Gil Scott-Heron - "Peace Go With You Brotha"

Gil Scott-HeronThat is what I wish for brotha Gil. It's much more than simply the opening and closing track on my very favorite Gil Scott Heron album called "Winter in America."

I'm certain that by now you have heard of the passing of brotha Gil. The mainstream press has been reporting it like crazy. The very same mainstream press that literally hated every single word that brotha Gil ever said.

Talk about someone whose work was a huge impact on my own attitude/sensibilities and obviously on this web site....To anyone who knows me or knows this website, which is painfully obvious. Yet at the same time there is a whole lotta pain associated with this particular topic that may be uncomfortable for some to discuss. For now I will purposely avoid the painful stuff so I can focus on the takeaways or bottom line so to speak.

Gil Scott-Heron was kinda like Malcolm X put to music for me as well as the entire generation of young Blacks who came of age during the early 1970's.

Musically he was jazz, blues, soul, gospel, spoken word and pain disguised as humor. Thus he literally not only taught us what Black music was supposed to be, (don't be a slave to the radio, etc.) There was also a different message, almost subliminal at work here....

I remember the many nights as a young college student in my the University of Pittsburgh dorm room, sitting around till 3am each night, smoking funny cigarettes, drinking cheap wine with other young Black men and women.

We were having an ongoing "meta-conversation" with each other, night after night till 3am. The soundtrack to that conversation was ALL of the legendary Black music of that time. It was Funkadelic, Earth, Wind & Fire, Donald Byrd, Miles Davis, Minnie Riperton, Brass Construction, Blue Magic, Roy Ayers, Led Zepplin, Chi-Lites, Ohio Players, Miracles, Passport, Moments, Return to Forever and more.

However there were two artists who actually drove BOTH the content and the attitude of the conversation; JAMES BROWN and GIL SCOTT-HERON.

Their music provided the not only the topics for that never ending conversation. Their music also provided the attitude for that conversation, night after night.

In fact it's a conversation that has never ended....it was then and is still today...."my REAL college education"

Back in 1996 I wanted to bring that conversation to the internet. That's when my brother and I created the daily Soul-Patrol Mailing listserv.

Imagine how honored I was to have brotha Gil Scott-Heron as a member of that listserv, back in those early days as a member of an ongoing "meta-conversation" here online that in my mind, he had actually started, 20+ years earlier at the University of Pittsburgh?

This year we celebrate the 15th Anniversary of Soul-Patrol.com at the 2011 Soul-Patrol Convention in Philadelphia on July 23. Among other things (such as presenting many once in a lifetime live musical performances, featuring 30+ artists) we will also be presenting 7 different "town hall style" panel discussions, on a variety of topics, in effect bringing that very same ongoing "meta-conversation" to life on stage in Philadelphia, on Saturday July 23. ( <http://www.soul-patrol.com/convention>
http://www.soul-patrol.com/convention)

How ironic that brotha Gil passes just a few months before that event?

Obviously I could write a whole lot more about Brotha Gil, his music, his poetry, his politics, his humor, his influence on me, his influence on others, his influence on multiple generations.

Obviously anything that I would write about this topic would be at odds with much of what will be said about him in the coming days and weeks by a mainstream press (both Black & White) for whom the very existence of someone or something like "Gil Scott-Heron" is/was a direct threat to their very existence.

So for now I will just say...
"Peace Go With You Brotha"

(and leave it at that...)

Scroll down for more Gill Scott Heron Commentary...

--Bob Davis
609-351-0154
earthjuice@prodigy.net

Co-Founder www.soul-patrol.com
Blues, Hip Hop and Soul Music Director www.radioio.com


Soul-Patrol Convention, July 23, 2011 at Cannstatters/NE Philly:

