Monday, September 8, 2008

Gil Scott-Heron "Live at the Bottom Line" (1977)

Gil Scott-Heron - genius, activist, brilliant poet, jazz-funk pioneer, rap pioneer, possessed of a beautiful spoken and singing voice, possessed of both a searing intelligence and a sense of humour. The guy's had his troubles with drugs in recent years, and we can only hope he gets it together and keeps going, because the world needs more people like him. And in combination with Brian Jackson he's just unbeatable. Gil for President! Brian for VP (with his hair in a bun)!

Vildgolia - excerpt

Some unreleased live recordings sound like they've been recorded from the venue's bathroom, then there are the quality ones like this one. This fantastic, powerhouse two hour performance was recorded straight from mixing desk at the Bottom Line club into a PCM, an early digital recorder, then transferred to WAV and then FLAC. It sounds great, and is now my favourite live Gil Scott-Heron album. It just needed a cover, so I made one. (Today's downloads have the WAVS, and also a 320kb MP3 version I've made from the WAVs)

This performance comes a year after the mostly-live album "It's Your World" and the week before the release of "Bridges". It's comprised mostly of tracks from the latter, with some favourites and one-offs added. These are not just renditions of album tracks - the Midnight Band is steaming, with long percussion sections and improvisation. So even if you've got all of these tracks, and all of his live albums, you really, really need this.

'Hello Sunday Hello Road'- excerpt

Gil starts with a ten minute monologue that turns into the poem "New Deal". He starts seemingly casually talking about the state of the world, and builds into a scathing media commentary, an africanist world perspective and an account of a black hostage taker in Cleveland whose demands were "All white folks leave Earth!". The starker and darker his commentary becomes, the more humour he brings in ... It's extraordinary to hear his summation of "change" at the end of the monologue and to realise the resonance of his discourse on contemporary thought and politics.

'Home is Where the Hatred is' - excerpt

This band is HOT - up to three people on rhodes with Brian Jackson at the forefront - check the fifteen minutes of keyboard and brass workouts on "Home is Where the Hatred Is" - three or more people on percussion under the guidance of Barnett Williams, latin-tinged trumpet solos from Delbert Taylor, great sax work from Allan Barnes ...

The percussion workouts here are insanely good. The band follow the monologue with the five minute percussion / chanting of "Gumbai", and there are six minutes in the middle of "The Bottle" with just latin percussion and voice - check this excerpt :

'The Bottle'- excerpt

I first saw Gil perform in 1994, around the time his comeback "Spirits" was released. He was pretty lost at the time, and kept wandering off stage to do ... something ... it wasn't a great show. But then I saw him in January 1999, also at the Bottom Line, in a special reformation gig of the Midnight Band with Brian Jackson - and they were spectacular. I think there's something about the intimacy of that club that brings out the best in people.

I could go on all day and all night about how good this 1977 concert is - but i'll hold back and say : just download it and enjoy it.

SIDEBAR : ALLAN BARNES (woodwinds & synth)
Some of these players had cut a limited edition jazz-funk album the year before called "Freedom Serenade" under the name Malone & Barnes and Spontaneous Simplicity. It's got a Blackbyrds/Mizells feel. Together with keyboardist/vocalist Johnny Malone, saxophonist Allan Barnes (who was also in the Blackbyrds) co-led the series of graduates from Donald Byrd's influential jazz program at Howard University. The album also featured other players from this live session : trumpeter Delbert Taylor, bassist Siggie Dillard and some guest work from Brian Jackson. Malone and Barnes also wrote the funky track "Disco Dancin" on the 1979 Taste Of Honey album "Boogie Oogie Oogie" 


01. New Deal - 10:20
02. Gumbai - 5.28
03. Race Track In France - 10.50
04. 95 South - 6.47
05. Hello Sunday, Hello Road - 3.51
06. It's Your World - 6:57
07. Home Is Where The Hatred Is - 15:55
08. Almost Lost Detroit - 7.22
09. Vildgolia (Deaf, Dumb & Blind) - 12:44
10. Winter In America - 6:54
11. Under The Hammer - 5:06
12. The Bottle - 16.02
13. Johannesburg - 5.44


