~ UPDATE: LINK TO LIVE SET ADDED BELOW ~
Gil Scott-Heron has passed away. He died on Friday, the cause of which has not been announced. It very well could have been crack-related, because he's had a well documented habit for years. As sad as it is, the fact that he never tried to deny his abuse in the past, (or made any false proclamations of successful treatment), says loads. He was a lot of things, and by his own admission did some things that were wrong. But about himself, he always seemed upfront and honest.
When I heard that he had passed, my first thought was that he was the first overtly political musician that I ever remember hearing (save Dylan, if that counts for you), a long time before punk rock and other "rebel music." My friend Bill had "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised," and he'd play it in pretty regular rotation, enough for us to be quoting lines from it for several years. For a high schooler in Southern California, it was exotic, provocative, and dangerous. Which meant, of course, that we ate it up.
I had not seen the video above, "I'm New Here," from his 2010 "comeback" album, until after I heard that he had died, and it just killed me. So fucking sad.
~ NOTE: ALL MEDIA IS HOSTED BY THE BLOGS & SITES NAMED BELOW ~Listen:
ADDED 5/30/11: Gil Scott-Heron - Live at The Bottom Line 1977 (via MediaShare) at Aquarium Drunkard
Gil Scott-Heron - The Revolution Will Not Be Televised mp3 at Review Stalker
Gil Scott-Heron - Whitey is on the Moon mp3 at Lack Of
Gil Scott-Heron - H20Gate Blues mp3 at Review Stalker
Gil Scott-Heron - New York Is Killing Me mp3 at The New Low Fi
Gil Scott-Heron - The Bottle mp3 at Crying All the Way to the Chip Shop
Gil Scott-Heron - Racetrack in France mp3 at Passion of the Weiss
Gil Scott-Heron - We Almost Lost Detroit mp3 at Passion of the Weiss
Gil Scott-Heron - We Almost Lost Detroit (live) at YouTube
Gil Scott-Heron - The Bottle at YouTube
The Weary Blues - Article about his comeback at New York magazine
Gil Scott-Heron at Wikipedia
Obituary at Passion of the Weiss (Highly recommended)
Obituary at NPR
Gil Scott-Heron's official "I'm New Here" site