Widely regarded as one of the great influences on the pioneers of hip-hop and rap, the wonderful Gil Scott-Heron is back amongst us, after serving jail time, with 'I'm New Here' an album of depth and majesty. Check-out the amazing video for the stand-out track 'Me and the Devil'. His poetic voice is outstanding - deep, dark and mysterious, conjuring up whole landscapes with one poetic turn of phrase. Its a triumphant return, backed up by live shows including two at London's Royal Festival Hall this coming April.
This powerful example of musical resurrection sent me scurrying through my shoe-boxes of CDs searching for an extraordinary album - 'New World Order' - by the late great Curtis Mayfield, which is one of my all-time favourites that I hadn't listened to for a while. It sounds a sweet and powerful as ever and its my pleasure to highly recommend it to you. In case you don't know the circumstances that lay behind this recording, here are some notes from his offficial website.
'August 13, 1990. The day Mayfield was doing something he’d done a thousand times, the soundcheck for an outdoor concert, onstage at Wingate Field, Flatbush, Brooklyn. But high winds toppled the stage lighting rig and Mayfield was underneath. He survived but paralysed from the neck down, his spine crushed in three places. Amazingly, Mayfield found his way back. Unable to play guitar (or any other instrument), he could still sing even through it meant overcoming some daunting obstacles...In the studio he was suspended by harness to give gravitational power to his voice, just to find breath to complete a musical phrase or two.'