Gil Scott-Heron - electric piano, vocals
Brian Jackson - piano, electric piano, clavinet, synths, flute, vocals
Allan Barnes - flute, tenor sax, synthesizer
Reggie Brisbane - percussion, drums
Siggie Dillard - bass
Tony Duncanson - timbales, percussion, djembe
Delbert Taylor - trumpet, electric piano (on "95 South" & "Home Is Where the Hatred Is")
Barnett Williams - djembe, congas


Gil Scott-Heron & Brian Jackson
Live at the Bottom Line
New York, NY
August 20th, 1977
Recorded SBD - PCM - FLAC.


Covers and conversions by Simon666
Files reposted from Dexondaz with permission.
"It's Your World" link at Radio Transistor
"Bridges" link at Milkcratebreaks.
"Freedom Serenade" link at Martian Shaker"Boogie Oogie Oogie" link at Groove Eternal

It's a 2 hour show = big files
WAV (1.2 GB)
MP3 (242 mb)


Gil Scott-Heron - "Live at the Village Gate" (1976)
Gil Scott-Heron - "Live at Berkeley" (1977)
Gil Scott-Heron - "Live In Bremen (1983)
Gil Scott-Heron - "Live At Glastonbury" (1986)


deaf one said...

Comments are not enough, you sir are a champion among us who deserves to be lionized for your contributions. Meaningfull work on one of, if not the best blogs in the biz

Oh yeah the MPS Rhodes comp sic in the mix
a little chill with some thrill from Gill.

Damn! I am ready for this week!

Deepest Thanks

Andrej Žerovnik said...

Great music, great work! many, many thanx!

Simon29 said...

Thanks dude - always good to hear one of the most distinctive voices in recorded sound, period

Tobias Funke said...

Soon as I saw this at the top of the page I thought "Cor what if it's got Racetrack in France on it" - and it has! Seriously can't wait to hear this, had a vinyl copy of "It's Your World" for nearly 20 years now but it never occured to me that there might be some serious Gil bootlegs out there too.

Thanks for a superb blog, you and The Bodega are killin' it right now!

johnv said...

Thanks for making this one available Simon--I won't be able to listen to it fast enough!

By coincidence, I've been listening to "It's Your World" on the drive home from work the last couple of nights. That version of "Home..." is the best I've heard so far--killer four-minute electric piano section! But I have a feeling this set will stack up favorably.

Thanks always for the monster work you do.

Anonymous said...

nice one simon! gotta love the heron. thanks for the heads up on the bodega blog too... right up my alley. i wonder if ish knows about it?

Simon666 said...

Thanks for the comments guys ...

Johnv, this one does stack up, quite different versions of "Home ... " and "The Bottle", and all the other tracks are different ones, hope u enjoy.
Sawanotsuru, I sent Ish over to Bodega yesterday on another tip so I think he'll be hitting "Freedom Serenade" too .. :)

ish said...

thanks for this, Simon. And for the usual leads to other great albums.

I really love Gil Scott-Heron, but he makes me a little sad. Not for wrecking his life on non-recreational drugs, but for being so right in so much of his analysis and emotion and for being so wrong his in estimation of how bad things could get. I give him a pass on the drug use... a man who sees that much is entitled to freak out and no longer want to see it anymore.

Here's an example of what I mean: One of his long raps... I think it's "The Bicentennial Blues" goes on to dissect American society. Now to date myself, the seventies when Gil was "preaching" was when my political consciousness was formed. Me and my radical friends snapped up songs like "Winter in America." Anyway, in "Bicentennial Blues" he starts to justifiably make fun of varous American politicians. Jimmy Carter, he calls "skippy" after the peanut butter. The crowd laughs. Ronald Reagan, he says, acted like General Franco (I think I have that right) when he was governor of California "and now he acts like somebody's gonna vote for him for president?" The crowd roars in disbelief and hilarity.

