Monday, November 24, 2008

Curtis Mayfield a Compelling Listen During Election Week

A few weeks ago Miss B selected The Very Best of Curtis Mayfield from the public library. In the days leading up to the Presidential election, she gave it a listen and was enthralled. The opening track, "(Don't Worry) If There's a Hell Below We're All Going To," with its strong spoken word commentary on social justice didn't elicit too much of a reaction at first. But, as soon as the music came in, DJ B did some truly funky new dance moves that included shoulder shrugs, head bouncing, and fast arm moves. As she got down on the floor, she continued with her rapid arm gestures.

Miss B's dad joined in on the dancing, and she cheered him on, saying, "Go dada, go dada!" As the second song began ("The Makings of You"), Miss B changed her dance style to some slower ballet moves that were more in keeping with the pace of the track. She said, "This one is a good ballet one," before she walked out of the room, saying "bye bye."

A few days after the election (Go Obama!), Miss B listened to the Curtis Mayfield CD again. This time she accompanied the initial track on her toy piano, tapping the keys with a tiny plastic Sippy cup piece. She grinned, laughed, and yelled "yay!!" while running about the room with her arms stretched out behind her in a flying pose. Then she marched a bit before throwing a tiara across the room. As before, "The Makings of You" inspired slow ballet dancing. As the CD continued to play and the pace quickened, she put on her fairy skirt and danced with her hands at her waist. She said, "Can you say, 'go princess!'?" as she shook her hips and twisted her body while watching her reflection in the glass of our entertainment center.

I'd like to think that Miss B's glee over the funky stylings and social commentary of Curtis Mayfield were part of her celebration of the election of Barack Obama. After all, Mayfield's music was influential in the early years of the civil rights movement, so it's awfully appropriate to revisit it during the afterglow of this historic election.

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