Impressions – It’s Alright

You got soul and everybody knows
That it’s all right, whoa, it’s all right

I never get tired of this song and it never fails to put me in a good mood…just as “I Can See Clearly Now” does. It’s a great sixties soul/pop feel-good song. I’m a Curtis Mayfield fan from The Impressions to Superfly. A great songwriter and singer…and a pretty good guitar player.

The song was written by singer, songwriter, guitarist, and producer Curtis Mayfield. In 1963, the song peaked at #4 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100,#1 on the R&B Charts, and #1 in New Zealand… I looked for the Canadian charts but since it was before 1964 it was hard to find. My friend Dave did find that it at least reached #25 on the Chum Toronto chart in November of 1963.

The song started with a conversation between lead singer Curtis Mayfield, baritone Sam Gooden, and tenor Fred Cash between Nashville performances. The trio had recently teamed up with producer Johnny Pate and were excitedly talking about future possibilities for The Impressions when Fred Cash exclaimed that “it’s all right!” Mayfield ran with it after hearing that phrase.

This song was on their self-titled debut album released in 1963. It peaked at #43 on the Billboard Album Charts. They would have more successful albums but It’s Alright was their highest-peaking song on the Billboard 100.

Mayfield was getting ready to perform at Windgate Field in Brooklyn, N.Y. on August 13, 1990, when a gust of wind from a fast-moving storm sent a lighting rig tumbling down onto him, breaking his neck and paralyzing him from the neck down. He received a Grammy Award for lifetime achievement in 1995, and he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of the Impressions in 1991 and as a solo artist in 1999. He died at age 57 in 1999. 

It’s Alright

Say it’s all right, it’s all right
Say it’s all right, it’s all right
It’s all right, have a good time
‘Cause it’s all right, whoa, it’s all right

We’re gonna move it slow
When lights are low
When you move it slow, it sounds like more
And it’s all right, whoa, it’s all right

Now listen to the beat
Kinda pat your feet
You’ve got soul and everybody knows
That it’s all right, whoa, it’s all right

When you wake up early in the morning
Feelin’ sad like so many of us do
Hum a little soul, make life your goal
And surely something’s got to come to you

And say it’s all right
Say it’s all right
It’s all right, have a good time
‘Cause it’s all right, whoa, it’s all right

Now everybody clap your hands
Give yourself a chance
You got soul and everybody knows
That it’s all right, whoa, it’s all right

Someday I’ll find me a woman
Who will love and treat me real nice
Then my woe’s got to go
And my love, she will know
From morning, noon and night

And she’s got to say it’s alright
Say it’s all right
It’s all right, have a good time
‘Cause it’s all right, whoa, it’s all right

Everybody clap your hands
Now give yourselves a chance
You’ve got soul

Curtis Mayfield – Superfly

Love this song and movie. Back in 2018 my son and I caught the movie in an Art House movie theatre that is located in Nashville. It was cool seeing this 1972 movie on the big screen. On top of a great movie, we got to hear the Curtis Mayfield soundtrack with surround sound in the theater.

Quinten Tarantino was strongly influenced by this movie for Jackie Brown. The endings are very similar. This song popularized the word “fly,” which means unusual and exceptional, particularly when it comes to fashion.

Curtis Mayfield was working on the songs for the movie while it was shooting, and would often visit the set, bringing in demos so the cast and crew could hear how they would integrate into the film. He even appears in the movie, performing the song “Pusherman” in a bar scene.

After seeing the screenplay, Mayfield jumped into the project and was given complete creative freedom. He wrote the songs to suit the scenes, but he made sure they could stand on their own, telling the stories even without the visuals. “Superfly” works very well outside of the film, as the character Mayfield describes could relate to anyone trying to survive and thrive under difficult situations.

The song peaked at #8 in the Billboard 100 and #5 in the R&B Charts in 1972.

Curtis Mayfield: “It was a glorious moment for our people as blacks, Priest had a mind, he wanted to get out. For once, in spite of what he was doing, he got away. So there came ‘Superfly’ the song. He was trying to get over. We couldn’t be so proud of him dealing coke or using coke, but at least the man had a mind and he wasn’t just some ugly dead something in the streets after it was all over. He got out.”