At the risk of injecting too much politics into Musicblog land, well, Reagan did get elected president and those were dark days in America despite what the nostalgic establishment says. If only we had known that coming out the other side of that crucible laughable Jimmy Carter by comparison would turn out to be one of the last American leaders with moral authority before institutionalized corruption, indifference, greed, and military adventurism would become so characteristic of American society, defeating all that 1970s optimism that the people were gonna make it better, that unity and righteousness were soon to bring liberation.

Gil Scott-Heron was a prophet in his day. If only we had listened! Oh yeah, he also made GREAT music. Thanks again Simon.

Simon666 said...

Thanks for your comments Ish.
As mentioned in the post, it really struck me how (sadly) his optimistic finish to the long conversation of "New Deal" referred to the necessary work ahead, and to see it still undone 31 years later ... though at the same time it's intriguing to see some of that discourse of change and public/personal responsibility echoed in Obama's platform. I would hope that an Obama victory could have, as one of its immediate base effects, the capacity to give people some sort of sense of renewed optimism - perhaps even Gil himself.

cboogie said...

Thank You, Thank You, Thank You!!!

display said...

WOW! Fantastic. Thanks for the players to sample the sound. This looks to be one of the best posts of the year. Can't wait to hear it start to finish. Cheers.

Bob said...

thanks !

avocado kid said...

well, every time I come by here I expect quality, but this is super extra bonus cool!

Messiah of Soul Power Music Group said...

i'm speechless.....after reading through all those comments it's a good feeling to see that it's people out there that have a pulse for social commentary and music that enlightened that interest....such a shame we don't have any heros willing to use the medium of music like this today.....thank you simon....i can't wait to get into this one....Peace


Guy Magic said...

Simon, I am so glad that I have discovered your blog.

It's erudite, looks great, features the fabulous Fender Rhodes, and is still funky as all shit.

You’re the best, thanks for sharing!

Guy Magic

el goog said...

Oh~ Simon
Oh~ Simon
Thank you for such a brilliant!!


AliBoingo said...

This is fantastic! it's difficult to get classic GSH, let alone live material.

big thanks

johnv said...

Simon--just finished listening to this one and I am really blown away. Truly I can't thank you enough for making this one available.

Love this version of "Bottle," the added horn section is almost (dare I say) disco-ish to my ears but it really grooves. The rest of the set just doesn't let up from beginning to end.

Ish--you are dead on in your assesment of Gil's vision. He was so right on target. And he actually had something to say, a quality that is lacking throughout society these days--whether in music, politics etc.

Another thing I find interesting is how educated the audiences at Gil's shows seemed to be--they really seem to be up on their current events and had a feeling for what was going on in the world. And this was before the internet age too; it's a shame we as consumers don't know more and ask more questions.

Well, I'll put the soapbox away. Thanks for the great post Simon and thanks to all who shared their thoughts on a true giant of music.

katonah said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

just thought i would come back to say thankyou so much for this extra special recording. i wish there were more live LPs with this much talking in between the songs (any reccs, anyone?). really enjoying all the comments here too. i guess the kinds of music being shared on blogs like this attracts certain types of people, eh? its really cool to (virtually) be in such awesome company. rock on!

GII said...


Economiewurm said...

Simon, thanks for this superb album.

It is really difficult for us, living outside the US, to understand why McCain is so popular. If it was up to the rest of the world, I think Obama would win with a landslide victory (Obama's approval in a recent poll here in the Netherlands was around 80 percent, but who cares).

Let's pray that Obama wins and that he will bring some real social change and be able to restore international relationships. Otherwise, we would desperately need a new Gil Scott Heron

Burningbluesoul said...

SImon, Can't thank you enough for this live date. I saw Gil in the 1970s no less than five times (he played Detroit a lot since his family is from there and he was liviung between CHicago and NY at the time. These cats tore it up live. Just TORE it up. Brian Jackson and his musical units --there are about three currently--still do. I am SOOOOOO lookinf forward to this..

StegnerFan said...

I think I forgot to leave a comment bout this burner....

but wow what a burner it is!

I know this may sound "ignorant" but were a lot of people hip to Gil Scott and Brian back in the day during the "peak" of their powers? Not that they have fallen off or anything but a lot of what Gil says is sooo on point it just blows me away that he is not studied and poured over in academia like they do Mozart, Joyce, or Hemingway. I just think his words are on another level and always will be.

