Soul Strut 100: # 67 - Curtis Mayfield - Curtis/Live! (1971)

RAJRAJ tenacious local 7,756 Posts
edited February 2018 in The Soul Strut 100
I will slowly be unveiling the Top 100 Soul Strut Related Records as Voted by the Strutters Themselves.

# 67 - Curtis Mayfield - Curtis/Live! (1971)



The list so far:

# 100 - Jr. and His Soulettes - Psychodelic Sounds
# 99 - Sir Joe Quarterman & Free Soul
# 98 - Donny Hathaway - S/T (1971)
# 97 - Bernard Wright - ???Nard
# 96 - Tom Scott - Honeysuckle Breeze
# 95 - People Under the Stairs - Question in the Form of an Answer
# 94 - Harlem River Drive
# 93 - Black Moon - Enta Da Stage
# 92 - Marvin Gaye - Here, My Dear
# 91 - Muddy Waters - Electric Mud
# 90 - Les McCann - Layers
# 89 - Jimi Hendrix - Electric Ladyland
# 88 - Leroy Hutson - Hutson (1975)
# 87 - ESG - S/T (1981)
# 86 - Can - Tago Mago
# 85 - Bohannon - Stop & Go
# 84 - WILLIAM DEVAUGHN - Be Thankful For What You Got
# 83 - Power of Zeus - The Gospel According to Zeus
# 82 - Gang Starr - Hard To Earn
# 81 - The J.B.???s - Doing It to Death
# 80 - Parliament - Osmium
# 79 - McNeal & Niles - Thrust
# 78 - The Lafayette Afro Rock Band - Malik
# 77 - Earth, Wind, and Fire (1971)
# 76 - Dr. Dre - The Chronic
# 75 - Black Sabbath (1970)
# 74 - Trap Door / An International Psychedelic Mystery Mix (2006)
# 73 - Bob James - One
# 72 - Matthew Larkin Cassell - Pieces
# 71 - The Beginning Of The End - Funky Nassau
# 70 - Big Bear - Doin??? Thangs
# 69 - Steely Dan - Aja
# 68 - Quasimoto - The Unseen

Please discuss your reactions to this record. The thread will be archived later here.

About


Curtis/Live! is Curtis Mayfield???s first live album, after leaving The Impressions. Originally released in May 1971 as a double LP on Mayfield's Curtom label (distributed through Neil Bogart's Buddah Records), the album's twelve tracks (track listing below is from the 2000 Rhino reissue, which includes two bonus tracks) ??? along with Mayfield's interstitial raps on the politics of the day ??? were recorded at Paul Colby's Bitter End nightclub in New York City. According to John Abbey, who at the beginning of the 1970s was editor of the UK magazine Blues & Soul, Mayfield and his band's first set at a Bitter End date in January 1971 comprised the bulk of the music presented here. Mixed primarily with Eddie Kramer at Electric Lady Studios, the album features Master Henry Gibson playing percussion, Craig McMullen on rhythm guitar, Joseph "Lucky" Scott on bass, and Tyrone McCullen on drums.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Curtis/Live!

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I love that part on Curtis / LIVE! when???

TOP 5 CURTIS MAYFIELD (SOLO ONLY PLAESE)

Curtis Mayfield Productions

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  • One of the best live albums ever recorded! Easily a top 5 record in that category for me. Most of these versions top the originals; no easy feat. I also love the looseness of this set; good vibrations and great crowd participation.

  • pickwick33pickwick33 8,946 Posts
    Mr. Attention said:
    One of the best live albums ever recorded! Easily a top 5 record in that category for me. Most of these versions top the originals; no easy feat. I also love the looseness of this set; good vibrations and great crowd participation.

    "Crowd participation" - that's the key.

    The great thing about live soul albums is that the crowd is almost as essential as the band itself. On Curtis/Live!, the audience at the Bitter End in NYC is hanging on Curtis' every word and reacting at the right times. Especially on "Stone Junkie," where the crowd laughs knowingly, as if Curtis is referring to someone in the room.

