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GIL SCOTT-HERON

Gil Scott-Heron

I'm New Here - 10th Anniversary Expanded Edition

In February 2010, the late, legendary musician, poet and author Gil Scott-Heron released his thirteenth, and last, studio album. First conceptualised in 2005, and ultimately produced by XL Recordings head Richard Russell during New York recording sessions that commenced in January 2008, "I’m New Here" was Scott-Heron’s first album in thirteen years and found him sounding as vital, boundary-pushing and insightful as ever before.

In addition to the original album, this 'I'm New Here' 10th Anniversary Edition features two unreleased tracks - a cover of Richie Havens’ 'Handsome Johnny’ and a previously unheard Scott-Heron song 'King Henry IV’ - as well as a selection of other recordings from the original I’m New Here sessions that were only previously available on a rare, vinyl only deluxe version of the LP.

"Ten years ago I was in the midst of recording “I’m New Here” with Gil. There was a lot more to the experience than it was possible to process at the time, and there was some great material that never made it onto the album. Our cover of “Handsome Jonny” was the last recording Gil and I made on the last day of the last session for “I’m New Here”, at Clinton Studio in Hell’s Kitchen, NY, on September 19, 2009. Gil had introduced me to the original version of the song, explaining how Richie Havens had performed it in his opening set at Woodstock some forty years earlier, and we added it to a list of material we were considering for the album. In the end we recorded some of these songs, like Bobby Blue Bland’s “I’ll Take Care Of You”, Bill Callahan’s “I’m New Here” and Robert Johnson’s “Me and the Devil”, and didn’t get round to some others, including Joy Divison’s “Disorder”." - producer Richard Russell

STAFF COMMENTS

says: A Piccadilly Records Album Of The Year back in 2010. There's little that can be said about this legendary outing from XL head Richard Russell and the great GSH that hasn't already been said, it's an absolutely essential listen, and this expanded edition makes it even more so. A wildly groundbreaking and influential recording.

TRACK LISTING

On Coming From A Broken Home (Pt. 1)
Me And The Devil
I'm New Here
Your Soul And Mine
Parents (Interlude)
I'll Take Care Of You
Being Blessed (Interlude)
Where Did The Night Go
I Was Guided (Interlude)
New York Is Killing Me
Certain Things (Interlude)
Running
The Crutch
I've Been Me (Interlude)
On Coming From A Broken Home (Pt. 2)
Handsome Johnny
King Henry IV
Piano Player (Intro)
Home Is Where The Hatred Is
Winter In America
Winter In America
Jazz (Interlude)
Is That Jazz
A Place To Go (Interlude)
My Cloud

Gil Scott-Heron

We're New Again - A Re-imagining By Makaya McCraven

To mark the tenth anniversary of the release of "I’m New Here", the thirteenth - and last - studio album from the legendary US musician, poet and author Gil Scott-Heron, XL Recordings release a unique reinterpretation of the album by acclaimed US jazz musician Makaya McCraven. Titled "We’re New Again", the album's release comes exactly a decade after the release of Scott-Heron’s original Richard Russell-produced recording. Following in the footsteps of Jamie xx’s highly acclaimed 2011 remix album "We’re New Here", this is McCraven’s first release of 2020, following the huge global acclaim heaped upon his 2018 album "Universal Beings". One of the most vital new voices in modern jazz, McCraven is described by the New York Times as a "Chicago-based drummer, producer and beat maker, [who] has quietly become one of the best arguments for jazz’s vitality".

TRACK LISTING

Special Tribute (Broken Home Pt. 1)
I'm New Here
Running
Blessed Parents
New York Is Killing Me
The Patch (Broken Home Pt. 2)
People Of The Light
Being Blessed
Where Did The Night Go
Lily Scott (Broken Home Pt. 3)
I'll Take Care Of You
I've Been Me
This Can't Be Real
Piano Player
The Crutch
Guided (Broken Home Pt. 4)
Certain Bad Things
Me And The Devil

Gil Scott-Heron

Nothing New

"In 2005, having decided to approach Gil Scott-Heron to suggest that we made a record, I stopped listening to any of his previous output. This was to avoid feeling intimidated by the weight of Gil's musical history, and by the sheer quality of the 14 studio albums he'd released since 1970.

Part of my initial suggestion to Gil was that we recorded sparse, stripped down versions of his old songs. We both thought that might make an intriguing album. So we started off recording versions of some of Gil's repertoire, just voice and piano. But our album gradually evolved into something different - "I'm New Here", which as the title suggested, didn't touch on any of Gil's previous recordings (except for "Your Soul And Mine", which is a re-imagining of "The Vulture" from Gil's 1970 debut LP "Small Talk at 125th and Lennox").

I didn't pay much attention to the acoustic versions of Gil's older repertoire that we had recorded, as I was so focused on our making an entirely new album. We didn't make the album we set out to; we made something different.

In November 2011, six months after Gil died, I sat down to listen to the whole of Gil's back catalogue, on vinyl, album by album, chronologically. It's an incredible body of work; 13 albums between 1970 and 1982, and then 2 ("Spirits" and "I'm New Here") until Gil passed in 2011. I did this as a sort of meditative exercise, for the joy of sitting and listening to Gil, now that I was no longer getting to hear his voice down the phone from Harlem.