Really thanks a lot Simon I often get goosebumps and tear up after hearing a lot of the records you share and this one is certainly no different.


Anonymous said...

thank you.

Djalma said...

Yeah Simon, I just saw your comment, that's cool...
Amazing post bro! As always...


Gianni aka Cesare Barbetta said...

yes yes yes
thanks simon!
absolutely great!

Citizen Kane said...

Cool! Looks like they really stretch out on here, can't wait to listen!

analog6 said...

I just found your blog; looks like I'm right on time. Many thanks.

Markaz said...

Thinking back to the days when sessions like this were just mythical to us in the UK, it hard to believe anyone can now not only find it, but listen to & download it. My generation (born late 60's early 70's) filled in the spiritual, political & musical gaps left I by our parents with the help from artists like Gil. In the mid/late 80's he played a free concert in Clapham Common, London, in celebration of Mandela. As he shouted "what's the word?" it wasn't 30 & 40-somethings shouting back "Johannesburg", it was 1000s in their teens and 20's who were picking their own way through Stevie, JB, Sly, Parli/Funk, Miles, Coltrane, etc, etc. In some there was renewed passion for political & cultural revolution. Imagine then a discussion about global neighbourhoods where we can share any music for free!; What else would we have demanded? Free literature & poetry? Free art (Can anyone link me to a decent file of this [])?

Now we have much of this - what are we gonna do??? And while I'm on it, please support

On the Bottom Line tapes, I remember trodding the streets of Soho, Camden, and elsewhere searching for tunes like Revolution, Bottle, B-Mobie, Racetrack, Deaf-Dumb-Blind. Boy! I still remember the moments I actually found some of those. I have exactly the same feeling finding something via the blog. I don't really care about the covers, dates & times, for me its the tunz, the tunz, the tunz and the guys and gals who created them.

I discovered this blog business over at Orgy - I couldn't believe what that cheeky monkey was serving up. This guy Simon is looking to the next level - Rhodes is a serious place to hang out this year. Anyone got any plans for Christmas?

Peace (to you too brother Gil).

cheeba said...

Simon, superb as always. Great insights in your essay and the comments. Home Is and The Bottle versions are k-i-l-l-e-r.

I think there's a lot of reasons they don't study Gil's writing in academia since he doesn't fit neatly into an easily labeled package.

taro nombei said...

Greetings and many thanks for this.
I certainly hadn't come across it before, so many many thanks.
As always, a brilliant post: we really do appreciate!

fritz the cat said...

Can't wait to listen to this. Thanks.

audiologo said...

Thanks so much for this, truly fantastic!!!

pepper67 said...

great album! nice to hear extended versions of the song


jazzobsessive said...

Thanks Simon

I am in musical heaven now I've found your blog.

I've seen Gil about 3 times live over the years including a memorable gig at the Marlowe Theatre in Canterbury Kent...the band really cooked that night I can tell you!

Looking forward to hearing this

Thank you so much-will be back for sure...

em-uno said...

Fabulous to hear live versions of the Bridges tunes. Thank you!

Xavier said...

this is a great find, i've really been enjoying this this last couple of weeks.
thanks for posting this - that's much appreciated.

liberation said...

hi can someone tell me how to download this album, sorry for being dum! cheers

Simon666 said...

Hi Liberation,
Download links are in the first comment.

liberation said...

cheers for that matey, i saw the band loads in the 80's but he never did "race track in france" live so this a treat.

bit of a long shot here but you might be the man. i used to a pharo saunders album (cassette) left it in my car when i sold it! guess is was made in the late 70's early 80's. one track had female vocal and one lyric went "think about the one who made us" any ideas what the's driving me nuts not knowing, fingers crossed and thanks again. john

Simon666 said...

ohhhh that's a bit hard for me, maybe the knowledgeable readers here can hlep :)

ish said...

Liberation, that's on Pharoah's Journey to the One, on Theresa (and later Evidence) from 1980.

Pretty sure I've seen that both in shops and on the web for free, but you'll have to check amazon or google for yourself.