Live performances by 30 + Doo Wop, Jazz, Classic Soul, Funk, Nu Soul artists, Black Music Trade Show, Educational Seminars, Awards, All Star Cabaret, BLUES/SOUTHERN SOUL, Pat Cooley, Reggie Sears, Teeny Tucker, Tre Williams, CLASSIC SOUL, Angel Rissoff, Bleu Lights, Chyp & Andrea, Force MDs, Clarence Burke (Five Stairsteps), John Wilson (Sly, Slick & Wicked), Legendary Escorts, Love's Magic, Marshall Thompson (Chi-Lites), Susaye Greene (Supremes/New Birth), DOO WOP, Bill Godwin's Ink Spots, Chantels, Nu Millennium, Quiet Storm, FUNK , Dawn Silva/Brides of Funkenstien, Full Force, Ladies of Skyy, Kyle Jason, Nadir, Rio, Ric Doc Wilson (Mandrill), SonnyBoy JAZZ, Chip Shelton, Jason Miles, Stephanie McKay, Onaje Allen Gumbs NU SOUL, Donnie C, Julie Dexter, Lenny Blocko, Melanie Charles, Morris Mills, TnT (Tom & Trish), Rainey Vexen RAP/SPOKEN WORD, Lee, One Sun Lion Ra ROCK N' ROLL, Garland Jeffries, Gary Lee & the CatDaddys, Derek McKeith


Gil Scott-Heron - "Pardon us America, but the pardon you gave was not yours to give....."

Gil Scott-HeronAnd "First Minute of a New Day" is my second favorite Gil Scott Heron album...

I just dig Gil-Scott and have since I first heard him. His music has got a serious message & some serious beats to go along with it. He also has a tremendous sense of humor with many of his songs being just as painfully funny as Richard Pryor's stuff from the same period.

But Gil was no comedian. He was as serious as a heart attack. I had the oppurtnity to see him perform live several times. After one concert in particulair back in 75 I can remember saying to one of my boys as we walked out..."wouldn't be something if somehow there could be a band...that combined the popularity of P-Funk, with the message of Gil?"

My friend remarked "If that were possble, life as we know it would be changed forever" !!

I think that my friend was right !!

Originally from Chicago, Gil Scott-Heron began his career in a literary vein, writing novels, poetry and articles on black politics. He moved to New York, went to college in Pennsylvania, where he met Brian Jackson, his frequent collaborator.

  • Gil Scott-Heron began playing keyboards and, hooking up with Jackson, began setting his highly political poetry to a jazz-funk fusion with soulful deep vocals that recalls the best soul singers of the 60's. Their initial releases were on the Flying Dutchman label before Gil signed with Arista.

    The first release that brought Gil Scott-Heron to public attention was “Revolution Will Not Be Televised”. This way a scathing satire on the effects of television and why Black people would have to “get off their butts” if they wanted to effect change. This was a powerful message then as it remains now in the “Do Nothing & Know Nothing 90’s”

    Gil’s next “hit” came after leaving Flying Dutchman and hooking up with Arista records.
    “In the Bottle” stands today as a monumental anti drug song & paired up with “Angel Dust”, Gil sends out a message to all of us . For funkateers these two songs alone make Gil Scott-Heron a force to be reckoned with.

    But Gil didn’t stop there.....for me the albums “Winter In America” and “First Minute Of A New Day” (yeah the one with the “Guerrilla with the gun & bloodshot eyes” !!) represented his peak.
    There is no doubt in my mind that Gil Scott-Heron could have been a massive commercial success had he chosen to do so. He is obviously a very jpgted songwriter/vocalist/musician and he could have had many hit records and become very rich in the process.
    Instead he choose to try to educate us and for that he paid a BIG price but I am thankful that he did. The words and music of Gil Scott-Heron have changed my life along with that of a lot of other people.

    --Bob Davis

    Mission Accomplished Gil!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    --Bob Davis
    609-351-0154
    earthjuice@prodigy.net

    Co-Founder www.soul-patrol.com
    Blues, Hip Hop and Soul Music Director www.radioio.com


    Soul-Patrol Convention, July 23, 2011 at Cannstatters/NE Philly:

    Live performances by 30 + Doo Wop, Jazz, Classic Soul, Funk, Nu Soul artists, Black Music Trade Show, Educational Seminars, Awards, All Star Cabaret, BLUES/SOUTHERN SOUL, Pat Cooley, Reggie Sears, Teeny Tucker, Tre Williams, CLASSIC SOUL, Angel Rissoff, Bleu Lights, Chyp & Andrea, Force MDs, Clarence Burke (Five Stairsteps), John Wilson (Sly, Slick & Wicked), Legendary Escorts, Love's Magic, Marshall Thompson (Chi-Lites), Susaye Greene (Supremes/New Birth), DOO WOP, Bill Godwin's Ink Spots, Chantels, Nu Millennium, Quiet Storm, FUNK , Dawn Silva/Brides of Funkenstien, Full Force, Ladies of Skyy, Kyle Jason, Nadir, Rio, Ric Doc Wilson (Mandrill), SonnyBoy JAZZ, Chip Shelton, Jason Miles, Stephanie McKay, Onaje Allen Gumbs NU SOUL, Donnie C, Julie Dexter, Lenny Blocko, Melanie Charles, Morris Mills, TnT (Tom & Trish), Rainey Vexen RAP/SPOKEN WORD, Lee, One Sun Lion Ra ROCK N' ROLL, Garland Jeffries, Gary Lee & the CatDaddys, Derek McKeith


