GIL SCOTT-HERON: LETTERS FROM MY BETTERS

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I’ve been gone from home, more or less continuously, since May 18th, and I simply haven’t had the physical or mental time to write much about the passing of GSH. Luckily, there’s no shortage of great, thoughtful tributes being written by others:1

  • Michael Barnes dedicated yesterday’s Melting Pot show to a two hour GSH tribute.
  • Adam Mansbach writes about “the depth of his self-analysis, the delicacy of his portraiture.”
  • Jonny Paycheck argues that by battling with his addiction, “[GSH] humanized himself, and in the process, all of us.”
  • Chairman Mao shares an unreleased promo mix from GSH’s last album, I’m New Here.
  • And if this is the first you’ve ever learned anything about GSH (and hey, that’s ok, never too late to start) and you want a starting point, I would personally suggest Winter in America, his Strata-East album with frequent collaborator Brian Jackson. A beautiful, powerful album that I never tire of revisiting.

    1. Big middle finger to those insisting on describing GSH by the ridiculous moniker “godfather of rap,” a title he eschewed and a loathsomely reductive way to capture the expansive majesty of his life and legacy.

    Comments

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    7 comments to GIL SCOTT-HERON: LETTERS FROM MY BETTERS

    • Big Ed Dunkel

      Yah, heard the “often called the Godfather of Rap” moniker on BBC. Angers me.

    • Bill

      Thanks for the links. There’s a lot been said. I hope that the outpouring of appreciation will be enough to get those hard to find albums back out in print again.

    • One of the most engaging musicians I’ve ever seen…I would happily have listened to him ad lib for hours. He was certainly a key source of inspiration when I first began writing poetry. Peace.

    • Eitan

      There are a handful of songs that can bring me to tears, and Gil’s “Pieces of a Man” is one of them.

      Agreed on the “godfather of rap” comment.

    • Blase

      This is indeed sad news. A great artist. I remember thinking the first time I heard one of his songs, “Damn. This is important music.”

    • drlaim

      SAD! Genius

      I was 16 when I started going to house parties and taking my own tape deck with home made tapes of “Revolution Will Not Be TV’, “There’s A Riot Going On” and “What’s Going On”. Sitting in a dark room with all my mates [smoking our ass off] giving it laldy [big-up] to “Whitey On The Moon” [a rat done bit my sister nell]

      As well as playing these 3 seminal albums we would play The Clash, PiL, Talking Heads, Augustus Pablo, Bob Marley.

      What I’m getting at is we were all White Punks On Dope living in the Ice Cap that is Scotland thousands of miles away from Gil’s world. But his music just got to me and my mates. No doubt because of the number of times he used the word “WORLD”

      I loved this guy’s voice and words. Pieces of A Man. How true, listening to it as I get older, the relevance grows with the years. I saw him live 4 times in Scotland [He always had a strong support in Scotland and to be fair England as well]

      He put me on a road to the sheer joy and monetary agony that is vinyl collecting. I believe he helped me grow up and have a voice and unfortunately, the respective pain that can bring.

      His dad also played for my beloved “football” [not soccer] team Glasgow Celtic FC. What a bonus!

      Hope you are at peace bro”

    • Message to our lil visitor from VT: This isn’t a newspaper or public square. Being a pathetically racist misanthrope isn’t something I have to tolerate. Goodbye.

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