Thursday, June 24, 2010

Mayfield meets Staple Singers

I found this record a few weeks ago in Real Groovy, has some great songs written and produced by Curtis Mayfield, for the Staple Singers. It's just popped up at Soul-sides, as part of their (US) Summer Songs collection of posts. Mayfield's most popular soundtrack was of course Superfly, but he did a ton of them, many that are worth investigating - check out Sparkle OST (Aretha Franklin) or Claudine, with Gladys Knight and the Pips.

From Soul-sides: “Let’s Do It Again” opens the film’s soundtrack, but for me, it nicely closes out summer. This 1975 Bill Cosby / Sidney Poitier film, the second of which to pair both stars, also matched music icons, Curtis Mayfield and The Staple Singers, for its soundtrack. Add to that the awesome cover art (by Sandy Kossin) and the whole production is top notch. Aesthetically, the sunny bassline ushers the song along easily. Mavis Staples’ breathy vocals are so warm. And enough can’t be said about Mayfield’s songwriting. His use of strings and harmonies flesh out so many moments throughout. The entire thing sounds like one lush interlude and really has that ‘7pm mid-July’ feeling of summer. In fact, the common adjective used to describe it has been ‘summer-ry’.

The title track was a single that boosted the film and earned the Staple Singers #1 spots on the pop and r&b charts. It was used on this John Legend/Kanye number and even earlier by Wrecks-N-Effect (which they made a video for!) . Interestingly, it’s also said that Biggie lifted the moniker from Calvin Lockhart’s character in the film, ‘Biggie Smalls’.

“Let’s Do It Again” couldn’t be more fitting when it comes to summer and what it evokes. When August unwinds and summer closes, catch me thinking ‘let’s do it again’.  (Editor’s p.s.: Let’s also not forget one of my favorite uses of this track: Ice Cube’s “It Was a Good Day” remix).

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