Top positive review
27 people found this helpful
Social comment and jazz phrasing
on 15 September 2003
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.