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Reviewed by Cardinal Cox


The Best Of Gil Scott-Heron CD
The Best Of Gil Scott-Heron available from

Write Dope on Pnuk part 18 

One-time novelist (urban mystery 'The Vulture' came out in 1970), cum poet ('Small Talk At 125th And Lenox' released the same year), cum funky-jazz singer/songwriter. Yes, I said jazz. Don't look at me like that, because along with the dancey grooves he wove some of the hardest hitting lyrics you've ever heard.

From pieces at the start of his musical career, such as 'The Revolution Will Not Be Televised', 'Home Is Where The Hatred Is' and 'Get Out Of The Ghetto Blues', he was articulating the urban black experience. The mid-'seventies are represented by the alcohol song (and Gil has suffered with bouts of dependancy) 'The Bottle' and the Nixon-baiting 'H20gate Blues'. With the 'eighties he had new targets, and so produced 'B Movie', 'Storm Music' and 'Washington DC'.

Gil wasn't the first to fuse black politics with funky music, James Brown had 'Say It Loud - I'm Black And I'm Proud' ' in 1968; Aretha Franklin's reworking of Otis Redding's 'Respect' captured both Women's as well as Black Rights; and Marvin Gaye's 1971 album 'What's Going On', inspired by letters from his brother in Vietnam. A shame then that so many Gangster Rap acts are so insipid and back-biting.

Good place to start if you want to dip a toe into a great (if troubled) artist's career. 


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