" Curtis Mayfield makes a long overdue - and well earned - appearance in Ace's ongoing Songwriter series this month with 'People Get Ready', a collection that spans more than a decade and a half of brilliant compositions by one of the most prolific and important tunesmiths of the 20th Century.
" From the late 1950s onwards, Curtis' outstanding songwriting provided hits for almost everyone in his peer group on the Chicago Soul scene - a scene that his words and music virtually invented. His own hits, firstly with the Impressions and eventually as a solo artist, are among the most important of their time, and of all time.
" 'People Get Ready' is Ace's small but perfectly formed salute to Curtis' craft, and strives to represent every facet of his lyrical and musical genius. It can't be definitive - we would need a large box-set for that - but it's assuredly representative in every way.
" Curtis always spoke to his people and on behalf of his people, and the messages in socially conscious songs such as 'People Get Ready', 'Hard Times' and 'Keep On Keepin' On' are as relevant now as they were half a century ago. While from a romantic standpoint, songs do not get any better than the likes of 'I'm So Proud' or 'The Makings Of You'.
" 22 quality performances from a host of major black American artists (plus a couple of the many covers of Mayfield copyrights from Jamaica, a country in which Curtis was revered) across a period of more than 50 years bear testimony here to the brilliance of Curtis Lee Mayfield.