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People Get Ready

June 6, 2016

Amen, Ronnie!

“We hurry it along by living in such a way that the kingdom of God comes within us first. We hurry it along by working toward peace and justice.”

Ronnie McBrayer

MayfieldCurtis Mayfield, who would have celebrated his 74th birthday this weekend, wrote a rarity of a song most everyone in North America has heard: “People Get Ready.” By rarity, I mean its message, not its repetition, as it has been covered by everyone from Rod Stewart to the Neville Brothers (though my personal favorite is Eva Cassidy’s version).

“People Get Ready,” while a vintage rock and roll tune that is always counted among the greatest rock songs of all time, is clearly a spiritual. It is pure gospel, and the great Curtis Mayfield intended it to be exactly so.

Mayfield started singing when he was kid at his grandmother’s Chicago church. He learned to play guitar, piano, and most every instrument he could get his hands on. He joined the Impressions when he was a teenager, and entering adulthood, he got involved in the Civil Rights movement, becoming a close…

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