Simon666 said...

thanks ish :)

liberation said...

cheers ish that's made my day, been humming it for ten years!

simon666 the gill live gig is going down a treat : )

Tick said...

Excellent presentation, Simon! And a wonderful find. It'll be the first Gil performance I've heard since his 2003(?) prison release. :-)

So glad he's managed to keep his chin-up and still performs. Hopefully a new following will develop and result in better understanding of 1960-70s culture & class tensions which spawned so much artful expression.

Cheers! from USA-Maine.

Tick said...

Ooops. Got release date mixed with recording date.[/headinhand]
A much needed recording nonetheless.

Andy said...


Simon666 said...

You're welcome Andy, thanks for all the comments :)

Neilantman said...


Simon666 said...

Hi guys,

I've posted FLACs/MP3s of another Gil Scott-Heron live bootleg from six months after this one : "Live at Berkeley (1978) , come check it out :)

Simon666 said...

Guess what ....
Just posted ANOTHER Gil Scott-Heron live show, this it's "Live at the Village Gate" in NYC in 1976. Come get it here

onejazzyman said...

Thank you for posting this great album. Haven't heard it in quite some time. Much appreciation.

JasonG said...

Solid, smoking stuff. You've put up some awesome material - this one ranks up there with the best. I tip my hat.

Simon666 said...

Thanks for the comments onejazzyman and JasonG, glad you're enjoyng it!

Anonymous said...

Amazing post... Speechless... Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Just here to say many thanks and praise for this!

Olavo di Txada said...

A radio program on NYC mentioned Gil S H today, so I went back to my laptop to listen (Spirit) - then off to your site for more of the older stuff. Thanks for info and music!!! The guys on the radio show said the man is clean (er) from drugs, and a new cd will be out 2010. "He sounds like a black Leonard Cohen" was the comments they made.

Cody B said...

Incredible post. Thank you,thank you.

Simon666 said...

Cross-promotion ! Here you go - Gil Scott-Heron – “Live at Glastonbury” (1986)

Simon666 said...

And another Gil bootleg! Gil Scott-Heron – “Live In Bremen” (1983) Come get it …

Satchelmouth said...

Thanks Simon. You always come through with the best shit.

I dub you, "The Tastemaker"
in a Bernard Purdie vibe. Get some signs made up :)

Anonymous said...

Really Really nice bro.
You should listen to herbie Hancock.


saul said...

Simon - thanks so much for this. It's brilliant. Best version of 'Home is Where the Hatred Is' that I've heard. I've seen GSH 5 or 6 times but sounds like this was the one to be at.



Simon666 said...

hey saul -
yup, wish i'd seen this one too :)

Rob said...

The #2 FLAC file above has been flagged for copyright violation. Could somebody load an alternative please?

Simon666 said...

Hi Rob -
I no longer have a record of which tracks were in which FLAC.
If you have grabbed the other three, look at the tracklist above, tell me which ones are missing, and I will re-up.

Rob said...

I can only grab one file per day from Rapid Share, so I've only got #1 so far. Once I've got #3 and #4 downloaded I'll post back and let you know.

Rob said...

OK, I have 3 of the 4 zip files now, and using the list of files in the MD5 file, I can tell which flacs were in each zip...

file 1:
*95 South.flac
*Hello Sunday, Hello Road.flac
*Home Is Where The Hated Is.flac
*Intro to Hello Sunday, Hello Road.flac
*Intro to It's Your World.flac
*Intro to Johannesburg.flac
*Intro to Race Track In France.flac
*Intro to Vildgolia.flac

file 2:
*Almost Lost Detroit.flac
*It's Your World.flac
*Race Track In France.flac
*Under The Hammer.flac

file 3:
*Band Intros ~ Lead in to 95 South.flac
*New Deal.flac
*The Bottle.flac

file 4:
*Winter In America.flac

Simon666 said...

Well we've got a bit of a double-disaster here :

On looking through my hard drive I've discovered that SOMEHOW I've also lost a lot of the FLAC files (?!?!)

The only one from the missing FLAC set I have is "Almost Lost Detroit".

