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Saturday, September 6, 2008

Gil Scott-Heron Discography

Photo by Giacomino Parkinson

b. 1st April 1949, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A.
d. 27th May, 2011, NY NY, USA


Born in Chicago in 1949, Gil Scott-Heron became one of the inspirators of Rap Music. With very much of a political viewpoint, Gil became a mouthpiece for the Black Person in America during the Seventies and Eighties. Gil was the son of a Jamaican professional soccer player and a college graduate mother who worked as a librarian. His father played for the Scottish football side, Celtic. Both parents divorced whilst Gil was still a child and he was despatched off to his grandmother in Lincoln, Tennessee. His grandmother helped Gil musically, however, early racial tensions at school, in Jackson, led him to relocate again to the Bronx during his adolescent years to live with his mother and he later moved again to the Spanish neighbourhood of Chelsea.

At the age of 13, Gil had already written a book of poetry. Gil attended college in Pennsylvania and then left to concentrate on writing his first novel entitled 'The Vulture' in 1968. It was at college he met Brian Jackson, who was later to be a long time musical collaborator.
He released his debut album, 'New Black Poet: Small Talk at 125th and Lennox', in 1970, the title of which was influenced by a piece of poetry written by his mentor, Bob Thiele. The album contained the powerful 'The Revolution Will Not Be Televised', a damning political attack on the media and the treatment of Black People in the U.S.

The follow up album, 1971's 'Pieces of a Man', showed a growing musical maturity, featuring 'Lady Day and John Coltrane' and the, less political, 'I Think I'll Call It Morning'. Gil was under Bob Thiele's (who had originally influenced Gil to record back in the late Sixties), Flying Dutchman Records umbrella until the mid-'70s. il signed a one album deal for the Strata East imprint, out of New York, in 1974 with Brian Jackson, and released the album 'Winter In America', which contained the original version of 'The Bottle', along with 'Peace Go With You, Brother'. They had an instant hit with the song 'The Bottle', a track highlighting the misuse of alcohol. and probably the highpoint of Gil's career, reaching number 15 on the R & B charts.

Gil then was signed to the Arista label in 1975. Here Gil received instant success with the South African diatribe, 'Johannesburg', a song that reached number 29 on the R & B charts that year. His first two albums at the new label were 'First Minute of a New Day' (containing 'Winter In America', again, and 'Ain't No Such Thing As Superman') and the album 'From South Africa to South Carolina' (containing 'Johannesburg').

1976 saw the release of the double album 'It's Your World' which contained the live version of the track 'The Bottle' and was recorded live at Paul's Mall in Boston, Massachusetts in July of that year. Gil's band at the time were, the Midnight Band, who were mentioned in the song 'Race Track In France', taken from the album 'Bridges' in 1977, again a collaboration with Brian Jackson. That album also spawned the popular 'Hello Sunday, Hello Road'.

By 1978, Brian Jackson had his final association with Gil, seeing Malcolm Cecil then taking over the musical direction, following the release of the album 'Secrets', that featured the the drug related song 'Angel Dust'. That same year, Gil released an album of poetry and music, entitled 'The Mind Of Gil Scott Heron' for Arista Records.

By the turn of the decade, Nile Rogers (from the group Chic) had been recruited on production chores.
1980's album, 'Real Eyes' contained the excellent 'A Legend In His Own Mind'. The same year saw the album '1980' hitting the streets (featuring the songs 'Shut Em Down' and 'Angola, Louisiana'). In 1981, the album 'Reflections' was released, featuring 'Is That Jazz' and 'Gun' (an impressive attack on the U.S. gunlaws, a subject later to be highlighted in the Michael Moore movie vehicle 'Bowling For Columbine').

By 1982, the excellent 'Moving Target' saw the light of day. This set contained the excellent 'Fast Lane' and 'Washington D.C.' Gil turned on, the then President, Ronald Reagan, and began criticising the election of an ex B-Movie actor in the role of the most powerful man on Earth. 'B-Movie' became a song, as did 'Re-Ron', highlighting Gil's further political awareness. By 1985, Gil had left the Arista imprint and he began touring.

In 1990, a retrospective double album was released entitled 'Tales Of Gil Scott-Heron And His Amnesia Express'. He also released a pseudo 'house' twelve inch single entitled 'Space Shuttle'. In 1993, Gil signed to the TVT Records label and released the album, 'Spirits'. In 2001, Gil was imprisoned by a judge in New York, for one to three years following a failure to deal with a persistent drugs problem. He continued to have problems with drugs throughout the decade, and was in jail again from 2006-2007.

In 2010, Gil Scott-Heron released his final album "I'm New Here", a collaboration with British producer Richard Russell.

He died in New York City on May 27th, 2011.


  • New Black Poet: Small Talk at 125th & Lenox (Flying Dutchman 1970)
  • Pieces of a Man (Flying Dutchman 1971)
  • Free Will (Flying Dutchman 1972)
  • Winter in America (Strata East 1974)
  • The Revolution Will Not Be Televised (1974)
  • The First Minute of a New Day (Arista 1975)
  • From South Africa to South Carolina (Arista 1975)
  • It's Your World [live] (Arista 1976)
  • Bridges (Arista 1977)
  • Secrets (Arista 1978)
  • The Mind Of Gil Scott Heron (Arista 1978)
  • 1980 (Arista 1980)
  • Real Eyes (Arista 1980)
  • Reflections (Arista 1981)
  • Moving Target (Arista 1982)
  • Live at the Town and Country (1988)
  • Tales Of Gil Scott Heron And His Amnesia Express (Peak Top Records 1990)
  • Minister Of Information (Live) (1994)
  • Spirits (TVT 1994)
  • I'm New Here (2010)

some alternates


  • "Re-Ron" - 12" only release (1984)