Superfly

Darkest of night
With the moon shining bright
There’s a set goin’ strong
Lotta things goin’ on
The man of the hour
Has an air of great power
The dudes have envied him for so long

[Chorus]
Superfly
You’re gonna make your fortune by and by
But if you lose, don’t ask no questions why
The only game you know is Do or Die
Ah-ha-ha

Hard to understand
What a hell of a man
This cat of the slum
Had a mind, wasn’t dumb
But a weakness was shown
Cause his hustle was wrong
His mind was his own
But the man lived alone

[Chorus]

The game he plays he plays for keeps
Hustlin’ times and ghetto streets
Tryin’ to get over
(That’s what he tryin’ to do, why’all)
Taking all that he can take
Gambling with the odds of fate
Tryin’ ta get over [Repeat: x4]
Woo, Superfly

The aim of his role
Was to move a lot of blow
Ask him his dream
What does it mean?
He wouldn’t know
“Can’t be like the rest”
Is the most he’ll confess
But the time’s running out
And there’s no happiness

[Chorus]

Superfly [Repeat: x4]

“Tryin’ to get over” [Repeat: x9]

Curtis Mayfield – (Don’t Worry) If There’s a Hell Below, We’re All Going to Go ——— Songs that reference Richard Nixon

Educated fools, From uneducated schools, Pimping people is the rule, Polluted water in the pool, And Nixon talking about don’t worry, worry, worry, worry

I’m saying goodbye to Richard Milhous Nixon with this one. I hope you have enjoyed the songs that referenced the former President. The comments were great so I thank all of you.

(Don’t Worry) If There’s a Hell Below, We’re All Going to Go” was released in November 1970 as the first, and only charting single off of Curtis’ debut album Curtis, it being his first solo charting single. The song peaked at #29 in 1971 in the Billboard 100. It also peaked at #3 in the Billboard Hot Soul Singles chart.

The song was about racial relations and the situation in America’s inner cities.  He’d already steered The Impressions toward funkier, more conscious material. As a solo artist, he wanted to make a fresh impression beyond The Impressions. This song certainly did that. Much like John Lennon, he didn’t hold back.

On August 13, 1990, a lighting rig fell on him while he was onstage in New York, crushing three vertebrae and rendering him a quadriplegic for the remainder of his life. He managed to make one last album, two years before his death on December 26, 1999; titled New World Order

 

(Don’t Worry) If There Is A Hell Below, We Are All Going To Go

Sisters, brothers and the whities
Blacks and the crackers
Police and their backers
They’re all political actors
Hurry
People running from their worries
While the judge and the juries
Dictate the law that’s partly flaw
Cat calling, love balling, fussing and cussing
Top billing now is killing
For peace no-one is willing
Kind of make you get that feeling
Everybody smoke, smoke, smoke, smoke, smoke
Use the pill and the dope, dope, dope, dope, dope
Educated fools
From uneducated schools
Pimping people is the rule
Polluted water in the pool
And Nixon talking about don’t worry, worry, worry, worry
He says don’t worry, worry, worry, worry
He says don’t worry, worry, worry, worry
He says don’t worry, worry, worry, worry
But they don’t know
There can be no show
And if there’s a hell below
We’re all gonna go, go, go, go, go
Everybody’s praying
And everybody’s saying
But when come time to do
Everybody’s laying
Just talking about don’t worry, worry, worry, worry
They say don’t worry, worry, worry, worry
They say don’t worry, worry, worry, worry
They say don’t worry, worry, worry, worry

The Impressions – People Get Ready

You can’t go wrong with Curtis Mayfield. A beautiful song with a gospel slant. The song was released in 1965 and peaked at #14 on the Billboard 100 and #3 on the Billboard R&B Charts.

The song was written by Curtis Mayfield and continues to be covered to this day. Here is a quote by Curtis.

“While I had written a few Gospel songs, what would be looked upon as Gospel, I called them more inspirational, such things as ‘People Get Ready,’” he said. “This is a perfect example of what I believe has laid in my subconscious as to the preaching of my grandmother, and most ministers when they reflect from the Bible.”

From Songfacts

This song resonated with African Americans during the civil rights struggles of the ’60s. The song speaks for the downtrodden, and Mayfield made it clear that transcended race. “It doesn’t matter what color or faith you have,” he told Goldmine in 1997. “I’m pleased the lyrics can be of value to anybody.”

 

People Get Ready

People get ready, there’s a train a comin’ 
You don’t need no baggage, you just get on board 
All you need is faith, to hear the diesels hummin’
Don’t need no ticket, you just thank the Lord 

So people get ready, for the train to Jordan 
Picking up passengers coast to coast 
Faith is the key, open the doors and board ’em 
There’s hope for all, among those loved the most 

There ain’t no room for the hopeless sinner 
Whom would hurt all mankind, just to save his own, believe me now
Have pity on those whose chances grow thinner 
For there is no hiding place, against the kingdom’s throne 

So people get ready there’s a train a comin’ 
You don’t need no baggage, you just get on board 
All you need is faith, to hear the diesels hummin’ 
Don’t need no ticket, you just thank the Lord