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139 / Gil Scott Heron / A Test Pressing Tribute

It was a sad day when we heard about the passing of the genius that was Gil Scott Heron. The good Dr Rob brings a fitting Test Pressing tribute.

Gil Scott-Heron: April 1, 1949 – May 27, 2011

Gil Scott-Heron: Lady Day & John Coltrane (Flying Dutchman)Gil Scott-Heron, Brian Jackson & The Midnight Band: The Liberation Song (Arista)Gil Scott Heron & Brian Jackson: The Bottle (Live) (Arista)Gil Scott-Heron & His Amnesia Express: Angel Dust (Live) (Essential)Gil Scott-Heron: The Klan (Chicken Wings Edit) (Soul In The Hole)Gil Scott-Heron & Brian Jackson: Peace Go With You Brother (Strata-East)Gil Scott-Heron & Brian Jackson: Angola, Louisiana (Arista)Gil Scott-Heron & Brian Jackson: It’s Your World (Soul Brother)Gil Scott-Heron & Jamie XX: I’ll Take Care Of You (Young Turks)

If I had to choose only one Gil Scott-Heron track then it would have to be the version of “The Bottle” from the live double LP “It`s Your World”. I picked up my copy, which is only half the album, for 50 pence in The Record And Tape Exchange in Notting Hill in the mid-90s. I now know this to be a David Mancuso “Loft classic”, but I can remember being pretty nervous the first time I played it. Worried about audience reactions to the extended percussion break. Needless worries. For at the point when the song kicks back in the whole place literally jumped. Including those folks at the bar. The whole place lifted several feet. Everyone was higher. One of my fondest DJing memories.

Music so life-affirming, so positive, so inspiring and so heart-felt from an intelligent man clearly troubled by personal demons. A man who struggled his whole life with the very things he was warning against. Like Burroughs, a man who totally understood the tools of control, but still couldn’t help himself. The simple true-ism that “Everybody needs something”, a criticism and a confession, is something I’ll be quoting for as long as I`m still breathing.

When I dug the record out again to put this compilation together, and heard the line “Brother says he’s got to have some money, sister told me all she needs is love”, I was reduced to tears. I guess if you don’t understand, then you might count yourself lucky.

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Compiled by Dr Rob, with considerable assistance from Tim H.

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