Superfly [Deluxe 25th Anniversary Edition]

by: Curtis Mayfield

This expanded version of the classic album adds so much material that it really needs to be reviewed separately from the original article. The first disc of the two-CD set presents the entire album as it was originally sequenced, with the addition of the single mixes of "Freddie's Dead" and "Superfly." It's disc two that's really of interest to collectors, assembling about 40 minutes of different material from the same era, all but two tracks previously unissued (and those two were not released in the U.S.). In some cases this is fairly extraneous, as in the alternate mix of "Pusherman," but there's some interesting, even gripping stuff as well. Especially good is "Ghetto Child," which served as the harder, sparser demo of the song that eventually became "Little Child Runnin' Wild," and the 1970 demo "The Underground," whose hard-hitting lyrics and heavy guitar riffs are obvious prototypes for the Superfly approach. The full-length take of the instrumental "Junkie Chase," as well as instrumental versions of a couple of songs that had vocals on the original album, are atmospheric if not as essential; there are also a couple of radio spots and a seven-minute 1995 interview with Curtis Mayfield about the record. The second disc is good listening, though probably not of much interest to fans who aren't curious about the music's history. It makes a great bonus if you're upgrading to CD, however, as does an accompanying booklet with detailed text about the songs. ~ Richie Unterberger

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