MOVE ON UP * CURTIS MAYFIELD * BUDDAH 2011-080 * UK
Although Curtis Mayfield had left the Impressions to perform as a solo artist his music hadn't changed at all, no single male pin up lover man image with a heavy love song, sung just for you baby, for the women folk to buy into, the reason many a male artist is pulled from the group. Instead here he was writing and singing the same positive and empowering songs with an overt social and political message as he had been with the group, his first for the British market was If There's A Hell Below Were All Gonna Go! definitely not a song calculated to get the female heart racing in the breast. Move On Up his second solo release in the UK - issued inexplicably on this 'maxi' three track single, perhaps the record company had no real faith in the song - was nothing more than Keep On Pushing in a 1970s idiom, a direct and blatant message to all the under powered, under represented, under privileged, in short all those folk who are under heavy manners, to keep on trying to better themselves. The song was a big hit in the British Isle's giving him his first chart success - something he had been unable to achieve with the Impressions - spending ten weeks on the charts in the summer of 1971 reaching the number 12 slot, therefore just missing the coveted 'top ten' which would have meant extra air play. This was no mean feat as, for obvious reasons, very few records with this type of positive social and political message got into the charts at all in those days. Here is a sample of what did make it into the top ten in that same year and therefore would have been played endlessly on the state (Labour) run Pop radio station, virtually the only Pop music radio at the time: Grandad by Clive Dunn, Chripy Chirpy Cheep Cheep By Middle Of The Road, Ernie The Fastest Milkman In The West Benny Hill. It's clear from this and other examples just how the state control of the media dumbed down (not a new strategy by any means) to prevent the underclass' to, in Curtis Mayfield's words, Move On Up.
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