Attack of the Necrophonic Hipstas
I had some ideas about this blog - mostly around the danger and trouble our rat raiders get into to bring us that haul of black sonic gold. You'll have seen Philippe looking like the hero in a post apocalyptic 70s sci fi flick, masked up to reduce the contamination from the terrible places they brought the records from. I wanted to go into detail. However, this was too traumatic and would reveal trade secrets that would send a million and one eBay chancers out there to rip us all off like methed muggers. But the smell of Death was in the air, so he pointed an accusing finger in a fragrant Eastern direction and suggested that I investigate gross instances of grave bonking.There is a terrible trend to go one step further than Rick Rubin in disinterring artists and shaking down their legacies for coin. Slinging out half listenable records as heartless and out of context as an android attacking a petting zoo with a lawnmower. Living dead musos are found in some hospital bin or jailhouse slop bucket, then covered with glitter and forced into a remix mincer with whatever flavour of the month is farting by.The music business is a bitch goddess, just as likely to chew you up and shit you out into boiling oil as give you the easy ride of Robbie Williams or even Wings. Add to that personal weakness and an often natural drift to irrelevance and self-exploitation and there is a full graveyard of ready made brands for the hip to raid to get cred. It happened to Bobby Womack and many others. You never know who is next, but the worst victim is already dead again.Gil Scott-Heron is one of those very few artists with a special place in my own Inner Sleeve of a Heart.He was a true innovator, trying to marry popular forms with radical ideas, not just politically but sonically. As a foolish youth, I bought a copy of "Glory", a very well made Double CD best of from Arista in a provincial godawful HMV. I'd heard tales of The Revolution Will Not Be Televised in parody so wanted the Real Thing.What I did not expect was the self immolating beauty bomb of The Bottle. The greatest diss song of all time, "A Legend in his own Mind". The exhausted shrug of the defeated revolutionary realising the reality of the people that is "Winter in America." The infinite apology to the disappointed lover expressed as "Ain't no such thing as a Superman". Marvin Gaye covered in dynamite quietly screaming a new "Inner City Blues". Something far deeper, far better than a brand. Something I never expected with just a quick sense of the surface of his career.A career with its fair share of self destruction and foolish mischance, but helped along by the money machine, it got worse.Would you believe - Gil Scott-Heron was the first artist signed by Arista Records, the New Label from evil genius Clive Davis after he was kicked out of a surprisingly ethical CBS/Columbia for being more dodgy than a poker addicted pole dancer with a glue habit. Clive wanted some Black Rad Cred so picked up Gil from Flying Dutchman obscurity to a brief period of international interest.Trouble was, pop audiences and dancefloors were getting up tempo and pretty tired of anything political. Especially if they were in Black neighbourhoods - as by now most "Conscious" political music was more popular with White suburban rich kidz and students than with a Black community that just wanted to get on in life. Combine that with the fact Gil's poetic lyrics, tortured baritone voice and interest in real musical quality (aided by Brian Jackson) became a very obsolete combination in a world of Whitney and Disco Duck. This man was making multi course Michelin Star meals in a McDonald's music market.Also, in his darker moments Gil had been talking about himself more than many wanted to feel. There was no substance, no indulgence, no low down bareback blowjack in a lift hooker encounter that Gil could resist. Listen closely to The Bottle and Angel Dust, and you'll see a shame punched mirror more than a story being told.Gil and Arista tried to update the formula with the declining times. "Black Wax" is a concert flick shot in the underrated environs of the US crapital, Washington DC in 1983. Gil is pretty clean and gives a groovy Greatest Hits performance with a tight band.But in the outdoor scenes, he waddles around with a comedy boom box strapped to his ear like a vile growth, trying to "rap" while shuffling through a "hood" that had no idea at all who this gentleman was or why he was there. Gil was lucky not to be mugged and raped in those manors. He went for the chemicals and away from the studio soon after.From time to time he'd get it together and re-emerge to play the hits to pay for a hit. TVT were able to get a minor cash in LP called "Spirits" in 1994 marketed as the "Godfather of Rap" (never mind the Jamaican DJ Toasting tradition, ahem) scolding and answering his progeny, who mostly had no concept he even existed. No more was recorded, and he carried on performing and touring when healthy enough to try. Brian Jackson was said to worry that the hired session guns around him might be a little more interested in their own welfare than Gil's.I saw him many times from the late 90s onwards, and it was like watching the Parthenon be ever so slowly eroded by acidic pig urine. Each time, a little weaker. A little bleaker. Until it was all just too sad to see. He was in and out of jail, despite The Man not asking much for parole. Gil even spread false rumours he had untreated HIV for extra sympathy.A fairer world would have left him alone. But no - appearing in the Visitor's Area of some junkie jail hell is XL. As in Recordingz. Extra Large and In Charge of Sad Fad Funklessness looking for something a bit more credible than just fucking awful Adele and Basement Wackxx. The Hoxton Fins circled in and Shanghaied the ghost of Gil into a new dimension of flat faddy sounds and XX remixes. What better way to slide into the broadsheet music bins, fully critic proof. Full of Cred and Soul. What cruel exploitica - like digging up Charlie Parker's skeleton and stuffing a IBIZA SUMMER ANTHEMS download token into every gap between the bones.A better world would have just left him in his Glory.And you'll be sure to glorify our efforts this Saturday!We've sourced a few tasty library records, from Rouge, DeWolfe, Snoton and the likes. The records are great, the sleeves unfortunately not so good. But the prices, as usually, reflect this.We've finally found time to price some reggae 7 inches and LPs. We have classic rock in abundance, some funky jazzy breaks compilations, some straight and fusion jazz, and we also got tons of hip hop and rap (not strictly the same, is it?). Names? Here's what we could get from our Frenchman buried in his basement : Dr Alimantaro, Lightin' Hopkins, Ijahman, The Sound, Jah Woosh&I roy, Ras Michael, Al Campbell, Bud Powell, Herbie Hancok, Pharoah Sanders, Mandrill, Eddie russ, Domn um Romao, David Axelrod, Edan, Pete Rock, People Under the stairs, Method man, Nico, The Stooges...Feel it there.