April 1 1949 - May 27, 2011
|GSH performing at B B King Blues Club|
November 4th, 2009 in NYC
Very sad to hear of the sudden loss of Gil Scott-Heron. The man was a long time favorite poet and musician. I first discovered his music in the late 1970's with the release of the album Secrets. I first saw him perform in the early 80's at a small jazz and blues club in North Philadelphia, and continued to listen to his music through the years. Somewhere along the way I lost my vinyl copy of Secrets. Years later, in the late 90's, I saw an import copy from Japan on sale at 3rd Street Jazz in Philly for about $30 and I didn't buy it because I thought it was too expensive. Bad decision, because for years after that I would search the internet for copies of Secrets, never finding anything. Those searching years applied to Gil himself... Time in prison... years when no one knew his whereabouts... was he alive?... living on the streets? I would follow a couple web sites devoted to Gil and his status. In the final years of his life Gil had a nice come back. Performing on a regular basis, and releasing his last album, I'm New Here. I had the supreme pleasure of seeing him perform at the B B King Blues Club in New York City in November of 2009. Although I was shocked at the way the years of hard living had changed him from my memories of the Gil of the 80's, I am so grateful for that last chance to see him on stage. The body had withered but the voice was still there. 2009 was also the completion of my search for a copy of Secrets. Soul Brother Records reissued the album from original master tapes, and I quickly bought a copy. The songs I could still play in my head... Angel Dust... Angola, Lousiana... Cane... all sounded as good as I remembered from thirty years earlier, but songs I had completely forgotten about... Better Days Ahead... Three Miles Down...Madison Avenue... were a joy to hear again. That album remains for me the core Gil Scott-Heron... the first and the last of his albums I purchased. There were other songs for which Gil is more famous ... The Bottle... The Revolution Will Not Be Televised... Home Is Where The Hatred Is... and many others that I will always love, but the memories and sentimentality behind Secrets will never fade for me. Rest in Peace Gil... you were loved by many.