Tuesday, 16 April 2019

Curtis Mayfield - Never Say You Can't Survive (1977)


Released in 1977

This was the last proper soul album Curtis Mayfield would release for a while, before taking the disco dollar for a while, and it is a really good one. While the hard-hitting social comment of the early seventies had unfortunately been left behind, his venture into melodic, lush, sweet soul was an appealing one. The sound quality on the album is excellent too.


1. Show Me Love
2. I Just Want To Be With You
3. When We're Alone
4. Never Say You Can't Survive
5. I'm Gonna Win Your Love
6. All Night Long
7. When You Used To Be Mine
8. Sparkle                                                    

"Show Me Love" is a delicious serving of Al Green-esque, horn-driven sweet soul, with Mayfield's trademark falsetto to the fore. It benefits from a sumptuous saxophone solo at the end. Nice track. "I Just Want To Be With You" is a beautiful and rhythmic slow soul groove.

"When We're Alone" is even more appetising, perfect easy listening soul. As I said, it is a bit of a shame that Curtis was no longer putting the world to rights, but taken for what it is, this luscious soul fare is top quality.

"Never Say You Can't Survive" is a slow-paced but punchy horn-powered up beat soul ballad. We get our first taste of funk with the intro to "Im Gonna Win Your Love". The song continues as a merging of sweet soul and gentle brassy funk, with some harmonious backing vocals. "All Night Long" is more a straight-ahead soul ballad, with those sublime horns once more. They are even more powerful in "When You Used To Be Mine". "Sparkle" is a late-night, laid-back slowie to end the album on.

While all the tracks are most pleasant, forty minutes of them is more than enough. You eventually long for a bit of Mayfield's earlier power or funk. I prefer the albums from the early seventies, but as an example of peaceful, unthreatening, quality smoochy soul, this does just fine.


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