316. Gil Scott-Heron / Brian Jackson - Winter In America (1974)
1. Peace Go With You, Brother
2. Rivers Of My Fathers
3. A Very Precious Time
4. Back Home
5. The Bottle
6. Song For Bobby Smith
7. Your Daddy Loves You
8. H2Ogate Blues
9. Peace Go With You Brother
This is, unfortunately, the only Gil Scott-Heron album on the list. It is, however, a very beautiful album. It might be strange to call it primarily beautiful, when it is also such an angry and political album, but Scott-Heron is a great poet and really knows how to direct that anger into something precious.
Brian Jackson's music is also a big help to Scott-Heron's lyrics, a lot of it is a kind of subdued Jazz that lets the lyrics speak for themselves, but there is a whole variety of musical styles here, some of which are pretty new. H2Ogate Blues, although it is not a song that is mentioned that much on reviews of the album is a great track, no one has come closer to Rap than Scott-Heron on this track, and the way it is written is both smart and effective, with a bitter sense of humour which is great.
H2Ogate Blues is also interesting because even though it is about Vietnam and Watergate, a change of names and places would make this a really relevant track for our days. This is a truly brilliant and beautiful album that deserves to be carefully listened to by everyone out there. Get it at Amazon UK or US.
1. H20gate Blues
2. The Bottle
3. Rivers of My Father
4. Song For Bobby Smith
Scott-Heron is known in many circles as "the godfather of rap" and is widely considered to be one of the genre's founding fathers. Given the political consciousness that lies at the foundation of his work, he can also be called a founder of political rap. Message to the Messengers was a plea for the new generation of rappers to speak for change rather than perpetuate the current social situation, and to be more articulate and artistic:
"There's a big difference between putting words over some music, and blending those same words into the music. There's not a lot of humour. They use a lot of slang and colloquialisms, and you don't really see inside the person. Instead, you just get a lot of posturing."
In 2001, Gil Scott-Heron was sentenced to one to three years' imprisonment in New York State for cocaine possession. While out of jail in 2002, he appeared on the Blazing Arrow album by Blackalicious. He was released on parole in 2003.
On July 5, 2006, Scott-Heron was sentenced to two to four years in a New York State prison for violating a plea deal on a drug-possession charge by leaving a treatment center. Scott-Heron said he is HIV-positive and claimed the in-patient rehabilitation center stopped giving him his medication. The prosecution countered that Scott-Heron had once skipped out for an appearance with singer Alicia Keys. Scott-Heron's sentence will be complete on July 13, 2009, but he will be eligible for parole two years before that date. He was paroled on May 23, 2007.