Curtis Mayfield [ 7″ : If I Were Only A Child Again ]
If I Were Only A Child Again
Record : VG+ / Cover : Generic
1973 "If I Were Only a Child Again" This further cut from Back to the World sheds the minor-key bleak-funk, delivering instead three minutes of gladdening, soul-slaking, upbeat pop, with a wriggling and irresistible rhythm track, and booming blasts of brass that feel like bolts of sunshine between the blankets of grey. Listen closely, however, and even this joyous-seeming anthem is rooted in the disillusionment of the post-Vietnam mind state, Mayfield craving the dashed innocence of childhood, when everything “seemed so colour-bright / there were never such things to me as Black and White”, when he was “too young to understand … death and war and the roles of man”. In the final verse, Mayfield’s imagining his child-self speaking truth and wisdom to the adults in charge and bringing peace on Earth, a redemptive dream that doubtless appealed to former gospel singer Mayfield. But the salvation spoken of in the New Testament rarely bothered Mayfield’s songs, certainly not in neo-realist masterpieces like Back to the World and its 1975 sequel There’s No Place Like America Today, which offered an unflinching portrait of depression scourged urban America.