304 of 1001 Albums: Gil-Scott Heron’s Winter In America

You probably won’t find a better album to take you into the urban culture in the 1970s, and show you what it was like to be African-American during this decade than the one put together by Gil-Scott Heron and Brian Jackson.  The sounds of 50s Jazz meet a lot of 70s funk, and it creates an unique blend of culture and soul. It seemed like a long since this music had been heard on the list.

While Jackson takes over the instruments, Heron leads with his recording artist skills. If you’re not a fan of the style of music then at least zone in on the lyrics as Heron is also a talented poet, and has a way with words. Particularly this is strongest in “H2OGate Blue”. It’s interesting to hear about the political times then, and someone’s perspective about it in comparison to what people are saying now about the government. Oddly, a lot of things seemed to still be the same.

“The Bottle” is probably one of the funner songs instrumentally. Rarely, do any of the songs make you want to get up and move, but this one really does it. The sound doesn’t stray from the rest of the album, but it mixes it up nicely. For the most part Winter In America is best for relaxing. The music will calm your nerves, and it’s probably best listened to after a very hectic day.  Focus in on the lyrics as you relax to. When you just listen in on it it helps even more since Heron has a talent for rhythm in words.

Even if this isn’t your usual type of music there is something about it that is likable. Whether it is the amount of culture within in the lyrics, or how the music relaxes you there is something to enjoy about it. This album also left it’s influence on many hip-hop artist to follow after it because of the insight to that realm of the world. If nothing else the album is a learning experience, and it’s a rarity heard so far in the list of albums from that the decade of the 70s.

Rating 3 of 5.

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