Gil Scott-Heron died just over a week ago, on May 27th, 2011. One of THE black musical pioneers of the 70's, his death passed almost as a footnote; I didn't learn of his passing until several days later when "R.I.P." posts of his better known albums suddenly started appearing on other blogs. Out of the limelight since the early 80's, it's hardly surprising that his end went almost unnoticed; at the same time, the loss of the man many consider the father of Rap and Hip Hop (a title Scott-Heron actively avoided) should probably have received greater coverage. As a high school and college student in the 60's, Scott-Heron studied writing and poetry, and it was through these media that he first garnered attention. He first gave serious consideration to music as a medium for expression in 1969, after the Last Poets played a concert at his university, and in 1970, his debut album, "Small Talk..." was released. Mostly spoken-word, in a live setting and with minimal accompaniment, the album took on varied themes, from the hypocrisy of many black "revolutionaries," to the superficiality of TV and mass consumerism, to the ignorance of the white middle classes regarding difficulties faced in inner-city ghettos. Highlights included "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised," possibly his best known song, along with the title track, "Enough" and "Everyday". This album is hard to find on CD - hopefully his passing brings Scott-Heron's music renewed attention, and a re-issue of his catalogue.
Album information on Discogs: