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New World Order
Curtis Mayfield
New World Order
Genres: Pop, R&B
Curtis Mayfield was as much social conscience for the '60s and '70s as Chuck D was for the '80s and '90s. Mayfield was paralyzed from the neck down when a lighting scaffold fell on him at a 1990 Brooklyn concert. Though he...  more »


CD Details

All Artists: Curtis Mayfield
Title: New World Order
Members Wishing: 0
Total Copies: 0
Label: Warner Bros / Wea
Original Release Date: 9/3/1996
Release Date: 9/3/1996
Album Type: Single
Genres: Pop, R&B
Style: Soul
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
Other Editions: New World Order
UPCs: 054391756824, 054391756848

Curtis Mayfield was as much social conscience for the '60s and '70s as Chuck D was for the '80s and '90s. Mayfield was paralyzed from the neck down when a lighting scaffold fell on him at a 1990 Brooklyn concert. Though he can no longer move his arms and hands, he has continued to write songs simply by singing lyrics and melodies to his family and staff. New World Order is both the first full album of all-new Mayfield material since 1990's Take It to the Streets and the best since 1977's Short Eyes soundtrack. Though his signature guitar sound is sorely missed, the Latin-tinged, bubbly tunes and sharp-eyed words are unmistakably his. "Whenever life pulls you down," Mayfield sings, "you just get back up and hold your ground.... Let's get back to living again." --Geoffrey Himes

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CD Reviews

A Stunning Coda To A Brilliant Career
Gavin B. | St. Louis MO | 03/31/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)

"In his forty odd years as musician, Chicago native Curtis Mayfield career took his fans to mountain and back, and we are all better people for the journey. It will be sometime in the future when Mayfield's considerable contributions to popular music will be fully realized. Co-founder of the Impressions with Jerry Butler, Curtis' deep roots in early doo-wop and latin music is reflected in their early chart-topper, "Gypsy Woman". Butler left the Impressions and Mayfield took the reigns and wrote and produced the long streak of gospel influenced hits associated the their classic era. Songs like "Amen", "People Get Ready" and "Keep On Pushing" became touchstones of the civil rights movement and songs of hope for the downtrodden. By the end of the sixties, when Mayfield went solo, his songcraft developed a deep harmonic complexity and along with Marvin Gaye, Curtis became one of great topical composers of the era. He embraced the newly emerging funk music, pioneered by James Brown and his perfoming ensemble struck dance ready groove as Mayfield became one of great guitar innovators of the seventies. He began experimenting with a wah-wah pedal and using sonic atomospheric washes of sound, as a counterpoint to the rock steady bass grooves. Subsequently his guitar playing became widely imitated by both rythym and blues and rock and roll guitarists. In 1972, Mayfield wrote the soundtrack to "Superfly" a small movie aimed at exploiting a black target audience. The album is arguably the best movie soundtrack of the 1970s and Mayfield directed his energies to writting soundtracks throughout most of the Seventies including an underrated collboration with Aretha Franklin for the movie "Sparkle". Curtis was also a mezmerizing live performer and the album "Curtis Live" is a showcase of the silky Mayfield falsetto, his highly stylized guitar playing and his genius as a bandleader. By the beginning of the Eighties, Mayfield's popularity was declining due to the rise of hip-hop but Mayfield continued to tour and record. In 1990, Mayfield was seriously injured when a lighting rig fell on him during a concert in Brooklyn. Mayfield was paralyzed from the neck down as a result.There are feats of artistic determination that stagger the imagination of us mere mortals. Henri Matisse became so ill he could no longer paint at his easel, so he improvised colorful and brillant cut-outs of scraps of paper while bedridden. Michaelangelo painted the Sistine Chapel on his back, atop a precarious network of scaffolding that rose from the floor nearly three stories to the ceiling. To record "New World Order", Curtis Mayfield had to lie flat on his back with a boom microphone and record a single line at a time. It is a stunning testament to the will of a man who had been all but written off as an artist, because of his injuries. Most of the songs here had to be sung and written down by friends and relatives. Curtis' soprano is as smooth as ever and he is still capable of sliding into his trademark falsetto. The guitars and synthesiers are played by a group of proxy musicians who are obviously familar with the Mayfield syle. The arrangements have the indeliable stamp of a Mayfield production. The songs are in the classic mode of Mayfield's socially conscious era of songcraft. Mayfield deals with the gap between expectations and reality as he appropriates the right-wing catchphrase "New World Order" and transforms it into a song of hope. "The Got Dang Song" is a bubbling reggae number that sounds like it could have been written by Bob Marley, his Jamaican soul brother. "Just A Little Bit Of Love" revisits the Mayfield's lifelong theme of redemption through love. "Back To Living Again" is a song where Curtis comes to terms with his injury and is, as always, a beacon of optimisim. Considered as a whole, "New World Order" is among the finest of Mayfield's recordings and is a stunning coda to a brilliant career."
A voice that will live on
Tyler Smith | Denver, CO United States | 03/10/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Curtis Mayfield suffered tragedy in his life, but what will be remembered is his indomitable spirit and optimism, both of which are displayed in this great release. As has been well chronicled, Mayfield suffered a paralyzing injury well before "New World Order" was released. But this session is devoid of any reference to that. Instead it is a blend of socially conscious tunes that reflect full awareness of the problems of the day and fresh reworkings of tunes from earlier in his career. Throughout, Mayfield's love of life and hope for better days shine through.That optimism is best expressed in tunes like "Let's Get Back to Livin' Again" and "Miss Martha," but Mayfield is no sunny optimist who has a pair of blinders on. The title cut shows his blend of realism and optimism, speaking in plain terms of problems that have plagued the community, but expressing the belief that a new day is coming: a new world order, where people will take responsibility for their actions and rebuild their communities.Mayfield's glance back at earlier days includes "Darker Than Blue," one of his best tunes from the '70s, and the gentle "The Girl I Find Stays On My Mind." It's as refreshing as it is rare to find an artist who is willing to look back to the roots of his music and incorporate them with current sounds and ideas.Curtis gave himself a great tribute to his career with this release. Those that might have forgotten him or those who never knew about him will find much to appreciate in this CD."
Soul Masterpiece
E. D. Loesch | Pacific Northwest | 08/11/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I admit it, I got cheezed into buying this disc by the sticker with Clapton's plug calling it the greatest album of 1996. Strange thing, it is. A deep personal reflection from Mayfield's later years- filled with pain- but it's no trip down memory lane. These are vibrant, alive, high-caliber tunes in a traditional soul vein. There is the unmistakable Curtis Mayfield sound; the guitar work is superb. His voice never was finer with background by Mavis Staples and Aretha- wow! As a bonus, the audio quality is SUPERB."