Keep ON Pushing ...Curtis Mayfield...
 

Early Years
Jerry Butler
Essential
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Welcome to a page about the great Curtis Mayfield...

 

Curtis was born on June 3rd 1942 and started singing gospel music under his grandmother's auspices @ at the Traveling Souls Spiritualist Church in Chicago at a young age.
He was playing self taught guitar by his early teens. His unique sound can be attributed to his F-Sharp/Spanish Tuning style that developed over time. His light falsetto voice found a home in neighborhood groups on Chicago's South Side like the Alphatones and with his cousins and a friend named Jerry Butler in the Northern Jubilee Gospel Singers.By 1957, Jerry had joined a group of Chattanooga TN refugees called The Roosters and recruited Curtis. Shortly thereafter they changed the name to the hipper urban moniker of The Impressions. The band signed to a corrupt mob affiliated label called Vee-Jay, who then promptly promoted Jerry Butler as a solo act. The rest of the group struggled on, releasing unheard 45's on the local Vee-Jay, Swirl, and Bandera labels before moving to New York in 1961.

The group obtained a deal with ABC-Paramount and there first release "Gypsy Woman" shot up to #2 on the R&B charts and #20 on the white artist dominated Pop Charts. The group was unable to obtain much more success though , and Curtis returned to Chicago by 1963 with some Impressions membership changes and a set of vastly more developed music business skills.

Curtis began producing other artists such as The Staple Singers, Gene Chandler, Major Lance,Walter Jackson and others. Mayfield played a pivotal role in shaping a small but impressive roster for the tiny OKeh label in Chicago.

After finding a competent orchestral brass and string arranger in Johnny Pate, Mayfield got the Impressions moving again and the group was on a roll. The re-appearance of the Impressions at the top of the charts came with the releadse of "It's Alright", a #1 R&B chart topper and a #4 Pop hit . By January '64 , The Impressions sent "Talking About My Baby" onto the Pop charts where it hit #12. Other hits of that time span included the landmark songs of the civil rights era "I'm So Proud" ( Pop #14), and "Keep On Pushing" ( #10), the title track of their 3rd LP which reached #8


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