Gil Scott Heron died at 62, the end of a tortured and torturous life, he was one of the few speaking out, standing up…

On Gil Scott-Heron, prelude to a performance at the Dakota last year, and Gil,” warns his road manager, Danielle Beckom, “is not good with schedules.”

From City Pages:

By Rick Mason Wednesday, Mar 24 2010

Often called the Godfather of Rap these days, Gil Scott-Heron in fact emerged as a fiercely eloquent voice from the urban wilderness in the early 1970s, mercilessly skewering political and social forces that had disenfranchised huge swaths of the population and were leading the world down a treacherous path. A writer first and an admirer of Langston Hughes, Scott-Heron eventually fused his own poetry with a potent dose of jazz laced with blues and R&B, railing against complacent media, an oblivious mainstream America, runaway consumerism, racism, venal politicians, and drug abuse. Pieces like “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised,” “Winter in America,” “Johannesburg,” and “Home Is Where the Hatred Is” hit like lightning bolts, both electrifying and enlightening. The rise of hip hop was clearly indebted to Scott-Heron, who has been sampled and referenced by the likes of Kanye West and Common. Silent for a decade and a half—during which he reportedly battled health, addiction, financial, and legal problems—Scott-Heron, 60, recently re-emerged with I’m New Here, a stark, riveting portrait of the artist as weathered scribe, more personally analytical than of the wayward world that once drew his searing scrutiny. In place of jazz is hard-edged post-industrial blues laced with ragged beats as he covers Robert Johnson’s “Me and the Devil,” Bobby Blue Bland’s “I’ll Take Care of You,” and Smog, in the title track’s tale of arid alienation. It’s like hearing a voice from the other side of the apocalypse, but unmistakably that of a survivor.

South Africa, U.S. tunes from way back, became the theme today for me as I listened to Gil Scott-Heron, I’d seen him decades ago… a riveting show… the Guthrie, early 80s??? He was a staple in our album collection at KFAI. In Paul Hipp’s Bachmann McCarthy Overdrive “What’s the word? TINKLENBERG!” seemed like a good riff off of Scott-Heron’s Jo’burg. In the CapX 2020 Hampton-LaCrosse docket there’s a conslutant from Biko Associates, which reminds me of that era, everytime I look at his testimony, my tape loop starts.

Here’s Gil doing Johannesburg:

And another earlier version, 1976:

… and speaking of Jo’burg, then there’s the Biko song that keeps going through my brain whenever I read William P. Smith’s testimony in the Hampton-LaCrosse case — what’s his tie?

“People must not just give in to the hardship of life. People must develop a hope. People must develop some form of security to be together to look at their problems, and people must, in this way, build up their community.”
-Stephen Bantu Biko

So on that theme, Peter Gabriel on one of the Amnesty International tours, best version I could find:

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