t agree more. But much like his debut, Curtis, the hypnotic and apocolyptic (“hell below” on that one) is balanced by more upbeat stuff. Maybe the best Curtis cover art, too. (Johnny Thursday)

3

I remember first hearing this album during the Vietnam War. The poignant tracks were very relevant to the times, raised consciences and helped to ease the pain endured during the turbulent sixties and early seventies. The passing of Curtis Mayfield appears to have been a minor event. But his contributions to black society are immeasurable. In the history of the civil rights struggle, Curtis contributed immensely to the lifting of black self-worth. The lyrical skills exhibited by Curtis on this recording rival some of the greatest European and American poets. The musical composition further helps to envelope the listener in a blanket of tranquility. When you consider the baseline and percussion contained in Curtis’ solo albums the desire to dance immediately occurs. Curtis may longer be with us but a soul that could compose some beautiful music has to be in an eternal place that we all must aim to reach. If we had music of this caliber today the world would be a much peaceful place. I know you will enjoy this also. (Robert L. Harqett)

Enjoy the prophet of Soul Music singing “Future Shock”

Thank you Groovy Emmanuel for the music and knowledge.

Enjoy Curtis’ wonderful “Roots” album here and Impressions’ “The Young Mods’ Forgotten Storyhere.

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Conversation for album: Curtis Mayfield – 1973 – Back To The World

44 Comments
  • Simon666
    Posted at 19:21h, 26 August 2008 Reply

    One of the GREATEST albums of all time 🙂

  • Zion
    Posted at 20:36h, 26 August 2008 Reply

    Nobody did it like the late, great Curtis Mayfield. True Genius.

  • JJ
    Posted at 21:09h, 26 August 2008 Reply

    This is amazing music. i make hip hop music that samples this type of music. but i truly wish i could make this kind of music. maybe someday…peace and love

  • pegasi
    Posted at 21:42h, 26 August 2008 Reply

    Once of Mayfield’s overlook, underrated gems. So good hearing it again. I also really dug the Madeline Bell post. Never knew she did “I’m gonna make you love me” before the Tempts and Supremes. I always wondered who was the soul behind Dusty Springfield. Now I know.

    Many thanks

  • Samuel
    Posted at 00:53h, 27 August 2008 Reply

    Very few writers(black or white) can have lyrics this inspirational, play the guitar and still be this profound. Too many kats are all about having the latest beat and instead of creating their own sound they looking to borrow or sound like someone else.

  • Angel
    Posted at 01:34h, 27 August 2008 Reply

    God… I love this man and I sure miss him… Thank you for this great post.

  • robert
    Posted at 04:23h, 27 August 2008 Reply

    Such a colossally superb album, it’s one of my most prized records! Right On For The Darkness and Future Song both just slay me every time.

    Thanks for another fine post Emmanuel and Nikos.

  • manny
    Posted at 05:29h, 27 August 2008 Reply

    amazing, thank you for posting this

  • mdh
    Posted at 07:29h, 27 August 2008 Reply

    A very nice write up on a wonderful man. Thanks for posting

  • JTF
    Posted at 09:10h, 27 August 2008 Reply

    a CLASSIC!

  • Joshua
    Posted at 12:47h, 27 August 2008 Reply

    Curtis Mayfield was soul music, period.

  • DocMadness
    Posted at 12:52h, 27 August 2008 Reply

    Brotha Curtis Mayfield is a legend.

    Brotha Curtis can sing songs which are about moving us up and to bring peace and harmony. Thank you for sharing.

  • Larry G.
    Posted at 13:34h, 27 August 2008 Reply

    This is the kind of stuff i like. Really appreciate these vinyl rips and your hard work nikos.

  • nago
    Posted at 20:42h, 27 August 2008 Reply

    indispensable.

  • Frosty
    Posted at 21:04h, 27 August 2008 Reply

    Great album by one of soul music’s all-time greats. Timeless musically and lyrically. Thanks Groovy Emmanuel for sharing and nikos for this amazing site.

  • SPC
    Posted at 00:24h, 28 August 2008 Reply

    Can’t get enough of Curtis – this is a great album and I’ve really been enjoying it. Thanks for all the hard work to bring us this site and thanks to GE for the share.

  • Soul is the Music
    Posted at 00:53h, 28 August 2008 Reply

    Damn,those times were really tough times! But Curtis Mayfield was one of the worlds greatest treasures. I can’t imagine not listening to his songs…

  • kirk
    Posted at 01:58h, 28 August 2008 Reply

    Bravo! excellent choice. That’s real music. Even Curtis’ worst album is by far better than almost any other artists album. Gorgeous groove and beautiful instrumentation.

  • Doctor Okeh
    Posted at 05:10h, 28 August 2008 Reply

    thx for this one fam , I guess that I do know a few of the songs here, but you can never have too much go wrong with Curtis, NEVER!!!!
    thx again!!!!!!

