Song of the Day: Curtis Mayfield “Sweet Exorcist”
Curtis Mayfield is probably my favorite soul singer. He combined stellar guitar playing chops, great song-writing, social consciousness and one of the most recognizable/ sweetest falsetto singing voices of all-time. Mayfield‘s talents are so manifest and obvious that it is possible to take his genius for granted. This of course, would be a mistake, as the deeper you dig into his surprisingly varied discography, the more he surprises you with his relentless inventiveness.
“Sweet Exorcist” is one of my very favorite Curtis Mayfield cuts. It is a slow-jam to end all slow jams. His vocals are perfectly suited to this type of material and that wah-wah guitar track almost sounds like it is dripping. The whole idea of using sensual love as a tool for exorcism is so weird and wonderful that only a musician as brilliant as Mayfield could truly pull it off without it sounding like a novelty cut. The slight psychedelic underbelly of the song and chorus where things tighten up and get funkier almost perfectly mimics the throws one would imagine mid-exorcism. There are so many great little production elements that happen in this song. Mayfield always got some of the best musicians to play with him and, always a master of restraint and good taste, he really allows all the players to do their thing without anyone’s contribution feeling too showy. What we are left with, is pure slow-jam perfection.