8 Songs, 35 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

While not as celebrated as his epochal Superfly, the 1977 Short Eyes is another masterful display of Curtis Mayfield’s gifts applied to movie soundtracking. The story of an imprisoned pedophile allows his empathy to shine; the simple observation that “I’m a young dude, but my whole life is almost gone” from “Back Against the Wall” is hard not to feel, especially as presented in the track’s mix of Impressions-style vocalizing and post-Hendrix guitar soloing. “Short Eyes/Freak, Freak, Free, Free, Free,” by constrast, is a warning for children to watch out for predators. The soft soul contours of that cut, “A Heavy Dude” and much of the rest couch humanistic messages while not shying from harder realities. Short Eyes remains the sort of album that might convert casual Mayfield fans into deeper appreciators.

EDITORS’ NOTES

While not as celebrated as his epochal Superfly, the 1977 Short Eyes is another masterful display of Curtis Mayfield’s gifts applied to movie soundtracking. The story of an imprisoned pedophile allows his empathy to shine; the simple observation that “I’m a young dude, but my whole life is almost gone” from “Back Against the Wall” is hard not to feel, especially as presented in the track’s mix of Impressions-style vocalizing and post-Hendrix guitar soloing. “Short Eyes/Freak, Freak, Free, Free, Free,” by constrast, is a warning for children to watch out for predators. The soft soul contours of that cut, “A Heavy Dude” and much of the rest couch humanistic messages while not shying from harder realities. Short Eyes remains the sort of album that might convert casual Mayfield fans into deeper appreciators.

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