Curtis Mayfield, Super Fly

Oh, for the era when soundtracks were albums, and vice versa. Mayfield is much more direct in his anti-drug message than the movie's ambiguous flirtations with it, and the lyrics consequently come off too obvious ("Pusherman," "Freddie's Dead"), but the two instrumentals are rich without relying on unseen cues, especially the incredible "Think"'s soulful groove and reedy melody. The other slower moments are a mixed bag: "Eddie You Should Know Better" is meditative and forthright yet "Give Me Your Love" feels lazy and reads worse. Still, "No Thing On Me (Cocaine Song)" is proud, Black and positive without being snide, sour or stereotyped, and "Superfly" somehow manages to stay classic without being dated. The CD reissue adds two single mixes of questionable value, though I'm sure they made a profit for the Man at Rhino. (Content: N-bombs in "Pusherman," drug references.)