|(Photo source: Michael A. Gonzales)|
Superfly fan Michael A. Gonzales has written what has to be the definitive chronicle of the making of the Superfly soundtrack, "Gangster Boogie," the must-read cover story in the latest issue of Wax Poetics magazine (what an issue it is: Mayfield! David Holmes! Roc Raida! Do the Right Thing! Black Dynamite! Funkdafied '70s European library music!). The Superfly soundtrack's influence on R&B and hip-hop shows no signs of waning (I didn't notice "Little Child Runnin' Wild" was sampled in Kanye West's "Flashing Lights" until it was pointed out by The-Breaks.com).
What makes Michael's piece stand out from other writings I've read about the 1972 soundtrack is that it doesn't neglect the importance of the sidemen and arrangers who helped Mayfield craft the soundtrack. Michael has said he wanted to avoid writing about Superfly through the lens of the auteur theory like other writings about classic albums he's read, hence the substantial interviews with Superfly guitarists Craig McMullen and Phil Upchurch and arranger Johnny Pate, who composed a terrific instrumental score for Shaft in Africa after Superfly.
"Gangster Boogie" also sheds light on the tensions between rock musicians and traditional film scorers that arise from projects like Superfly. I wasn't aware of Mayfield's lawsuit against his former friend Pate, who claimed he was solely responsible for writing Superfly's "Junkie Chase" and "Think" instrumental cues. It's one of many juicy tidbits in a fly article about the flyest of '70s movie soundtracks.