    Always considered this album of a piece with Bill Withers Live At Carnegie Hall and Donny Hathaway's Live, all of which were recorded around the same time (1971-72) and represents a time when soul music was maturing without sounding bland.

  • Fantastic record! The version of Makings of you is just beautiful!

  • tripledoubletripledouble 7,636 Posts
    one of my absolute favorite records. this is the first time im a little surprised that a record isnt higher up the list. i could have seen this being top ten.

  • batmonbatmon 27,574 Posts
    Ill agree on the "crowd participation" part. Another thing for me is the acoustics. It sounds like a medium to small place so shit is intimate.

  • SIRUSSIRUS 2,554 Posts
    Mr. Attention said:
    Most of these versions top the originals; no easy feat.

  • Jonny_PaycheckJonny_Paycheck 17,825 Posts
    tripledouble said:
    one of my absolute favorite records. this is the first time im a little surprised that a record isnt higher up the list. i could have seen this being top ten.

    "Shoulda been number one to me"

  • CousinLarryCousinLarry 4,618 Posts
    This has always been a favorite. My favorite live record and my favorite Curtis records. He sounds so at ease with the material and the room. This record is the closest thing I have to a time machine, it really puts me in the room with the band and the audience.

  • LaserWolfLaserWolf Portland Oregon 11,518 Posts

  • batmonbatmon 27,574 Posts
    I'd love for this to be remastered. Was there ever a CD version?

  • UnherdUnherd 1,880 Posts
    I agree with almost everything said in this thread so far; topping the originals, the time-machine-intimacy of the sound and space, the vibe of the crowd. i walk past the bitter end all the time, and it's impossible not to think of this record, easily my favorite live album. and even having said all that, for me personally, it's still sort of all about makings of you. i nearly tear up just thinking about that version.

    jonny's right; i demand a recount.

    batmon, there's a rhino version from 2000 remastered with bonus tracks

  • batmonbatmon 27,574 Posts
    Unherd said:
    batmon, there's a rhino version from 2000 remastered with bonus tracks

    "Exact miniature replica of the LP, limited edition 1,500 copies. Recorded live at NYC's Bitter End in 1971, this is the Curtis album. It just doesn't get any better than this. Includes 'Stone Junkie,' 'People Get Ready' and 'If There's A Hell Below, We're All Gonna Go.' 24 bit digitally remastered. Sunspots. 2002. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title."

  • OligeeOligee 289 Posts
    Happy belated birthday to Curtis Mayfield!

  • pickwick33pickwick33 8,946 Posts
    batmon said:
    Ill agree on the "crowd participation" part. Another thing for me is the acoustics. It sounds like a medium to small place so shit is intimate.

    Yep. From all the photos I've seen of the Bitter End, the back wall was solid exposed brick. And from the sound quality, I'd guess the floors were straight wood. I can only surmise what the audience was like. Probably a mix of young black concertgoers and white hippies. All chanting "stone junkie, stone, stone junkie..."

    As I said in an earlier thread, Curtis attempted the crowd-participation bit a year later on a "Stone Junkie" remake that appeared on Newport In New York '72, a various-artists live LP on Cobblestone. It didn't quite come off that time, but that wasn't Curtis' fault, necessarily. There's a world of difference between an intimate folk-rock/comedy joint vs. a large outdoor venue.

  • LoopDreamsLoopDreams 1,195 Posts
    Like Harlem River Dr this would have cracked the top ten in my books, makes me wonder what's up there. One of those records I buy when I see it in good shape, it always finds a home.

  • RAJRAJ tenacious local 7,756 Posts


    Want List.

  • batmonbatmon 27,574 Posts
    pickwick33 said:
    batmon said:
    Ill agree on the "crowd participation" part. Another thing for me is the acoustics. It sounds like a medium to small place so shit is intimate.