  • Greg
    Posted at 11:27h, 28 August 2008 Reply

    Looking forward to this one!thanks for sharing!

  • Jerry
    Posted at 14:05h, 28 August 2008 Reply

    Super post. Big up Groovy Emannuel. Nikos this site is my fav, man. Keep on doing it….

  • Dreamer456
    Posted at 21:26h, 28 August 2008 Reply

    I’ve never heard this one before. Thank you so much.

  • Yo!
    Posted at 00:07h, 29 August 2008 Reply

    thanx!

  • Ston3D
    Posted at 00:42h, 29 August 2008 Reply

    Curtis is the one and only even the single he did with the Blow Monkeys is great 🙂

  • Donny
    Posted at 03:43h, 29 August 2008 Reply

    great great post guys.

  • Oak
    Posted at 10:50h, 29 August 2008 Reply

    The whole album is great but “Future Shock” is an outstanding performance by Curtis. Love your work.

  • Ben
    Posted at 11:30h, 29 August 2008 Reply

    Can anything sound better? I don’t think so.Love Ya Curtis.

  • Seth
    Posted at 12:55h, 29 August 2008 Reply

    Amazing stuff. Thanks for sharing.

  • alex
    Posted at 20:43h, 29 August 2008 Reply

    another incredible post nikos!
    many,many thanks man!

  • invisiblenigma
    Posted at 21:46h, 29 August 2008 Reply

    Much Thanks! Mayfield was one of the all around best. He could do it all!!

  • MsMerising
    Posted at 06:34h, 01 September 2008 Reply

    Curtis Mayfield was one of my pivotal musical inspirations. So soulful, so much insight, so much LOVE in his music. My brother stole my sleeve for this album, lol. I am honoring Curtis at Dusty in September – great minds think alike 🙂

  • avocado kid
    Posted at 07:17h, 03 September 2008 Reply

    Right on! Never heard this one….

  • Jack Flash
    Posted at 04:27h, 09 September 2008 Reply

    Thank You for this great Mayfield album…..I Haven’t heard this one in a very long time…..props 2 U……

  • tOtOrooo
    Posted at 15:57h, 15 September 2008 Reply

    switching on the goose-skin-ator. many thanks nikos!

  • gianni
    Posted at 13:33h, 21 September 2008 Reply

    wow, thank you!

  • simon
    Posted at 18:54h, 09 November 2008 Reply

    Much appreciated . Thanks again.

  • Mr sam
    Posted at 21:57h, 03 March 2009 Reply

    So nice!

  • brotherpete
    Posted at 22:57h, 30 September 2009 Reply

    amazing stuff !!! Thanks a million!

  • MJ
    Posted at 05:00h, 14 December 2009 Reply

    Came home 40 years ago! Thanks

  • myr
    Posted at 23:01h, 13 May 2010 Reply

    ohh the link has problems after download and there aren’nt any archive… can you upload another time? I’m a fan of Curtis! He’s one of my top five… thank’s!

  • myr
    Posted at 01:10h, 14 May 2010 Reply

    now yessssssssss! thank’s a lot!

  • zenahora
    Posted at 12:30h, 26 July 2010 Reply

    thanks for posting this amazing album – can’t believe it’s taken me so long to really listen to it…question for anyone out there – any idea who the musicians are? i’d be ecstatic if someone could just tell me who the drummer is – he makes this album timeless! i can’t find any info online and hoping someone can’t point me to something i haven’t seen yet…thanks and keep posting!

  • Anonymous
    Posted at 17:48h, 30 May 2011 Reply

    future shock!

  • Rob J
    Posted at 21:42h, 21 February 2017 Reply

    I bought this album at a record fair back in 1984, and it has long remained one of my favourite albums from the Golden Age of Soul.
    At the time, Curtis’ popularity had dipped in the light of Disco which had ripped the heart out of Black American music. Rap music
    hadn’t entered the mainstream charts apart from the odd song. And of course, Michael ruled the airwaves……

    As far as I am concerned, this album is one of THE greatest albums from that glorious period of Soul music. Many have put Marvin’s
    “What’s Going On ?” as the finest of its’ type, but Curtis was talking about Civil Rights Iong before Marvin, with The Impressions..

    What more can I say about this masterpiece ? Curtis’ arrangements are of the highest calibre and matched with his incisive lyrics looking
    at the plight of African American soldiers broken by a terrible war, the listener cannot fail to be moved by their plight.
    Over thirty five minutes, Curtis takes the listener through a musical journey filled with terror and joy.

    Curtis’ wistful vocals are the icing on the top. Yet, for some unknown reason “BTTW” has never been given the accolades it deserved.

    Take it from me, it is essential listening.

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