GIL SCOTT-HERON died in 2011. Some commentators remarked that the uncompromising singer/songwriter/poet was on the cusp of a comeback. To serious soul lovers though, Scott-Heron had never been away. He certainly didn’t need a “comeback”.
Said serious soul buffs had been with the Chicago-born artist since he debuted in 1970 with the seminal ‘Small Talk At 125th and Lennox’ which has just been reissued by Ace’s BGP imprint. The album was originally released on Bob Thiele’s Flying Dutchman label and because at the time Thiele was short on funds the album was recorded in a low key sort of way…. just Gil and three percussionists – Eddie Knowles, Charlie Saunders and David Barnes. But there was nothing low-key about the music that the quartet created. The 14 tracker dealt with an incredible array of themes – black revolutionaries (serious or otherwise), white bourgeois apathy, consumerism, inner city problems and of course the banality of TV, with the track ‘The Revolution Will Not Be Televised’ quickly becoming a serious soul classic.
The fuss and buzz that the album caused prompted Thiele to get Scott-Heron back in the studio to record a more conventional album (if “conventional” could ever be applied to Gil!). The result was the groundbreaking 1971 LP ‘Pieces Of A Man’….and the rest is, as they, you know what!
GIL SCOTT-HERON’S ‘SMALL TALK AT 125TH AND LENNOX’ IS OUT NOW ON BGP RECORDS.