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Friday, June 10, 2011

Goodbye, Gil… (Something Else! on WTNR for 6/9/11)

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This week's show is a bit special, it's a tribute. Hopefully by now you've been made aware that Gil Scott-Heron, poet, musician, vocalist (both sung & spoken word) has died. Rather than merely writing about how influential he was (and continues to be) this show will demonstrate it with the music.
I start off with two versions of the piece he is most famous for "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised." The first version is from his first album, Small Talk at 125th & Lenox where he is accompanied only by percussion and then I mix into the more famous version with full band from his Greatest Hits collection. Following that are a cover version by poet Dana Bryant from 1992's Giant Steps Volume One and a song that heavily references "…Will Not Be Televised," called "The Revolution" by DJ Revolution featuring Evidence of Dilated Peoples. Another poet/performance artist, Sarah Jones is featured on DJ Vadim's followup tune called "Your Revolution." Ironically, this tune managed to be banned from radio for a while for being "obscene" when in fact, it is a critique of the obscenity that is accepted as "normal" in many hiphop tracks that receive radio play every day. The next track is Gil Scott-Heron again with "The Klan"--about American white-supremacist organization, The Klu Klux Klan. The next track is by Little Brother, a hiphop group from The South in the USA--where the Klan is primarily based. Their tune is "Make Me Hot (Yam Who Mix)" which is a critique of the hiphop music industry, in particular the idea that someone can "make you hot" even if there is no musical talent or even a good song to work with. Back to Gil, we have "A Legend In His Own Mind." I think we all know someone whose idea of themselves is a grander than reality bears out. Mos Def follows up with "Mr. N*gga," an examination of that word and its ramifications in Black life. "Angel Dust" is a song that Gil Scott-Heron came out with during the 80s. I remember hearing it on the radio and of course, it was quite timely then as there was a problem with incidents involving addicts. Apparently, this song was quite influential on a gentleman from Mexico City--who came to be known as Professor Angel Dust. His theme, "Hello Amigos" is next up, followed by "Brother," another poem from Gil's debut album. "Blacker," a classic of the acid-jazz era, is a Ballistic Brothers track that is built around a sample from the introduction to "Brother" follows. We wrap up with the best tribute of all, a remix of a classic of Gil Scott-Heron, "The Bottle" -- probably his 2nd most famous song. This remix is part of the Bloodfire series from Bug In the Attic, Daz-I-Kue, where classic tracks get refitted for the dancefloor. While the occasion for this tribute is a sad one, we can still enjoy the work and influence of an artist who has passed on.
Next show should include music from my recent trip to northern Europe (Copenhagen & Berlin.)

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