How often do I get to listen to the #1 rated funk album of all time, at least as proclaimed by digitaldreamdoors.com? I guess for the purposes of this exercise, today is that day. “Superfly”, the soundtrack album from the 1972 album by Curtis Mayfield, is so designated, and also is the #76 album on Rolling Stone’s Top 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.
For me, my taste in funk runs a bit rougher, with a deeper mix of bass and percussion than what I typically hear from Curtis Mayfield. This feels more like a hybrid of R&B, soul, and funk, but with all of that said, it is a pretty solid album. Opening with “Little Child Runnin’ Wild”, Curtis and his smooth falsetto takes us out on the dangerous, drug-filled streets for this album. Next comes “Pusherman” and “Freddie’s Dead”, which is definitely one of the funkier tracks on the album. This song is definitely more in my core genre of true funk.
As a soundtrack album, there are multiple instrumental songs, showcasing the ability of Mayfield as a musician and songwriter. My absolute favorite song on this album is “No Thing on Me (Cocaine Song)”, it has a pretty infectious melody as the song celebrates freedom from the controlling oppression of drugs. The album closes with the title track, and this record definitely tells a story even if you have never seen the film, which I have not. Mainstream funk music peaked in the early 1970s before disco and then hip-hop consumed the majority of popular black music, and this timepiece is a perfect representation of the sound of this era. Superfly… indeed.