    Yep. From all the photos I've seen of the Bitter End, the back wall was solid exposed brick. And from the sound quality, I'd guess the floors were straight wood. I can only surmise what the audience was like. Probably a mix of young black concertgoers and white hippies. All chanting "stone junkie, stone, stone junkie..."

    As I said in an earlier thread, Curtis attempted the crowd-participation bit a year later on a "Stone Junkie" remake that appeared on Newport In New York '72, a various-artists live LP on Cobblestone. It didn't quite come off that time, but that wasn't Curtis' fault, necessarily. There's a world of difference between an intimate folk-rock/comedy joint vs. a large outdoor venue.

    Which spot do u think is larger, The Bitter End or the place he appeared in Superfly?
    Which seemed like a lounge/bar/restaurant in Harlem - Scatter's

  • LaserWolfLaserWolf Portland Oregon 11,518 Posts
    There is often nerdy production talk here, often around records I don't much care for, Pet Sounds, Aja...

    I don't much about this stuff but I think recording a live lp is very tricky.
    My guess it is much easier asking Bernard Purdie to do a 100th take than to get the sound right on a live first take.

    One of the tricks that the producer/engineer pulled off on this recording was getting the crowd right.
    Too many live recordings do a poor job balancing the crowd.
    Too often the crowd is either annoying white noise or one loud mouth clapping off beat next to the mic.

    I would love to hear some of struts nerdy engineer, production, studio nerds talk about the sound that they got on Curtis/Live.

  • asstroasstro 1,753 Posts
    Love this album, I was just listening to it Sunday morning and I have had that version of "Mighty Mighty" stuck in my head for the last 36 hours. I am in the vast minority that doesn't really like the ballady stuff like "We've Only Just Begun", but the rest of the set more than makes up for it in my personal mind-garden.

    One reason that this record probably sounds so good is that it was recorded using the Fedco Audio Labs remote truck, which is one of the most renowned remote recording units in popular music. Everyone from The Doors to Peter Frampton to Bette Midler used them, and often with Eddie Kramer as the producer who of course produced a number of Mayfield recordings including this one. It wasn't like someone threw up some mics and happened to get magic, they (including Curtis of course) knew what they were doing. It's just too bad that seemingly every interview with Eddie Kramer seems on his work with Hendrix and Led Zep, he has worked on so many great records it's kind of mind-boggling.

  • pickwick33pickwick33 8,946 Posts
    batmon said:
    pickwick33 said:
    batmon said:
    Ill agree on the "crowd participation" part. Another thing for me is the acoustics. It sounds like a medium to small place so shit is intimate.

    Yep. From all the photos I've seen of the Bitter End, the back wall was solid exposed brick. And from the sound quality, I'd guess the floors were straight wood. I can only surmise what the audience was like. Probably a mix of young black concertgoers and white hippies. All chanting "stone junkie, stone, stone junkie..."

    As I said in an earlier thread, Curtis attempted the crowd-participation bit a year later on a "Stone Junkie" remake that appeared on Newport In New York '72, a various-artists live LP on Cobblestone. It didn't quite come off that time, but that wasn't Curtis' fault, necessarily. There's a world of difference between an intimate folk-rock/comedy joint vs. a large outdoor venue.

    Which spot do u think is larger, The Bitter End or the place he appeared in Superfly?
    Which seemed like a lounge/bar/restaurant in Harlem - Scatter's

    Having never been to the Bitter End, I'm guessing that it was roughly the same size as the lounge where Curtis gigged in that movie.

    Just big enough that it's not a sardine can, but just small enough that you could almost reach out and touch the stage.

    New York Strutters: does anyone know if the Bitter End is still in the same spot as when Curtis and Donny recorded there? I know they closed and reopened a few times...