So .... a big call out to everyone above who downloaded the FLAC sets : it would be really, really fantastic if someone could re-upload the following :

*It's Your World.flac
*Race Track In France.flac
*Under The Hammer.flac

Very much hoping you guys can help out ...

thanks ,


Anonymous said...

This is an exceptional post. The musical combination of Gil and Bryan have helped to create a space for a generation of voices.

Anonymous said...

The FLAC Rapidshare TWO file is NOT FOUND; any cahnce of fixing that?

Simon666 said...

Hi anonymous,
If you look a few posts above, you'll see that I had misplaced the FLAC #2 tracks myself, and had asked if someone else here could re-up them. Sadly, no-one has ...

Rob said...

This prompted me to see what I could find around the net. You can stream this concert, or buy it in either MP3 ($10) or FLAC ($13) format, from the following site:

I also found another blog that has the complete concert for download:

files here:

Simon666 said...

RIP Gil Scott-Heron :(

ish said...

Oh no, Simon. Just hearing of this. How sad!

Anonymous said...

i'm lookin for the second FLAC archive, too.
Any help would be greatly appreciated!
Big thank you to Simon anyway!
Great stuff!

Simon666 said...

As noted above a few times, I have lost those FLACS and need someone who downloaded them from here to re-up them.

Thanks for the links Rob, but those are just links to my MP3 files which are also still active here as well.

taro nombei said...

It's been the live shows I've been listening to this week since the news came in, rather than the studio albums. Especially the bootlegs you've posted here over the years, Simon. And especially this one.
all best,

Simon666 said...

All the best to you too TN :)
I've been listening to "Pieces of a Man" a lot ...

tymusic said...

rest in peace gil scott heron ...
your words and work are a s important now as they will ever be .. rest in peace

Omar said...

Great upload but ask a silly question but did the PCM recorded at the show have a very lossy compression than CD's as there seems to be a cut off after 15 Khz when I view the Spectral waveform of the tracks here.

Thanks and RIP Gil....

Simon666 said...

Hey Omar ... dunno, that must have happened after the recording, PCMs were pretty standard 16bit 44.1kHz like CDs .... though 1977 is still a few years before that got standardised ... and I didn't use one until 1988 ... still sounds great though hey, It's Gil :)

troods said...

Y'know, I listened to my first Gil albums on a cheap-ass stereo that you wouldn't give a kid. It never mattered to me......loved him no less for the lousy sound. So mp3 or flac, it is absolutely Gil, Simon. Really miss that voice of generations. Thank you for giving us all love through your work.

Simon666 said...

thanks for all the comments Troods :)

Fred said...

Thanks so much for running this blog. I don't browse the many interesting blogs I find nearly enough and I missing this Gil Scott- Heron live show. I had a search for working links and found this which may be of help to those who need part 2:

Good luck and thanks again for the work.

jjazz said...

"All white folks leave Earth!"

hahahah i love that man!

oldschool said...

damn, RIP neverenoughrhodes as well? you made not even a post in 6 months+, and there's no reasons given. what's gone wrong bro?

Simon666 said...

Hi oldschool -
Not dead, just sleeping .... running a media degree at uni with 400 students and 12 staff gets in the way of blogging, but I intend to be back, just been a tough year ,,,

Mike said...

Complete FLAC version can be found on this site


Alan said...

These links still work - THANK YOU!!

Anonymous said...

If you want these files in lossless then this is the place to get them.
The wav files are lossless.

Note that other links to other sites for flacs ie archive vibes are not lossless they are lossy. Something must have happened to them during conversion from wav to flac.

The wav files here if you want to burn to a cdr need to be converted to 44kHz WAV then to FLAC. I used dBpoweramp and checked them with Tau analyzer and all three tests show as lossless.

No matter the tech in and outs this is sublime music and a sensational posting. Many thanks for your work and the informative notes

Anonymous said...

One further point re the above.
I never knew that Gil's father was the first black professional footballer in Scotland. I mentioned it to my mother and she said that she had autographs of the Celtic & Third Lanark football teams from the 50's. I took a look at her old autograph book and there was Gil Heron's signature alongside the other Third Lanark football team from the 1952-53 football season.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

I think it is Danny Bowens on Bass..