Saturday, February 21, 2015

people get ready

Curtis Mayfield and the Impressions captured the spirit of the times with the transcendent optimism of this gospel deliverance.  The group had started in Chicago as the Roosters with Jerry Butler, Curtis Mayfield, Sam Gooden, and brothers Richard and Arthur Brooks.  They changed their name to Jerry Butler & the Impressions and signed a deal with Vee-Jay Records, scoring hits with "For Your Precious Love" and "Come Back My Love", Butler went solo and Fred Cash came in to fill the gap.   "Gypsy Woman" became their biggest hit yet; but when they had trouble following it up, the Brooks brothers called it quits. 

The remaining trio of Gooden, Cash, and Mayfield signed with ABC-Paramount and had their biggest hit with "It's All Right".  With their sweet harmonies and swinging rhythms, the group had established themselves as soul pioneers on their self titled debut and 'Keep On Pushing'.  Producer Johnny Pate created a rich sonic backdrop for the increasingly socially conscious lyrics of songwriter Mayfield.  

Their fourth album, 'People Get Ready' went to number twenty-three on the pop album chart and number one on the R&B chart.

Inspired by the 1963 march on Washington, "People Get Ready" became an anthem for the Civil Rights Movement and their most enduring song.  It went to number fourteen on the pop singles chart and number three on the R&B chart.  Mayfield would reflect:   “While I had written a few Gospel songs, what would be looked upon as Gospel, I called them more inspirational, such things as ‘People Get Ready, This is a perfect example of what I believe has laid in my subconscious as to the preaching of my grandmother, and most ministers when they reflect from the Bible ... I found myself in the church...You hear all kinds of voicings. Along with the gift or music I inherited, I also learned a lot from the introductions of my mother, Laurence Dunbar, Dr. Seuss and limericks..I learned differences in timing with Dr. Seuss and limericks. Those influences made me able to change tempos. It gave me the ability to write.”

People get ready, there's a train comin'
You don't need no baggage, you just get on board
All you need is faith to hear the diesels hummin'
Don't need no ticket you just thank the Lord

So people get ready, for a train to Jordan
Picking up passengers coast to coast
Faith is the key, open the doors and board them
There's hope for all among those loved the most

There ain't no room for the hopeless sinner
Whom would hurt all mankind just to save his own, believe me now
Have pity on those whose chances grow thinner
For there is no hiding place against the kingdoms throne

So people get ready there's a train comin'
You don't need no baggage, you just get on board
All you need is faith to hear the diesels hummin'
Don't need no ticket, you just thank the Lord

"Woman's Got Soul"

The Impressions - Woman's Got Soul by soulpatrol

"You Must Believe Me"

'People Get Ready' 
full album:

All songs by Curtis Mayfield.

"Woman's Got Soul"
"Emotions (Won't You Let Me Cry)"
"Sometimes I Wonder"
"We're in Love"
"Just Another Dance"
"Can't Work No Longer"
"People Get Ready"
"I've Found Out That I've Lost"
"Hard to Believe"
"See the Real Me"
"Get Up and Move"
"You Must Believe Me"

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