    Gil Scott-Heron - "Meta Conversation"

    Gil Scott-HeronEarlier I spoke of an ongoing "meta-conversation," with respect to Gil Scott-Heron. We here is a "meta conversation" from 1996, that just so happens to be about Brotha Gil Scott-Heron...

    Man you hit it head on this topic!!! I'll be back with song chat about Gil, also I was wondering what ever happened to Brain Jackson. My sista has all Gil's albums, about 2 years ago I happened to pull a GSH album outta the stack, I think it was red eyes or the One with the black cat on the cover.

    But anyway I heard this cut called "Legend in his own mind" man it was deep. Also Being from La. that song Angola Louisiana was a cult classic down here. But man I enjoyed the B-movie album and my personal favorite "Moving target”. On the Moving target album Gil reached every scope of the spectrum from the closing on steel mills in the midwest ( you can't name when I ain't been down) to hollyweird ron reagan (Rerun) man this guy is the bomb.

    Oh yeah and in about 1993 he had a jam called "Message to the messenger" about gangters rap. Man you did it now.Hey what's your motive behind this topic ??

    John<--Stay thinks the revolution won't on CNN,ABC,CBS,or NBC.

    Gil Scott-Heron...a man truly ahead of his time....I put him in a category with Bob Marley..both messengers to the people. Gil Scott Heron was a man that truly made you open your eyes and your mind to what was goin on around you. I can stil remember ..dot dot dit dit dot dot dash....the ghetto code... and does anyone remember this one.."A poem for Jose Campos-Torres"???? If your lookin to invest in something ..you cant go wrong with Mr. Gil Scott-Heron....

    I'm so glad you mentioned Jose Campos Torres. I know that you as a former resident of Houston, Tx will remember the case well.

    Jose Campos Torres was a young Hispanic man who was stoped by the Houston Police department (HPD) back during the late 70's.

    He was handcuffed behind the back, beaten, killed and then tossed into Buffalo Bayou. The case made national headlines at the time. Members of the Houston Police Department were charged with murder and ultimatly aquitted. Gil was badd.......enough to make a record about this case to inform us all about what the real deal was at that time is a real testement to his dedication to keeping us informed in a way that was truly FUNKY.

    "Blues: if you have to ask what it is, then you ain't got it" --Gil Scott-Heron

    I had the opportunity to meet Mr Heron in Montego bay , Jaimaca. He was cordial , wise beyond his years, and keenly intuitive about life in general.In the hour that we talked;I realized the brother"had been through it", and desired to give back.He does have a consistent message in his music. I especially like the song concerning saving the children. However, I can't recall the name of the song. Mr. Heron is definitely a cut above most..Good topic.

    I remember on Gil's last album he had a cut called "Message to the messenger" a really deep jam about the about rap music's message.Also the moving target Album was a realistic look at ron reagan and with reaganomics.

    I still think that "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised" was his baddest jam. It sota set the tone for the whole thing, don't you think ??

    Very true,I always wonder what white america thought of this song.But I can just about image what came what they were thinking.

    Hey do you ever thing Gil will release a box set??

    I doubt that "white america" had much of a notion that Gil or his music even existed. I don't think he recived much airplay outside of Black radio stations.

    A box set retrospective on Gil Scott Heron ?? An interesting thought. How many would buy it if it were released ?

    Revolution Will not be Televised...I think that sums it all up pretty well.....wake up and pay attention...

    Hey..Glad to See another Gil Scott-Heron fan out there...if a box set is ever released..I will be first in line to buy it.,,if anyone ever heres of it...let MysticFunk know !!!

    Unfortunately.. I found that even the black radio stations did not really give this brother his fair share of air time..You ever notice how those artists that really have something worthwhile to say in their music may get played once or twice and then shoved to the back of the play list while those who are basically "talkin out the side of their necks"..get TOO much play time???...Well some of us just dont fit the mold I guess....

    It was a great song.....and perfect for the times.... "Revoloution Will Not Be Televised" came out in the early 70's when people still thought that it was possible.

