Gil Scott-Heron and Brian Jackson
It's Your World
Re-releasing more from the old Heron back catalog might be a sign that his praises of freedom and one nation under a groove are more vital than ever. Unlike the subdued spoken-word of his Collection, Heron surrounds himself with a band funkier than Kool and the Gang, matching in music what his heartfelt lyrics express. Back in 1976, this music most probably spearheaded the cultural movement that was virtually unheard of in the burgeoning age of fun-loving disco.
Like Curtis Mayfield, the songwriting on It's Your World combines blues and old-fashioned funk with various stories of New York City, depression, love, and anger towards the mainstream ignorance of their plight. Don't be misled by the smooth, easygoing jive of "Possum Slim" and "Home is Where the Hatred Is," for most songs carry serious undertones under the swirling saxophones and keyboards. But this is the house that built modern-day hip-hop and soul music. In this world, the evolved even need to remember these sometimes overlooked, important seeds that were planted for the conscious b-boys of today.
Rumal-Gia/TVT Records, 23 E. 4th Street, New York, NY 10003; http://www.tvtrecords.com