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Winter In America CD

4.6 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Audio CD (12 April 2010)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: CD
  • Label: CHARLY
  • ASIN: B003BL0B1I
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Audio Cassette  |  Vinyl  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 62,601 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Peace Go With You, Brother
  2. Rivers Of My Fathers
  3. A Very Precious Time
  4. Back Home
  5. The Bottle
  6. Song For Bobby Smith
  7. Your Daddy Loves You
  8. H2OGate Blues
  9. Peace Go With You Brother

Product Description

Product Description

When Gil Scott Heron emerged in the early seventies his unique brand of hard-talking street poetry, combined with soulful jazz arrangements, paved the way for the hip-hop explosion with tracks like 'The Revolution Will Not Be Televised', 'Johannesburg' and 'The Bottle' remaining a touchstone for generations of artists. 'Winter In America' was his fourth and probably his most complete album, and the first to be co-billed with his flautist, keyboard player and co-writer Brian Jackson. Released in 1974, it captures Scott Heron at a turning point, largely leaving his heavier raps behind in favour of a floating ambience, with his poetry and song being illuminated by Jackson's superb instrumentation. The album includes 'Rivers Of My Fathers', a marvellous, meandering work that ebbs and flows for eight and a half minutes and 'The Bottle', one of the most exuberant catalogues of ghetto alcoholism ever committed to tape. There is also sweet and personal content here, too. 'A Very Precious Time' is a reverie of adolescent reminiscence and the sweetness of' Your Daddy Loves You' shows that not all revolutionaries could be on the frontline permanently. However, Scott-Heron had not abandoned his militant, witty, political poetic roots on' H20Gate Blue's, dedicated to the then-recently departed US Vice President Spiro Agnew. The title track wasn't on the original album, but a live version has been subsequently added to the reissue, as a snapshot of the stilted hopes and aspirations in the post Watergate and Vietnam War mid 70s America.

BBC Review

Winter In America was poet and writer Gil Scott Heron's fourth album, and the first to be co-billed with his flautist, keyboard player and co-writer Brian Jackson.

Recorded in September 1973 and released the following year, it captures Scott Heron at a turning point, largely leaving his heavier raps behind in favour of a floating ambience, with his poetry and song being illuminated by Jackson's superb instrumentation.

Rivers Of My Fathers is a marvellous, meandering work that ebbs and flows for eight and a half minutes; Scott-Heron's spoken utterance of ''Africa'' at the end chimes with the afro-centricity of the early 70s, and is conveyed great emotion and honesty.

The album's commercial centrepiece, The Bottle, is one of the most exuberant catalogues of ghetto alcoholism ever committed to tape. It truly struck a chord and has been much loved as well as covered by artists as diverse as Joe Bataan and Paul Weller. There is sweet and personal content here, too. A Very Precious Time is a reverie of adolescent reminiscence and the sweetness of Your Daddy Loves You shows that not all revolutionaries could be on the frontline permanently.

However, Scott-Heron had not abandoned his militant, witty, political poetic roots on H20Gate Blues, dedicated to the then-recently departed US Vice President Spiro Agnew. The title track wasn't on the original album, but a live version has been subsequently added to the reissue. It is should be played as standard on all modern history courses as a snapshot of the stilted hopes and aspirations in the post Watergate and Vietnam War mid 70s America.

Winter In America is probably Scott-Heron's most complete album. It certainly is one of his most compelling; it also highlights how great a foil Brian Jackson was to him. An affecting work. --Daryl Easlea

