“Winter in America” is the title track from the 1974 Gil Scott-Heron/Brian Jackson album. Brian Jackson was a frequent collaborator with Scott-Heron; their association was washed up by 1980, but they put out some classic albums together, with Jackson expanding musically upon what was essentially Scott-Heron’s spoken word. Gil Scott-Heron is in my opinion the best poet laureate the United States never had.
Gil Scott-Heron has received serious accolades for his latest album, I’m New Here, and it is well-deserved. He’s never compromised being just who he is. The fact that he’s a crack addict is nothing he hides, as the writer for this New Yorker article found it (subscription required). And the fact that he is a crack addict, after years of warning America that America is going down the tubes, somehow reinforces for me the truth and power of his words.
I find myself getting stuck on certain songs from his back-catalogue, and find that this is an appropriate tune for the time. It is winter in America, over 35 years later.
Below is the official video for my favorite track off of I’m New Here. I guess I have a penchant for title tracks.