I got a copy of the Live album Curtis Mayfield released in 1973 “Curtis Live” Now I also have a copy of this back in Va. thanks to my Aunt who let me take what I wanted from her collection and was cool with me grabbing that one. However her copy was crazy old and the dust on it was so thick most of the time the needle would just slide over the record when I tried to play it on the stereo.
So now that I am able to listen to the whole album, one thing really struck me as strange but in a good way, Curtis Mayfield did a version of “We’ve Only Just Begun,” signature song of The Carpenters. What was even deeper and ill to me was the words he said before he began to sing the song:
“A lot of folks think this particular lyric is not appropriate or might
be considered underground. But I think underground is whatever
your mood or your feelings might be at the time, so long as it’s the
truth. Think it’s very appropriate we might lend a few word of
inspiration about here”.
As Mayfield sings the song at very slow melodic pace, the words take on a totally different meaning. Being a fan of Mayfield’s work you could see just how those lyrics would and were turned into such a prideful anthem to overcome whatever maybe beating you down and holding you back. Since this was my first time hearing this part of the album even though I saw the title on the record many times, I would not have thought it would be a cover of what is now a signature song for The Carpenters. Not sure if Paul Williams had such a deep and profound statement and interpretation in mind when he penned this now classic song, but I have to say my view for it’s meaning has become very broad. I mean word has it that the song was originally a jingle for a bank commercial. The Carpenters turned it into the ultimate ballad of a couple getting married and ready to take on the world,” Talking it over, just the two of us, working together day by day.” If that’s not some deep shit please give me a line that is. It gets love at a lot of weddings. But Mayfield gives the vibe that he’s building with black people telling them to be strong, this is just beginning it can only get better if we work together. That line about white lace is overlooked by me, but everything else fits that angle perfectly.
I have way too many versions of this song but now Curtis Mayfield’s cover has become the one version I really enjoy. Of course The Carpenters version is the shit and I really enjoy Paul Williams’ stripped down version as well but Mayfield brought a meaning that was different from everything I had heard. This meaning made it sound like it wasn’t even the same song and that makes me like it that much more.
since it seems this mp3 will not play on this post click here to hear the song.