“Great follow up to Curtis masterpiece Superfly. He really shows off his incredible musical compositions on this album with some of the most breathtaking instrumentals i’ve ever heard. Curtis was the complete package, great songwriter, singer, arranager and producer. This album is a kind of a “concept” album of sorts. It still has powerful and timely lyrical content mainly dealing with life in the U.S. after the vietnam war which had just ended as the last troops were finally on their way back home.
The title track and 1st song on the album is told from the viewpoint of a soldier whose made it back home only to be told that A) The war had not been won and B) Nothing really had changed for the better since he’d left and in many ways was now worse. It’s a very descriptive and chilling realization that now the soldier was in the midst of a another war for freedom of thought and expression “Back In The World”. The second track, “Future Shock” is just as moving and powerful.
It details the actual war the soldier and his family are experiencing right here at “home” “Back In The World” that is the U.S. and paints the very real picture of how their was a just as much a struggle for survival here as in Vietnam. Then comes the Crown Jewel of this album, “Right On For The Darkness”, which is such a beautiful example of a play on words. He tells of the blindness of the people and all the injustices going on all around and salutes the ignorance with a “Right On For The Darkness” almost as if to say, you’re blind and asleep so continue on in your delusions.
It’s at this point, after detailing all the “wrongs” of society, that the poet begins to tell us how to deal with the issues of the day. The following track, “Future Song (Love A Good Woman, Love A Good Man)”, is a prayer that the family unit, which is were stability in any society truly lies, will not allow their ego, fears and illusions to break down that unit and it will instead be made strong so the following generations will know true love and the stability it brings. One of my personal favorite tracks follows, “If I Were Only A Child Again”, this song reminds us of the innocence of seeing the world through the eyes of a child and how that simplicity and pure love can truly make the necessary changes needed in society very much possible.
The next song, “Can’t Say Nothing” is mostly an instrumental jam that allows Curtis and his band to truly show off their skills. The horns and drums on this song are AWESOME and some of Curtis’ best guitar work is found here! And the beautiful album closer, “Keep On Trippin” is a song about one whose lost his love but is hoping that the “trip” she’s on will lead her back to his arms. I’ve said it before and stand by it, Curtis Mayfield is the single most underrated and underappreciate artist of the 20th century. His name should immediately come up when the discussion of greatest artists comes up and this album is another fine example of that fact.
As difficult as it is to follow up a masterpiece such as Superfly, I believe Curtis was able to pull it off with this LP and it’s another fine example of his tremendous skills and the gift he shared with the world at large, his incredible music.”
This is my favorite Curtis slab, great concept funk album featuring cool songs as “Future Shock”, “If I Were Only A Child Again”, “Keep On Trippin'” and opening title tune. Super-Funk vinyl rip by Surfadelic, Dig!!!