I first discovered Gil, as most people do, while serving time in a left-wing political party. Making regular appearances at parties and sound systems, Gil’s music was an ample part of my political soundtrack, right up there with Frank Turner, The Clash and Woody Guthrie.
It was only later, after being disillusioned with partisan notions of left and right, that I really appreciated Gil’s gift with words. He spoke of a “common sense party”, a politics of the people, for the people, and always chose the side of the underdog, be they an illegal immigrant from south of the border or the victim of apartheid in South Africa.
If years of shady politics haven’t killed your soul yet, listen to Sun City or Whitey on the Moon, turn up your headphones, get lost in his thick Illinois drawl, and learn to love people again.
Gil Scott-Heron. April 1st 1949 – May 27th 2011