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I Plan To Stay A Believer: The Inside Songs Of Curtis Mayfield

by William Parker

  • Streaming + Download

    Includes unlimited streaming via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.
    Purchasable with gift card

      $16 USD  or more


  • Compact Disc (CD) + Digital Album

    includes 8-panel insert w/ color photography from the concerts,
    full credits & beautiful (as ever) notes by William Parker.

    Includes unlimited streaming of I Plan To Stay A Believer: The Inside Songs Of Curtis Mayfield via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.
    ships out within 5 days
    Purchasable with gift card

      $18 USD or more 


  • Ltd. Edition 2LP on Black Vinyl
    Record/Vinyl + Digital Album

    First-time-on-vinyl 2LP edition of this mighty work, prompted by this project's long-awaited return to the stage – Town Hall, NYC, March 4, 2020 [ ]
    This was first made available in person at that concert – the second to last glorious real live communion that AUM was a party to in the "before" times.
    2LP features select tracks from original 2CD issue (per back cover art here) -&- a previously unreleased, astonishing, exclusive-to-vinyl version of "People Get Ready/The Inside Song", along with a bandcamp download card for the total work noted below, so you'll get instant gratification now, and can share the additional download with a friend when you get the records. Nice.

    Includes unlimited streaming of I Plan To Stay A Believer: The Inside Songs Of Curtis Mayfield via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.

    Sold Out

It's Alright 05:13
Move On Up 17:29
You must be merciful my friend to attain the same. So if you break the chain don't pass the blame We who are pure at heart somehow might see there's still light in the word, come rejoice with me -lyrics by Curtis Mayfield, copyright controlled / wisdom infinite



=The Inside Songs of Curtis Mayfield Ensemble=
William Parker: bass (+ donso’ngoni on 4, balafon on 11)
Hamid Drake: drums (except 4)
Amiri Baraka: voice, poetry
Leena Conquest: vocals
Dave Burrell: piano (except 1, 2, 5, 11)
Lewis Barnes: trumpet
Darryl Foster: tenor & soprano sax
Sabir Mateen: alto & tenor sax, flute

with guests:
Lafayette Gilchrist: piano (on 1, 2)
Guillermo E. Brown: drums (on 4)
Asim Barnes: guitar (on 6, 7, 10)
New Life Tabernacle Generation of Praise Choir
of Brooklyn, NY (on 6, 7)
-&- a 90-strong Children's Choir from the banlieues of Paris,
under the direction of teacher Sylvia Howard (on 5, 11)

"A superb example of how a pop songbook can be transformed .. a fierce and awesome display of musical prowess." –JazzTimes

"Never less than vibrantly alive and utterly suffused with joy."
–The Wire

"As epic, exciting and life-affirming as any set you’re likely to find, this year or any." –All About Jazz-New York

“Immense thought and planning clearly went into these arrangements. To pull and stretch these songs so much and still preserve their essential identity is a true feat of art.” –Pitchfork

"The essence of the originals, a surging, triumphant life-force, deep-seated humanity and the will to survive that defined Curtis Mayfield's music, also defines these versions. At times we get gospel-tinged uplift, at times we get soulful swing, at times tight soul groove and at times full-blown freak-out, but what never falters is the clear-eyed joy and righteous purpose that has defined the music of both Mayfield and Parker throughout their careers." –Other Music

I Plan To Stay A Believer is the definitive document of William Parker's The Inside Songs of Curtis Mayfield project, comprised of exuberant concert recordings spanning the first decade of this century. The project features fully charged interpolations of the mighty songbook of soul music legend Curtis Mayfield by an equally mighty 8-piece band, occasionally accompanied by highly inspired choirs, including two pieces (5, 11) from the group's very first 2001 performance in Paris with a chorus of 90 children, and another pair (6, 7) from Vision Festival/New York in 2008 which feature the New Life Tabernacle Generation of Praise Choir of Brooklyn.

Bassist/composer William Parker is among the most active and highly regarded musicians performing today. This is the first project in his 40+year career devoted to the music of another composer. Curtis Mayfield was a prophet, a preacher, a revolutionary, a humanist, and a griot. All are descriptors for William Parker as well.

As Parker writes in the liner notes, "Every song written or improvised has an inside song which lives in the shadows, in-between the sounds and silences and behind the words, pulsating, waiting to be reborn as a new song."

I Plan To Stay A Believer brings Curtis Mayfield's positive messages of hope and fortitude in the face of potentially overwhelming odds back into the present moment where these energies remain ever more so in great need.

The group features all long-standing compatriots of Parker's: the peerless rhythm section of Parker and drummer Hamid Drake, along with elder masters Dave Burrell on piano and poet/activist Amiri Baraka. The horn section features saxophonists Sabir Mateen & Darryl Foster and trumpeter Lewis Barnes. Deeply soulful singer Leena Conquest is also featured in Parker's Raining On The Moon group, singing William's songs/lyrics of deep insight and inspiration. Do check their three albums up here on bc as well.

Play this loud for your neighborhood to hear.

Blessings & Light;
stay well-tuned.


released March 4, 2020

Compositions by Curtis Mayfield (Warner-Tamerlane Pub Corp.);
Arranged by William Parker (Centering Music, BMI)
Except "Ya Hey Yey Ya" & "The Inside Song"
Composed by William Parker (Centering Music, BMI)
Additional lyrics by Amiri Baraka

All tracks recorded live in concert, spanning 2001-2008:
March 2001–Paris (5, 11)
April 2002–Amherst, MA (4)
February 2007–Chiasso, Switzerland (1, 2)
June 2008–New York (6, 7, 10)
October 2008–Cormons & Botticino, Italy (3, 8, 9)
Entire project mastered by Michael Marciano
at Systems Two Studio, Brooklyn.

Produced by William Parker and Steven Joerg
Original die-cut art of William Parker and Curtis Mayfield
by Raymond A. King, Philadelphia, PA


all rights reserved



William Parker New York, New York

is a bassist–improvisor–composer–bandleader–griot–shaman–community leader.
He performs beautifully & powerfully on numerous additional instruments as well.

Featured here are the premier works produced for both AUM Fidelity & his own Centering Records imprint.

portrait by
Jimmy Katz
... more


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