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
One of the earlier, more jazz influenced albums, Winter in America lost none of Scott Heron's direct political attack. Written with Brian Jackson, Scott Heron's most stable and dependable collaborators, this album has fewer funkier, more dance orientated songs than some of his later records.
That said, The Bottle, without doubt Scott Heron's most well know song, continues to pack dancefloors to this day. A scathing attack on drinking and the society's double standards when it comes to the acceptability of alcohol.
The title track sets out Scott Heron's criticism of the state of America in the mid-1970s, a country he felt was in serious danger.
The album finishes off with H2O Gate Blues, again an angery attack, this time on the Nixon administration.
While some of the politics is dated (who cares about Nixon now?) the social concerns and the underlying humanity are as relevant in the 21st Century as they were then.
Underpinning Scott Heron's poetry is Brian Jackson's beautiful jazz-inflected music. To my ears much more sophisticated and interesting than some of Scott Heron's later musical accompaniment.
Compare H20 Gate Blues with Re-Ron from the early 80's to see my point.
The pair went on the record 'From South Africa to South Carolina', another record with a lyrical punch but musical kidd gloves.
Scott Heron is often described as a forefather of rap. When one listens to 'The Message' or 'Rebel Witout A Pause' one can see the link.
However, the tragedy is not only that rap today has lost any social comment other than 'keeping it real', but that all music seems to have been politically neutered.
Buy this album and be reminded of a time when musicians wanted to change the world and not just get a gold record.
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Format: Audio CD
Gil Scott-Heron is one of the great recording artists of the 20th century; it is a shame that he is relatively unknown. He work is always interesting and I would recommend (almost) all of his albums. If you are unfamiliar with his work then this album is a good place to start although it is not altogether typical of his work.
This is one of Gil Scott-Heron's most mellow sounding albums with a very strong jazz sound, reflecting the influence of Brian Jackson, his 'best' and most important collaborator.
It is lyrically less overly political and angry than some of his albums but politics and anger are never entirely absent from Scott Heron's work. There is a strong social commentary (for example 'The Bottle; about alcohol and society) and political commentary (H2Ogate blues - a searing indictment of the Nixon administration - although more than 30 years later I'm not sure anybody really cares).
I'm not sure that this is Gil Scott Heron's best work although it does include the stand out track 'The Bottle' but it is one of my personal favourites and certainly the one I listen to most.
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Format: Audio CD
This sees Gil in thoughtful mood. From the opening calling for the unity within Americas black population, to the intensly proud 'Rivers of my Fathers'. Gil shows a lot of domestic love in the bulk of the albums songs. This album of course features two Scott-Heron classics - the funky 'The Bottle' cutting about alcoholism and the raw, prophetic 'H2O GATE Blues' in which Gil slams the Nixon administration 17 months before Nixon's resignation.
Gil has the rare ability of a social commentator not to judge or preach - but shows anger and humour. He breaks down problems by pitching himself as the victim. All these traits can be seen here.
Make sure you buy TVT Records re-released copy as this contains 4 bonus live tracks. Including the title track, which does not appear on the original but on the equally excellent 'First Minute of a New Day' album.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This is indeed a great album - it's one of my favourite Gil Scott-heron CD's - but you need to know that he's always had a policy of recycling song titles and album titles, and even book titles into songs, albums, etc. Thus the SONG 'Winter In America' came later, and is featured on an album called 'The First Minute Of A New Day'. If that's what you're looking for, don't buy this. But it IS a great album. 'Peace Go With You, Brother' is especially good. 'The Bottle' is a classic, and 'H2Ogate' Blues is still worth listening to.
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This album doesn't do it for me - I admire the guy and caught an impressive performance on the OGWT - but the vocals are too high in the mix and somehow forced - and the lyrics seem cloying cliches in places(maybe just dated). Everyone said i should love this album - cos i love Stevie Wonder and Curtis Mayfield - so i was disappointed. The Bottle song is not bad, but starts to irritate after six or seven hearings. It could just be me, cos everyone else is raving. Maybe just one of those things i just don't get. And i'm really sorry he has gone so young. So with respect, i'll just say i'm puzzled.(Maybe someone would like to explain it to me).
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Heron's masterful recording of environmental and sociological destruction is as poignant and relevant today as it was when first released. Aware of the slow degradation of society, Heron recorded some of his most powerful work on this album. The Bottle clearly illustrates the painful descent into alcoholism while H2O Gate blues highlights the blatant corruption and cronyism that blighted Nixon's presidency. Few since Marvin Gaye have effectively highlighted the sores on American society in the same way as Heron and it's worth trying to get hold of the import version which contains an excellent live version of the title track. Best money spent on rap/poetry before the advent of Grandmaster Flash. A must for any conscientious record collection
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