Ain't no love lost....
Released November 1974
This was Curtis Mayfield's second album of 1974 and, on this one, even more than on its predecessor, "Sweet Exorcist", he abandons his hard-hitting "message" numbers and replaces them with his take on love. Unsurprisingly, it is both a wise and downtrodden one. Curtis was never really comfortable with pure pop or pure "I love you, girl" sentiments. It is always more like "you used to love me girl, what went wrong?" There is far less funk on here too, more strings and sweet soul sounds than "Superfly"-style gritty funk. For that reason, for me, this is a somewhat unremarkable album and one that just sort of washes over you, although, at certain times, there is nothing wrong with that. The album has been virtually forgotten in Mayfield's canon, it has to be said, however.
1. Love Me (Right In The Pocket)
2. So You Don't Love Me
3. A Prayer
4. Mother's Son
5. Cannot Find A Way
6. Ain't No Love Lost
"Love Me (Right In The Pocket)" is typical Mayfield funk/soul to open the album with, although this time the funk is aimed at a girl Mayfield is after, as opposed to warning about pushermen or future shock. "So You Don't Love Me" is a strings-dominated, lush smoocher of a tune that still has Mayfield's cynical-about-love lyrics, however. "A Prayer" is a smooth, falsetto-driven soul number. Is it time for some copper-bottomed Mayfield funk? Of course it is, and, thankfully, it hasn't been abandoned completely, as "Mother's Son", with its heavy, thumping funk intro proves. It is probably the best cut on the album, full of atmosphere and deep funk. Killer guitar too. The bass/drum/lead guitar interplay near the end is sublime.
"Cannot Find A Way" has a message to it over its slow burning light funk beat, although the vocal is a bit low down in the mix. "Ain't No Love Lost" confirms that the old side two is funkier than side one, but it ends too soon and is is somewhat unremarkable.
Curtis would return in 1975, channelling his "Superfly"/"Roots" socially aware thing once more on the excellent, uncompromising "There's No Place Like America Today". This album trod water just a little. It is not a bad one, by any means, but there are better ones either side of it.