    Gil always had some incredible social commentary in his songs and yet they were always FUNKY. Remember "In The Bottle" ??

    Gill Scot-Heron certainly was not a "commercial sucess" in any sense of the word. His lyrics were usually extremely inflamatory, funny and always on point. I don't think the world was ready for him then.....or now !!

    Hey Gil was the best. Many so called rappers of the day have no idea of the messages he had in his music. I did a paper on him when I was at Michigan State University and he is truely one of a kind. His words hit hard and true and he didn't have to get vulgar as many so called artist do today.I have almost everything he has put out with my favorites being"Bicentennial Blues", "Delta Man", "B Movie","Re-Ron," "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised" and "Black History/The World" just to name a few.

    He really made it possible for others to come along,too bad that that many of those who followed do not have the awareness of world events, creativity and I know its bad to say that they don't the educational tools needed to make a strong statement political or otherwise.

    This is a VERY strong statement & while it is a generalization, it is generally true !!! Gil was an educated man who tried his best to also educate all of us......he paid a price for doing so.

    I liked the idea to create a Gil Scott-Heron "box set" is because it would consolidate and organize in a coherent manner his full body of work.

    If this was done I could see someone building a college course or a serious TV documentry around the whole thing. That would be a fitting legacy for Gil.....that his words could be used to educate future generations !!

    I would second in line for a Gil Box Set,considering I only had a box set by Marvin,Aretha,Curtis Mayfield.So I think Gil could fit right in there. I still have mostly all the vinyl,Real eyes,and Winter in America are my favorites.

    Where is Brain Jackson nowadays,and did he write some of the GSH songs??

    I’m still worried about a ReRon.

    Brian did work with Gil on the Spirits recording from a couple of years ago. I'm not sure if he is currently touring with him or not. I do know that Washington DC based sax player Ron Holloway tours with Gil currently.

    Come to think of it I only heard to Gil songs on the radio,they were "Angola La." and Angel Dust. Good point to ponder.

    On Gil's lastest album "Spirts" he addressed this about the message rappers with sending. I think the name of the song was "message to the messenger" nice jam to.

    For the most part, Gil's airplay has been with a few exceptions, limited to non-commercial radio. Message To the Messengers would be perfect for commercial stations to play if the PD's and MD's had some real conscience and were really "responsible Black Media", instead of pushing the negative supremist agenda we hear with the other stuff.

    You know Bill, Gil is a perfect example of our oral tradition. He is another one of our Griots and messengers chosen to get the word out. Other examples include Wanda Coleman, Mutubaruka, Oku Onora, Sister Jean Breeze, Jayne Cortez, Nikki Giovanni, and others currently. Word sound IS POWER!!!!

    --Bob Davis
    609-351-0154
    earthjuice@prodigy.net

    Co-Founder www.soul-patrol.com
    Blues, Hip Hop and Soul Music Director www.radioio.com


    Soul-Patrol Convention, July 23, 2011 at Cannstatters/NE Philly:

    Live performances by 30 + Doo Wop, Jazz, Classic Soul, Funk, Nu Soul artists, Black Music Trade Show, Educational Seminars, Awards, All Star Cabaret, BLUES/SOUTHERN SOUL, Pat Cooley, Reggie Sears, Teeny Tucker, Tre Williams, CLASSIC SOUL, Angel Rissoff, Bleu Lights, Chyp & Andrea, Force MDs, Clarence Burke (Five Stairsteps), John Wilson (Sly, Slick & Wicked), Legendary Escorts, Love's Magic, Marshall Thompson (Chi-Lites), Susaye Greene (Supremes/New Birth), DOO WOP, Bill Godwin's Ink Spots, Chantels, Nu Millennium, Quiet Storm, FUNK , Dawn Silva/Brides of Funkenstien, Full Force, Ladies of Skyy, Kyle Jason, Nadir, Rio, Ric Doc Wilson (Mandrill), SonnyBoy JAZZ, Chip Shelton, Jason Miles, Stephanie McKay, Onaje Allen Gumbs NU SOUL, Donnie C, Julie Dexter, Lenny Blocko, Melanie Charles, Morris Mills, TnT (Tom & Trish), Rainey Vexen RAP/SPOKEN WORD, Lee, One Sun Lion Ra ROCK N' ROLL, Garland Jeffries, Gary Lee & the CatDaddys, Derek McKeith




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