Saturday, May 28, 2011

Gil Scott-Heron 1949-2011

I have just heard the very sad news 'bout Gil Scott-Heron. Although he rejected the title of "Godfather Of Rap" there is no doubting the influence that he had and still has on the hip hop/rap scene both musically and lyrically, being one of the first musicians to explore the social and political issues of his day. Gil Scott preferred to think of his music as "bluesology" or quite simply "black American music".

Whatever way it is labelled there is no question that he inspired a generation of musicians and along with Curtis Mayfield is one of the unsung heroes of black music. His most famous works are the tracks he recorded in the 70's that reflected the turbulence and uncertainty of the times with music that was at turns angry, defiant and regretful with some of the finest poetical commentary committed to record by any musician.

I first came across Gil Scott-Heron in the late 1980's when, after hearing his name being bandied about by the likes of Del La Soul and Chuck D, I picked up a copy on vinyl of The Best Of Gil Scott-Heron for 50p in a record store's closing down sale and was instantly a fan. Turned out to be one of the best 50p's I spent on a record and still gets a regular spin in these quarters.

After releasing no new studio material for 16 years he came back last year with one of the best albums of 2010 in I'm New Here , an album that showed he was still capable of producing work of depth and soulfulness that few others could even dream of.

R.I.P. Gil Scott-Heron

The Revolution Will Not Be Televised
Lady Day And John Coltrane
Me And The Devil

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