Saturday, January 17, 2009

Soundtrack Songs: Little Child Running Wild

Curtis Mayfield - Little Child Running Wild [purchase]

Superfly isn't the greatest movie, but I defy anyone to come up with a better, funkier soundtrack. The obvious move here is to go with "Pusherman," the most recognizable tune from the film and a stone-cold classic in its own right. But, I'm opting for the first cut from the album, "Little Child Running Wild." This might be Mayfield's finest moment as a producer and arranger (in collaboration with Johnny Pate), skillfully integrating Hammond B-3, strings, congas, drums, tenor sax, and wah-wah guitar. Lyrically, "Little Child" is a masterpiece of social commentary, a sympathetic narrative of inner city dysfunction that is, sadly, still relevant. As a bonus, I've tacked onto the beginning of the track an excerpt from a Mayfield interview, recorded a few years before his death in 1999. I think it nicely contrasts the intensity of the subject matter with the sensitivity of his artistic methodology.

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