We gave it a B+
Although he’s known mostly for the soundtrack from the blaxploitation classic Superfly, Curtis Mayfield was one of the most influential writer-performers in ’60s and ’70s R&B, first as the lead singer of the Impressions and then solo. So it’s nice that this 1988 club * performance (shot at a London jazz joint before the 1990 stage accident that left him paralyzed) is representative Mayfield: understated, funky, and heartfelt. Most of his hits (a substantial body of work) are reprised here on Curtis Mayfield – Live, from the gospel-inflected ’60s stuff (”It’s All Right”) to the urban ’70s numbers (”Move On Up,” ”Freddie’s Dead”), and the star himself is in good form both vocally and on guitar. There are some mercifully brief interview segments in which Mayfield responds to inane questions with admirable grace. Still, this sampler is all the more valuable since there’s no sign we’ll see such performances anytime soon.