  • Live at the Bottom Line, August 20, 1977 (with Brian Jackson)
  • Live at the Village Gate, NYC, 1976
  • Live at the Berkeley Community Theater (1978)
  • Live at Lane County Civic Center, Eugene, OR., January 12, 1978
  • Live in Bremen (1983)
  • Live at Glastonbury (1986)

Guest appearances

  • "No Nukes" (various artists, 1979) - includes live "We Almost Lost Detroit"
  • Ron Holloway - "Scorcher" (1996) - GSH on "Is That Jazz" and "Blue Collar"
  • Ron Holloway - "Groove Update" (1998) - solo album by GSH saxophonist, GSH guest vocals on "Three Miles Down" and "We Almost Lost Detroit" versions.
  • Brian Jackson - "Gotta Play" (2000) - GSH on "Parallel Lean/Home is Where the Hatred Is"
  • Blackalicious - "Blazing Arrow" (2002) - GSH on "First in Flight"


  • 'The Revolution Will Not be Televised" - dir. Don Letts (2003)
  • 'Black Wax' - dir. Robert Mugge (1986)

  • - Ghetto Style
1970-1972 tracks from first three albums
  • - Evolution (Flashback): The Best of Gil Scott-Heron
also 1970-1972 tracks, mostly different from "Ghetto Style" selection
  • - The Best Of Gil Scott-Heron (Arista Records 1984)
1974-1984 tracks on Arista Records. The only album with "Re-Ron" , which was a 12"-only release.
  • - Glory: the Gil Scott Heron Collection (1993)
Good full-career selection, 2 discs

  • - The Best Of Gil Scott-Heron Live ONE TWO

Thursday, September 4, 2008

War Discography

Veterans of the Californian west coast circuit, the core of War's line-up were:

Leroy 'Lonnie' Jordan (b. 21st November 1948, San Diego, California, U.S.A.; keyboards)

Howard Scott (b. 15th March 1946, San Pedro, California, U.S.A.; guitar)

Charles Miller (b. 2nd June 1939, Olathe, Kansas, U.S.A., d. 1980; flute, saxophone)

Morris 'B.B.' Dickerson (b. 3rd August 1949, Torrence, California, U.S.A.; bass)

Papa Dee Allen (b. Wilmington, Delaware, U.S.A. ; percussion)

and Harold Brown (b. 17th March 1946, Long Beach, California, U.S.A.; drums)

A revolutionary band that combined elements of soul, rock, funk, jazz and latin influences and knocked down a variety of barriers with its multi-cultural line-up, War established itself over its nearly 40 year existence as one of the most important and influential bands of the rock era.

A street band formed out of the rubble of multiple groups playing around the rough Compton section of Los Angeles, War was discovered by veteran rock producer Jerry Goldstein and Animals leader Eric Burdon while backing L.A. Rams defensive lineman Deacon Jones as he sang at a nightclub. Goldstein and Burdon were blown away by the young group and invited them to serve as Burdon's backing band for a conceptual album called Eric Burdon Declares War. The disc highlighted the band's funky, raw rhythms behind Burdon's psychedelic poetry, resulting in a popular album and a hot single, "Spill The Wine." The group at that time included Lonnie Jordan, European harmonica player Lee Oskar, Charles Miller, B.B. Dickerson, Harold Brown, Papa Dee Allen and Howard Scott.

While still backing Burdon, War also signed a separate recording contract with UA and began a career as a fronting band. As the work with Burdon faded in the early 70s, the band's career blossomed, particularly with the release of its sophomore disc, All Day Music, which went to #1 based on the hit title track and "Slippin Into Darkness." From 1971-77 War was at the top of the music world, with its brand of raw, funky, almost unclassifiable music being the perfect contrast to the increasingly slick sounds of that decade. The group's albums all went Top 5 and they scored on the charts with singles like "Cisco Kid," "Why Can't We Be Friends," "Low Rider" and "The World Is A Ghetto."

Toward the latter 70s, the group displayed increased tendencies for long improvisational jams and seemed a bit lost with the arrival of the disco era even as they continued to churn out albums with great frequency. They landed a small dance hit in 1978 with "Galaxy," but their popularity had faded significantly by the end of the decade.

In the early 80s the group signed with RCA and released Outlaw, its biggest and most accessible album in a half decade. However, the follow-up, Life (Is So Strange) was critically and commercially a step down, despite its excellent title track.

By the mid-80s, War was exclusively a touring band, albeit a nearly tireless one, performing in excess of 150 shows per year. Personnel changes increased over the next two decades, with Jordan being the only constant and with over 30 other players rotating through the band. Oskar, the second most visible member of the group, was gone by the mid 90s and later formed a competing group with former War members Harold Brown, B.B. Dickerson and Howard Scott called the Original Lowrider Band.

Though the band recorded only one more time, 1994's Peace Sign, War's legacy only increased as a new generation of hip-hop performers sampled the band's catalog liberally and fans gained an increased appreciation for the organic, funky sound that War had introduced decades earlier. The band's influence in the 21st century is as strong as it has ever been and the freshness and relevancy of its music three decades after initial release is amazing.

By Chris Rizik




  • Eric Burdon & War - Live At Royal Albert Hall (2CD, London 2008)
  • Eric Burdon & War ft. Jimi Hendrix (2CD, London 1970)
  • Eric Burdon & War - Live in Germany (Bootleg, Offenbach 1971)

- includes a 16 minute live version of "Gypsy Man"
  • "Low Rider" - Arthur Baker Remixes
  • Eric Burdon - "Soul of a Man" (2006)

Thanks to G.Point.66 for many contributions ...

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