Lost but not least! Gil Scott-Heron – Peace Go With You Brother (As Salaam-Alaikum) (Strata-East)
“Peace Go With You, Brother (As-Salaam-Alaikum)”…
Of course, Internet has allowed us to do things that would have been impossible not so long ago. But like everything, it (still) has its limits which we might consider as downsides at times.
To make it short, you don’t write on a screen the way you would eventually do on a piece of paper. Neither would you write a book the way you write a letter. With the same applying to an article on a newspaper (what stands as a post on a website), where you would tend to formulate things in a journalistic way. Then, as if it wasn’t already enough, you would most likely have to consider the SEO (Search Engine Optimization) thing. With the latter suggesting you have to follow some prerequisites. Such as the length of your title, sentences and paragraphs to name a few. Just like a Tweet which has a 140 character limit.
As a result, we had reduce the length of the title of this post to have it applying to the SEO. And by that to omit the presence of Gil Scott-Heron‘s partner Brian Jackson next to him. With our deepest apologies for this. But also to reduce it to ‘Peace Go With You Brother’. And eventually to get rid of the coma between “You” and “Brother”!
More than 40 years have gone since the release ‘Winter In America’. An album which, although quite overlooked back then, stands as one of – if not the – greatest works of singer Gil-Scott-Heron and keyboardist/flutist Brian Jackson. An album which marked their debut on Strata-East after their dispute with Flying Dutchman, featuring the memorable ‘The Bottle’. But also ‘Peace Go With You Brother’ as its opening cut. A song that sees Scott-Heron heavily criticizing the selfishness of people for forgetting their common humanity. A song he delivers with his characteristic baritone style over a stellar and moody soundscape produced by Jackson.
A timeless masterpiece, ‘Peace Go With You Brother’ got released for the very first time on a CD 24 years after on Scott-Heron‘s Rumal-Gia Records label.
A Chicago, IL native of a Jamaican descent, Gil Scott-Heron got raised by his grandma in Jackson, TN. He eventually wrote detective stories during his teens. Then switched to Black politics after the passing of his grandmother. Movin’ to the Big Apple, he studied composition at university. He wrote a series of novels includin’ ‘The Nigger And The Factory’. He then would start putting his radical stories to music with the help of Brian Jackson.
Scott-Heron released his debut-LP – ‘Small Talk At 125th And Lenox’ – back in 1970 on the Flying Dutchman label. An album where he evoked the superficiality of television and mass consumerism, as illustrated on the memorable ‘The Revolution Will Not Be Televised’. ‘Pieces Of A Man’ which saw the light the year after, marked the start of a long time collaboration with Brian Jackson. It featured an extra version of ‘The Revolution…’ and also the famous ‘Home Is Where The Hatred Is’ which Esther Phillips eventually covered back in 1972. Then by 1973, he released ‘Free Will’ which would be his final album for the label.
Switching to Strata-East in 1974, Scott-Heron and Brian Jackson delivered the magnetic ‘Winter In America’ album. Somehow overlooked at the time, ‘Winter In America’ is nowadays seen by many as their most artistic effort. Including not only ‘The Bottle’ which made it on the floors. But also the vibrant ‘Peace Go With You Brother’. Not to mention ‘H²Ogate Blues’, an opening monologue concerning the Watergate incident which he used at his concerts. This is where he most likely established himself as a Bluesologist. Blending narrations and songs with Soul, Jazz and Blues influences which would have influences on Hip-Hop years after.
Signing with Arista in 1975, they would deliver 6 albums for the label. From ‘From South Africa To South Carolina’ which featured ‘Johannesburg’, a rallying cry to the issue of apartheid in South Africa. To ‘1980’ which includes the outstanding ‘Willing’ that illustrates Scott-Heron‘s philosophy to the pressures of life.
As a solo artist, the man recorded 3 albums during the 80’s. With Arista breakin’ their contract with him, he quit recording although he kept on touring. He released 2 extra albums back in 1994 after a 12 year hiatus.
The 2000’s would see Scott-Heron alternating staying in jail for drug possession and live gigs. He neverthess came back with ‘I’m New Here on independent label XL Recordings on Feb. 09, 2010. With production work by label owner Richard Russell, it was his first studio album in 16 years. It spanned gems such as the aptly titled ‘Me And The Devil’. But also the ultra vibrant ‘I’ll Take Care Of U’ which Jamie xx reworked as a part of Gil‘s ‘We’re New Here’ album the year after.
A third and last album from him – ‘Nothing New’ – posthumously saw the light in 2014. Gil Scott-Heron had left us in the meantime. He’d sadly passed in the afternoon of May 27, 2011, at St. Luke’s Hospital, NYC, after becoming ill upon returning from a European trip.
Peace go with you brother…