Album #316 – Winter In America

Album #316

Album #316

It’s been four months since my last post and review. Since I have a bit of extra time on my hands, I thought I would listen to some more albums on the list. I really enjoyed this album because of it’s lyrical content. Winter In America’s sound and soul reminded me of Marvin Gaye’s album What’s Going On…with an edge. Gil-Scott Heron, who died a few years ago, mostly sings on this album. I knew him more for his beat poetry which can be found on the track, H2O Blues. In that song, Heron describes the political and social tensions surrounding the Watergate scandal. He ends the track off brilliantly with the phrase “Four more years of this?”. I thought the whole album would be like H2O Blues. But…I was surprised. The musical accompaniment is very sparse with only piano, bass and drums being at the fore front. I can best describe the sound of this album as jazz meets funk with some blues overtones. Brian Jackson does not sing but plays piano, electric piano and flute. His instrumentation adds to the songs and creates the mood within them. 25 years after Winter In America was originally released, Heron re-issued it on CD on his own label. It had been called Gil-Scott Heron’s lost album for several years prior and became a cult classic, primarily because of the success of The Bottle as this album’s only single. The Bottle has also been sampled by Rap Artists and I can see why. It has an infectious groove and bass line that mixes socially conscious lyrics with funky rhythms. The one track I enjoyed the most was Peace Go With My Brother. It felt to me like a response to the song, What’s Going On. It had that feel throughout and it spoke to me more than any other track on this album. Overall, I really enjoyed this album and I look forward to adding Winter In America to my collection and also exploring more of Gil-Scott Heron’s work. Other highlights include: Rivers of My Fathers and Song for Bobby Smith. Overall, I give this album 4.5 out of 5.

Next: Sheer Heart Attack by Queen

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