In the summer of 1990, Curtis May-field was hit by a lighting cable and left paralyzed from the neck down. While it ended his performing career, it could not diminish his artistic impact. This album is a soulful testimony to Mayfield’s continuing importance. Whether it was the gospel-filtered harmonies of the Impressions or the solo years, when he brought social relevance to R&B with “Superfly” and “Freddie’s Dead,” Mayfield spoke to the head and to the heart.
Gathered here to interpret May-field’s work are such talents as Phil Collins, Gladys Knight, Aretha Franklin, Bruce Springsteen, Eric Clapton and Stevie Wonder. Tevin Campbell singing “Keep On Pushin’,” written before he was born, is a high point; ditto Whitney Houston’s show-stopping “Look into Your Heart.” The only missteps are “Let’s Do It Again,” which pairs Mayfield’s sweet tenor with the lifeless Repercussions, and a sexless “Gypsy Woman” à la the Boss. With a portion of the proceeds going to spinal-injury charities, All Men Are Brothers has its heart in the right place. By paying tribute to Mayfield, its soul is there too. (Warner Brothers)