The Mayfield: Remixed - The Curtis Mayfield Collection

by: Curtis Mayfield

When in the course of an artist or label's lifetime it becomes necessary to spruce up and reinvigorate its back catalog, there are plenty of options that can be considered for that much needed shot in the arm to bring new life and listeners to the fold. Remastering and repackaging to meet modern technology and audiophile standards is one way, sensibly priced compilations surveying a period of time is another. Then there is the recent, mildly sacrilegious process of having modern-day artists with name clout take a stab at "remixing" or "reconstructing" an artist or label's well-known hits. This practice is easily the most risky of the three, as sometimes the experiment works and other times it is a complete disaster. With Mayfield: Remixed, it borders on complete blasphemy from nearly the start to finish, the sole relief being Ashley Beedle's excellent edit of "Do Do Wap Is Strong in Here" and King Britt's wobbly take on "Little Child Running Wild." The tired cliché-ridden percussive exercise that Louie Vega and Blaze offer up on "Superfly" and "Freddie's Dead" not only insult the raw funk explosion found on the originals, it strips the anthems of all social commentary in favor of a predictable house beat borderlining on budget-line chillout comp status. Calling Eric Kupper's "remix" of "Move On Up" a cultural injustice doesn't fully explain how much he is at fault of the same crime. It's a shame that the remixes found on here aren't even crimes of passion; they're just poorly thought out and badly executed performances in exchange for quick cash. Perhaps the best alternative would have been to just reissue, remaster, and calibrate Curtis' works into a respectful, long overdue project. Or perhaps find artists who would have a better sensitivity to the context of the original works. Or better yet? Just leave it fine and well alone. ~ Rob Theakston

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