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Rhythm Revue Spotlight on the inspirational music of Curtis Mayfield and The Impressions

The Impressions circa 1970. Left to right: Curtis Mayfield, Fred Cash and Sam Goode
Gilles Petard
The Impressions circa 1970. Left to right: Curtis Mayfield, Fred Cash and Sam Goode

"People Get Ready" was just one of those type of songs to lend inspiration. There's probably not a lyric in it that you haven't read or haven't heard through a sermon."

As a major figure in the "Soul Sound", Curtis Mayfield wrote and produced for other recording artists. He worked with Carl Davis at Columbia, who he activated their subsidiary Okeh Records in the early 60's.

"It was another avenue for me thanks to Carl. It was a lot of friends there. We all were apart of the neighborhood living in the city. Carl Davis was always a very lovable kind of young man just to be around for the young people who seemed to love him. He had opened up some avenues for these young kids through the Okeh Records and he asked me to be a part of that."

One of Curtis Mayfield's most uplifting songs of the 60's with The Impressions was "We're a Winner".

The Impressions
The Impressions
The Impressions

"We're a Winner" was making statements. It was inspiring. It was giving hope. It was telling those who were minorities and those who were oppressed whether they be women, men, Hispanic or all the minorities that there is a way up. Just get up and do it, get up and go. So when you say 'we're a winner, never let anybody say boy you can't make it cause a feeble mind is in your way', you have to take heed to that. No more tears do we cry and we're movin' on up. I think it was quite timely in spite of the controversy."

Curtis Mayfield died on December 26, 1999. He was 57.

Felix Hernandez started his career as a producer and radio journalist while in college. In the 1980’s, Felix independently produced the award-winning radio series BluesStage, which had a 6 year run on over 200 NPR stations. He also worked extensively as a journalist with WBEZ in Chicago, and NPR.