Missed Masterpieces: Curtis Mayfield | Buzz Blog

Missed Masterpieces: Curtis Mayfield

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I went to Cottonwood High School before there was a Taylorsville High School. Our three grades had around 3,500 students, making Cottonwood the biggest Utah high school ever, at least up to the point of my senior year.---

Our high school had eastside students who, except for our little shitty neighborhood, were mostly considered well-to-do. And we had kids from westside neighborhoods full of working class families, with the city of Murray right in the middle. 

Through playing sports, we knew a lot of guys from the other side of town. And as soon as high school started, westside boys were interested in eastside girls and vice versa.

We only had a few black people in our school, including a gorgeous ZCMI model. I can’t remember her name, but she may rule New York, Paris, or Milan to this day. We also had a bunch of white and Hispanic guys who wanted to be black. They all wore black or red Converse Chuck Taylor high-tops, never laced, and there was a distinct way they all walked.

With this big circle of people, there always a party to attend on the weekends. There was one in July of 1977 that was perfect; wild, but not so wild anyone got hurt.

A friend and I made our way to the roof of the three-story building of the westside Copacabana Club and jumped into the not-that-close swimming pool. And the pool was big enough to get a bunch a people on one side pulling the rope and a water skier was pulled up and could make one turn before quickly letting go of the rope.

This was about five months before the release of Saturday Night Fever and the deluge of disco. And we were used to dancing to a live band that would play mostly Doobie Brothers and Steve Miller Band songs. But this party was DJ’d by our group of pseudo black guys who were playing this music that even made a stiff white boy like me want to involuntarily move my ass and feet.

I went over and asked these guys, “Hey, is this soul music?” Their response was, “No man…this is funk music, and can I have a couple of hits from that roach you got there in your hand?” Well, certainly. Share and share alike, as I always say.

I looked at what they had, like the Ohio Players, Commodores songs like “Brick House.” The most impressive album of all was Curtis Mayfield’s Super Fly.

I later found out it was actually a soundtrack from a blaxploitation movie like the original Shaft, but not as good. I could give a shit, the album was marvelous, and still is. Nothing better for a party, if you party, and God knows I’ve slowed down to a crawl. You need this disc. Hell, it might even get your silly ass laid.

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