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Album Review

Several Gil Scott-Heron compilations were released throughout the '70s, '80s, '90s, and early 2000s, but 2005's Messages was the first to concentrate on the material released between 1973 and 1979 — a productive phase involving seven albums, most of which were represented by a track or two on the preceding overviews. Featuring multi-instrumentalist and songwriter Brian Jackson, these albums were often filler-prone but they were never lacking at least a few moments in which everything clicked. At their best, the duo collaborated on jazzed-up funk that, while far more somber and sober, was just as funky as — and often more poignant than — anything on Sly & the Family Stone's There's a Riot Goin' On. This is a shame since Scott-Heron's career is often reduced to "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised" and a couple other sound bites, whereas the one Sly album is routinely held up as a hallmark — and rightly so, but the depth of Scott-Heron's catalog is shortchanged with as much frequency. The U.K.'s Soul Brother label, always a reliable source for digging deeper, pulls up a smart selection that includes "We Almost Lost Detroit," "The Bottle," "Winter in America," "Show Bizness," the 12-minute live version of "Home Is Where the Hatred Is," and "Angel Dust," which wound up being Scott-Heron's highest-charting single (number 15 Black Singles, 1977).

Customer Reviews

Contains classic hits...

Some of Gil's finest work on this album! Peace go with you, brother...

Biography

Born: 1952

Genre: R&B/Soul

Years Active: '70s

Producer, composer, and musician Brian Jackson collaborated with Gil Scott-Heron on several influential and popular '70s releases. The two met at Lincoln University, and later teamed on such songs as "The Bottle," "H20 Gate Blues," and "Johannesburg," which was their most successful commercial single. Jackson later did keyboard sessions with Earth,...
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Messages, Brian Jackson
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