Released in between the Curtis and Roots albums, this features Curtis Mayfield with a tight five piece set live at Manhattan's Bitter End, 1971. I'm gonna get a bit mushy on this one so please excuse me, but that's only because Curtis / Live! is flat-out one of the greatest live recordings you can find, for any genre. It's one of those rare pieces that not only spotlights an artist at the top of their game, but gives us their full vision. It's all about the interaction with the audience. This is the kind of performance where there is such a strong connection between the audience and performers that they're no longer just sitting there listening to music or just up there playing songs - they are talking together and pushing each other to a higher place (feel no pain). This also happens to be one of Curtis' most raw and funky periods, pre-Superfly strings. Check out tracks like "Mighty Mighty, Spade And Whitey," the Souls of Mischief sampled "We're A Winner," the conga break and crowd participation on "We People Who Are Darker Than Blue" and "Stare and Stare" for the taste. Also includes classics like "If There's A Hell Below," "People Get Ready," "Stone Junkie" and more. 2LP, gatefold. Recommended.
- music label: Curtom / Scorpio 1971