Let's Do It Again (Original Soundtrack)
Curtis Mayfield/The Staple Singers
Curtom CU 5005
Released: September 1975
Chart Peak: #20
Weeks Charted: 18
Certified Gold: 11/24/75
This isn't the most original black film music of the decade; Mayfield's Super Fly and Isaac Hayes's Shaft have defined the genre too narrowly to permit any real departures short of a wholesale denial of tradition. But the presence of the Staples on five of the album's eight tracks is invigorating. Mayfield's best songs have always been secularized gospel, and his somewhat thin tenor never quite did them justice. Mavis Staples' substantial timbre and sweaty, groaning-in-the-spirit style is perfect for the repetitive lines of "Let's Do It Again" and "New Orleans." The terrific "Funky Love" blends a slinky horn hook and rising vocal refrain, the obligatory synthesizer and wah-wah guitar, and the Staples' robust harmonizing, and emerges as another strong single possibility. Those who are shocked by the Staples' apparent sellout to the carnal forces of Mammon will be relieved to hear near the end of "I Want to Thank You," the last focal feature: "Funky music will never destroy/ The faith and love we enjoy... Jesus, I just want to thank you." It's all really about union with God, like the Song of Solomon, right?
The three Mayfield instrumentals that close the album seem to be about union with the cash register. One features prominent wah-wah chording over strings, another is a rather plain ballad with wordless sighing in a repeating refrain form, and the third is an uptempo jam with buzzing synthesizer seasonings. Only the Staples are able to bring this music to life, but they do it so well the album must be counted a success. Further collaborations are in order.
If you want to buy an album just to own Mavis gasping like she does on the radio, it's your money. Be hereby informed, however, that the forty-five version is eighty-four ugly seconds skinnier than the thirty-three. Other statistics: producer Curtis Mayfield included a total of about ten minutes of instrumentals on the classic Super Fly and Claudine soundtracks. This forty-minute (eight-cut) job includes only two real songs plus a lot of doo-doo-doo, and the orchestrations -- by Richard Tufo (responsible for the waste cut on Claudine) and Gil Askey rather than Johnny Pate (who did Super Fly) -- are mush. D
- Robert Christgau, Christgau's Record Guide, 1981.
Let's Do It Again is worth owning just just for its gorgeously sexy title track. * * * 1/2
- Simon Glickman, Musichound Rock: The Essential Album Guide, 1996.
As Stax neared bankruptcy, the Staples signed with Curtis Mayfield's Curtom label for this soundtrack album. The title track was a #1 hit and "New Orleans" reached #70, returning the Staples to the upper echelons of the charts for the last time. * * *
- Rob Bowman, The All-Music Guide to Rock, 1995.
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