Curtis Mayfield’s border-transcending Superfly is much more than a soundtrack to a cutting-edge blaxploitation film. Recorded in 1972 to coincide with Gordon Parks Jr.’s movie about a dealer attempting to divorce himself from the urban underworld, Mayfield’s brilliantly orchestrated set ignited an entire genre, expanded the scope of R&B, and spurred dialogues surrounding significant social issues ranging from the unvarnished consequences of hustling to the realities of African-American lives in America. Rightly deemed by Rolling Stone “Marvin Gaye’s What’s Going On at a street level” and named the 69th Greatest Album of All Time by the magazine, Superfly endures as an astonishing master stroke of boundarycrossing soul, lyrical smarts, and vital commentary.
Mastered on Mobile Fidelity’s world-renowned mastering system, the label’s 180g 45RPM 2LP set (strictly limited to 4,000 numbered copies) and hybrid SACD (strictly imited to 2,500 numbered copies) of Superfly present Mayfield’s vision with widescreen sonics worthy of its cinematic reach. The extra groove space afforded by the firsttime ever 45RPM edition explodes the wealth of aural information. Ditto the clarity provided by the SACD. Each edition bursts with colors and details—with the mind-boggling array of individual threads forming a seamless tapestry involving guitars, woodwinds, horns, singing, and melodies. Separation between the seemingly countless instruments, the myriad timbres of Mayfield’s voice, the breadth of the strings, and the probing reach of the lean albeit direction-leading bass hits massive proportions: You’ve never heard Superfly sound so vibrant, realistic, or immediate. No wonder the music now pulses with even more vitality than it did more than four decades ago.