Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Gil Scott-Heron - "Live in Bremen" (1983)

"We Almost Lost Detroit" (excerpt)

"Angola Louisiana" (excerpt)

Over two hours of Gil Scott-Heron and his Amnesia Express, live at the Kulturzentrum Schauburg in Bremen, Germany, April 18th, 1983.

Worth it alone for the Gil's opening solo voice-and-rhodes performances of "We Almost Lost Detroit", "Angola Louisiana" and "Three Miles Down", the last of these featuring a similar singalong to one I remember taking part in when I last saw him perform in 1998.

There's an intimacy in these three tracks that I haven't picked up from the other bootlegs. So this now becomes my second favourite GSH bootleg after the Bottom Line show.

Considering this has gone through a cassette generation, there's a good clarity to the recording of his voice throughout, even if he does complain at one stage that he must have "left his voice on Lufthansa". Bass guitar is a little far back in the mix from the recorder position, which probably explains the title that the original DIME seeders gave the set.

"The Bottle" (excerpt)

"Washington D.C." (excerpt)

In the band tracks, the reed and brass particularly shine through in the arrangements. There's a really superb, understated flugelhorn solo from Alonzo Bailey in "Better Days Ahead".

Lots of talk from GSH between tracks - he's still the only guy who can merge from spoken word to poetry to song without you noticing the joins, where the setup is all part of the song.

The seeders added a few other GSH songs from TV broadcasts, and a bonus live performance from Dana Bryant of Scott-Heron's "The Revolution Will Not be Televised" from Jazzfest Berlin. Fantastic stuff! 

CD 1

1 Intro 1:26
2 We Almost Lost Detroit 5:42
3 Intro 2:13
4 Angola Louisiana 5:19
5 Intro 4:10
6 Three Miles Down 4:34
7 B Movie 16:28
8 Intro 1:03
9 A Legend In His Own Mind 5:14
10 Intro 0:30
11 Winter In America 7:49
12 Band Intro 3:27
13 Intro 1:26
14 Shut 'em Down 6:21

CD 2

1 Intro 1:24
2 Washington D C 4:39
3 Intro 1:29
4 The Bottle 14:00
5 Intro 1:08
6 Better Days Ahead 11:06
7 Intro 4:39
8 Johannesburg 7:12

bonus tracks:

9 Winter In America 4:34
"Ohne Filter" German TV March 1984 (broadcast date):
10 Not Needed / Statement 4:03
from "Keynote" (SAT1 - German TV) 1994
11 The Revolution Will Not Be Televised 5:18
Dana Bryant
Jazzfest Berlin, Traenenpalast, Oct 28 1993 (FM recording)


Gil Scott-Heron - vocals, keyboards
Alonzo Bailey - trumpet, flugelhorn
Vernon James - alto and soprano sax, flute
Ron Holloway - tenor sax
Larry McDonald - percussion
Kenny Powell - drums
Ed Brady - bass
Glen "Astro" Turner - keyboards, harmonica


FM broadcast to cassette, cleaned and de-glitched by Langtang and Wolf.
Originally seeded at DIME by Langtang and Wolf.
Cover art by Wolf.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Gil Scott-Heron - "Live at Glastonbury" (1986)

"Gun" (excerpt)

"Blue Collar" (excerpt)

With much buzz surrounding Gil Scott-Heron's new album, here's a half hour bootleg featuring four kicking tracks from a 1986 live show at the Glastonbury Festival, originally broadcast on the BBC. Here we capture GSH somewhere in the middle of his 12 year hiatus between "Moving Target" and "Spirits", but he's in fine voice and spirit.

Keyboardist Kim Jordan switches between synth and piano, and she contributes some particularly fine piano solos - she was a member of Gil's touring band for 12 years, also appearing on the live "Minister of Information" album and "Spirits", both in 1994.

Also appearing on those albums was the Turrentine-ish saxophonist Ron Holloway, who also played on "Moving Target" from which both "Blue Collar" and "Washington DC" appear live here. He went on to record some albums for Milestone in the 90s, including 1998's "Groove Update" which features GSH on new versions of "Three Miles Down" and "We Almost Lost Detroit". That album also featured drummer Rodney Youngs from here.

Joe Phillips' guitar adds a blues sensibility to the proceedings, occasionally rocking things out a little too much for me, but holding back (or held back) enough to not ruin things. Bassist Robbie Gordon played with GSH from 1978 until 1994. He released a solo album called "Still Growing" in 1996, which included an unusual straight-ahead acid jazz version of Gil's classic song "B-Movie".

In the comments for this post, Jamie said :

"I was at this gig as a young, wide-eyed first-time Glastonbury festival-goer. I was 16 years old, I'd just left school two days previously and had just had the best weekend of my life up to that point. What this tape omits is that 'Johannesburg' was aborted initially due to the lack of crowd response. Gil had asked the crowd to sing along with the chorus and he'd explained, patiently, that if we didn't sing up he wasn't going to do it. Cue the first 'What's the word?' bit and a fairly lacklustre response from the crowd. Gil cut the band and gently mocked our poor singing. I remember him saying something along the lines of 'OK, I know you were probably too busy pulling on a joint and missed it but this time you've gotta sing up'. The next chant of'JOHANNESBURG!' you can hear on the recording."

An anecdote about this gig from the blog Look on the Nice Side :

"I once had a pee on a fence next to him at Glastonbury festival, right after he’d just come off stage. And when I asked him if he didn’t have a hospitality area backstage and his own posh toilets, he shrugged and sad, “Yeah man, but I like to pee with the people”.


01 'Gun' (4.23)
02 'Washington DC' (5.05)
03 'Blue Collar' (12.30)
04 'Johannesburg' (8.44)


Gil Scott-Heron - vocals, keyboards
Kim Jordan - keyboards
Joe Phillips - guitar
Robbie Gordon - bass
Ron Holloway - saxaphone
Rodney Youngs - drums
Larry McDonald - percussion


FM > cassette (1st gen) > CDR > WAV > trader's little helper > FLAC
Originally posted on DIME by Roofwalker.
I've converted to WAV and 320-mps from the FLACS.
Thanks to Roofwalker, and Scott for the alert!

Blogs linked to in this post are Pure Diggin', BeeQ, RockNRollaZ, Look On the Nice Side and Blaxploitation Jive. Please say hi to these folks and thank them if sample their wares, so that they keep posting.