I listened to these 15 albums over the course of a few weeks as a way to keep our communication going. They led me back to the acoustic piano versions of Gil's old songs that we had captured in New York and I found that they were in themselves remarkable; completely different to the originals, and full of magic in their simplicity. I realised we in fact had made the album we originally set out to, as well as "I'm New Here". We had recorded an album's worth of new, stripped down versions of some of Gil's best (but not necessarily best known) songs. We had recorded an album I thought should be called "Nothing New".

"Nothing New" is recordings Gil and I made in New York of songs he chose from his catalogue, just voice and piano, pure Gil. I realised that each song he had chosen was from a different album of his. He had carefully curated the selection, so the album serves as an excellent introduction to his previous output.

In our early letters, Gil had picked up on my use of the word "spartan" to describe how our record could be. The Oxford dictionary defines "spartan" as showing "indifference to comfort or luxury". Very Gil. "Nothing New" is truly spartan in that it is utterly sparse and devoid of anything that is not completely necessary. All it contains is Gil's singing and piano playing.

You also hear excerpts of our conversations between takes; these give a sense of Gil's profound and profane nature. I believe Gil would approve of calling an album of him covering his own material "Nothing New"; the wordplay is inspired by him. Gil once expressed that he felt our album "could do with a few more yuks" - so now you can check out some of Gil's asides, and particularly the final interlude "On Bobby Blue Bland" for a glimpse of the man's playful sense of humour.

Once I'd compiled and edited these songs, I made three acetates, and we screenprinted artwork at XL. I gave one of these three special copies to Gil's son Rumal Rackley, sent another to Gil's friend and keyboard player Kim Jordan in Washington DC, and the third went to Ms Mimi, who kept Gil's house in order. This could have been the end of the process, but Rumal felt we should share this work with people - so here it is.

I hope you enjoy this album. It completes the set of 3 albums generated from our sessions in New York between 2005 and 2009 - the first 2 records being the main work "I'm New Here" and Jamie xx's remix album "We're New Here".

This is "Nothing New"."

Richard Russell, XL Recordings, London, 2014

TRACK LISTING

01. Did You Hear What They Said
02. Better Days Ahead
03. Household Name (Interlude)
04. Your Daddy Loves You
05. Changing Yourself (Interlude)
06. Pieces Of A Man
07. Enjoying Yourself (Outro)
08. Alien (Hold On To Your Dreams)
09. Before I Hit The Bottom (Interlude)
10. 95 South (All Of The Places We’ve Been
11. The Other Side
12. The On/Off Switch (Interlude)
13. Blue Collar
14. On Bobby Blue Bland (Outro)

Gil Scott-Heron

I'm New Here

    THE PICCADILLY RECORDS ALBUM OF THE YEAR 2011

    'I’m New Here' sees proto-rap pioneer Gil Scott-Heron still looking forward, still challenging conventions and expectations, with his first album in 13 years. Without doubt one of the most important voices in 20th century music, Gil Scott-Heron’s unfailingly sharp and ironic eye spared neither Black Power phonies or scheming presidents. In 1971 he laid out the blueprint for the whole rap genre with his slinky anthem "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised" while, throughout a career spanning five decades, his deep, soulful voice spoke of nukes, Reaganomics or apartheid, always from deep inside the tradition. "I’m New Here" sees Gil Scott-Heron sounding as vital as ever; a record that reveals something unexpected at every turn; one that sees Scott-Heron pushing, probing and testing the boundaries just as he always has. Alongside his "I’m New Here" collaborator – producer and XL Recordings head Richard Russell – Scott-Heron has made an album that eschews the cosy arrangements and retrospective leanings one might expect from an artist over forty years into their career.

    STAFF COMMENTS

    says: A truly remarkable album, and an almost permanent fixture on my turntable this year. Gil's storytelling is second to none; from the melancholy of opening track, "On Coming From A Broken" home, to the raw blues-stomp of "Me And The Devil" to the dark brooding "Where Did The Night Go" he paints vivid pictures of his world. He even takes a Bill Callahan (Smog) song and makes it his own. (It's so good in fact that it gives the album its name!) Sad, witty, melancholic, uplifting and thought provoking - this is Gil on top form.

    TRACK LISTING

    1. On Coming From A Broken Home (Pt. 1)
    2. Me And The Devil
    3. I’m New Here
    4. Your Soul And Mine
    5. Parents (Interlude)
    6. I’ll Take Care Of You
    7. Being Blessed (Interlude)
    8. Where Did The Night Go
    9. I Was Guided (Interlude)
    10. New York Is Killing Me
    11. Certain Things (Interlude)
    12. Running
    13. The Crutch
    14. I’ve Been Me (Interlude)
    15. On Coming From A Broken Home (Pt. 2)

    Vinyl Bonus Disc:
    1. Piano Player (Intro)
    2. Home Is Where The Hatred Is *
    3. Winter In America *
    4. Jazz (Interlude)
    5. Is That Jazz *
    6. A Place To Go (Interlude)
    7. My Cloud **
    * Live Studio Version
    ** Previously Unreleased


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