  • pickwick33pickwick33 8,946 Posts
    batmon said:
    pickwick33 said:
    batmon said:
    Ill agree on the "crowd participation" part. Another thing for me is the acoustics. It sounds like a medium to small place so shit is intimate.

    Yep. From all the photos I've seen of the Bitter End, the back wall was solid exposed brick. And from the sound quality, I'd guess the floors were straight wood. I can only surmise what the audience was like. Probably a mix of young black concertgoers and white hippies. All chanting "stone junkie, stone, stone junkie..."

    As I said in an earlier thread, Curtis attempted the crowd-participation bit a year later on a "Stone Junkie" remake that appeared on Newport In New York '72, a various-artists live LP on Cobblestone. It didn't quite come off that time, but that wasn't Curtis' fault, necessarily. There's a world of difference between an intimate folk-rock/comedy joint vs. a large outdoor venue.

    Which spot do u think is larger, The Bitter End or the place he appeared in Superfly?
    Which seemed like a lounge/bar/restaurant in Harlem - Scatter's

    Having never been to the Bitter End, I'm guessing that it was roughly the same size as the lounge where Curtis gigged in that movie.

    Just big enough that it's not a sardine can, but just small enough that you could almost reach out and touch the stage.

    New York Strutters: does anyone know if the Bitter End is still in the same spot as when Curtis and Donny recorded there? I know they closed and reopened a few times...

  • Great album. Was the timing on purpose?? This is a fitting tribute, considering his 70th birthday was yesterday.

  • asstroasstro 1,753 Posts
    pickwick33 said:
    .

    New York Strutters: does anyone know if the Bitter End is still in the same spot as when Curtis and Donny recorded there? I know they closed and reopened a few times...

    As far as I know The Bitter End has been at that location since the early 1960's. It's changed names once or twice but always been that location on Bleecker Street.

  • Jonny_Paycheck said:
    tripledouble said:
    one of my absolute favorite records. this is the first time im a little surprised that a record isnt higher up the list. i could have seen this being top ten.

    "Shoulda been number one to me"

    Yessir.

  • parallaxparallax no-style-having mf'er 1,266 Posts
    "Gypsy Woman" is just an incredibly soulful track that ranks as an alltime favourite, and easily my favourite from this release.

    Fwiw, Batmon, it's not too hard to find this if you need it, and it's cheap, too!

    http://www.discogs.com/Curtis-Mayfield-Curtis-Live/release/699012

  • batmonbatmon 27,574 Posts
    parallax said:
    "Gypsy Woman" is just an incredibly soulful track that ranks as an alltime favourite, and easily my favourite from this release.

    Fwiw, Batmon, it's not too hard to find this if you need it, and it's cheap, too!

    http://www.discogs.com/Curtis-Mayfield-Curtis-Live/release/699012

    Thanx bro,

    i already own the vinyl reissue.

  • We recorded just with a room mic last time we played there and it came out great. It is a pretty small place.

  • My copy of this album is awful. So many scratches. Need an upgrade bigtime.

  • SoulpowerSoulpower 204 Posts
    One of Curtis' best albums and it should have been way up in the Top #100 list.
    Fun fact: Curtis' bassist Lucky Scott is the nephew of Sam Gooden of the Impressions. Sam hooked him up with the Curtis gig and even bought him the Fender bass that he plays on most of the albums, including this one. Lucky was also an aspiring producer who did some session work for Curtom Records. Most of y'all probably know the second Rasputin Stash album "The devil made me do it", released on the Curtom subsidiary Gemigo Records ... that album was Lucky's baby.

  • The_Hook_UpThe_Hook_Up 8,182 Posts
    The stripped-down, stark presentation of these songs is what makes the LP amazing and makes these versions the definitive ones IMO.. There really isn't another 70s soul LP (aside from another live LP, Bill Withers' Carnegie Hall) that is so stripped down and not propped up by strings, keyboards, big backing vocals, etc. So good.
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