Thursday, October 9, 2014

Night of Terror #8: 'Sweet Exorcist'

Sometimes over the course of our lives we accidentally embark on two different endeavors, at completely cross purposes with one another. In my case, I wanted to A: Watch/read/listen to/eat/drink some non-movie Halloween item every day in October, and write about my experiences doing the same. I also wanted to B: Do nothing but listen to Curtis Mayfield all day. Most of the horrors depicted in Curtis Mayfield records are sociopolitical in nature, like racism and poverty and national malaise. But he did record an album called Sweet Exorcist, and it came out one year after The Exorcist, and it's my blog, so whatever.

No, Sweet Exorcist isn't some kind of horror-funk concept album, and I'm not really sure I'd want to listen to such a thing from Curtis Mayfield. George Clinton, sure, but not Mayfield. The title track is all about exorcising metaphorical demons when you fall in love, which is a very nice sentiment albeit not a very spooky one. One of the things I love about good soul music is the way it can take romantic or even sexual love and intermingle it lyrically with spiritualism or religion and it never seems tacky or weird, instead suggesting that love of God and love of a (wo)man is all on the same spectrum. See? I can't even type that without it seeming weird, Mayfield truly is a Gentle Genius.

The rest of Sweet Exorcist is typically sharp Mayfield songwriting and arrangements, albeit mostly lacking the hard funk grooves of his more famous work from this period ("Kung Fu" might take you where you need to go on this front though). I thought about doing some kind of bit where I pretend "To Be Invisible" is about a horror-movie-style invisible man, but it's 2 AM and I'm tired. Now, if you'll give me a minute, I'm going to dash over to YouTube and see if I can find a Sweet Exorcist/The Exorcist mashup. That has to exist, right?

God damn it.

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