Curtis Mayfield :: Jesus

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If you’re driving around and “Jesus” comes on the radio, pull to the side of the road, park the car, and sit with the song until the last note. That’s what I did the first and only time I heard Curtis Mayfield sing it over the air. Sunday morning cruising down Camp Street in New Orleans, LA. God Bless WWOZ. “Don’t think that I’m any saint,” he warns, “‘cause I can’t do nothin’ for you.” Nonsense. This turn at the pulpit is mighty enough to bring any non-believer to his or her knees. Sermonizing atop a swaying groove, demure organ, and languid guitar moves, Mayfield extols the virtues of Jesus Christ.    Spoken word eventually shifts to trembling falsetto, his solemn plea lifted higher by a sturdy backing chorus. A  tasteful  guitar solo opens the door to the final verse. The passion intensifies ever so slightly and Mayfield and the congregation slowly file through the front of the church alongside an inspired gust of strings, ready to face the bleak world of 1975.   words / j steele

Curtis Mayfield :: Jesus

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