OF GIL SCOTT-HERON
by Cardinal Cox
The Best Of Gil Scott-Heron available from Amazon.co.uk
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
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.
© All work copyright of Cardinal Cox.