Gil Scott-Heron is a true American original, who along with the Last Poets created rap/ hip hop, by pairing well written poems with congas and other percussion in 1970-71. Gil Scott Heron will forever be remembered for his revamped "Revolution Will Not Be Televised", where he added flute, bass,etc ,included here, originally appearing on his debut album with only spoken word and congas. "Pieces of A Man", also features the jubilant "Lady Day and John Coltrane" which celebrates redemption and spiritual healing from the pain of black inner city life through the power of music, coupling it with this great rollicking melody that will make anybody want to get up and dance. "Home Is Where the Hatrid Is" is an incredibly powerful tale of addiction tearing family, personal pride, and willpower to shreds. Experiencing this track pushes the listener to feel all the anguish and desparation of drug addiction/ withdrawal, as if they are withdrawling personally, while truly emphasizing an anti-drug message. Not to keep the mood too overwhelmingly heavy, Scott Heron takes us to "When You Are Who You Are", the tale of a man reassuring his woman that the airs she plays up in a phony attempt to be someone she's not are completely unnecessary. She is perfect when she is just being herself. True self empowerment with a catching melody that makes you want to get up and sing and dance.
While those 4 tracks are truly worth the price of admission alone and absolutely the highlights, there are other soft ballads that show off Gil Scott Heron's lovely, smooth baritone.
Gil Scott Heron was a true American musical pioneer and while this album isn't perfect, it is truly one of his career highlights of his melodic albums.
To hear the roots that created hip hop back in 1970, check out "Small Talk at Lenox..", but this album is the flowering of Scott Heron's funky soul music in 1971.
Alas, this black empowerment hero and antidrug activist ending up falling prey to the very drugs he denounced come the 90's and beyond, but that will never lessen the power of this album.
Hopefully, post death, he will be remembered and truly appreciated for the talent, innovator, and sensitive soul he was.