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Gil Scott-Heron’s posthumous album Nothing New to be released for Record Store Day

on April 01, 2014, 10:10am

While recording his 2010 comeback album I’m New Here, singer/poet Gil-Scott Heron also re-recorded new versions of some of his more well-known tracks. On Record Store Day (April 19th), a collection of those reworkings will be released as a brand new album entitled Nothing New. Spanning 14 tracks, it serves as Scott-Heron’s first posthumous release since his death in May 2011.

In an open letter, XL Recordings head Richard Russell, who worked closely with Scott-Heron in his latter years, said the pair originally set out to record “sparse, stripped down versions of his old songs; just voice and piano, pure Gil” before the project evolved into I’m New Here. When Scott-Heron passed away, Russell eventually revisited the material, discovering they were “full of magic in their simplicity.”

He added, “I realized that each song (Gil) had chosen was from a different album of his. He had carefully curated the selection, so the album serves as an excellent introduction to his previous output. Nothing New is truly spartan in that it is utterly sparse and devoid of anything that is not completely necessary.”

Among the tracks Scott-Heron reworked, “Alien (Hold On To Your Dreams)” is a collaboration with Brian Jackson dating back to 1980. While I’m New Here reflects feelings of uncertainty and disconnect, the refurbished “Alien” feels bright and warm, as Scott-Heron nearly perfectly recreates the original’s inherent playfulness and funky groove (even sans that killer bassline). Still, the stripped down version is a better fit for the song’s lyrical content, as the elder Scott-Heron imbues the inspirational motif with a sense of worldly experience and sagely wisdom.

Listen in below:

Nothing New will be available on 12-inch vinyl and limited to just 3,000 copies. Other reworked songs include “Better Days Ahead”, “95 South”, and “Pieces of a Man”, among others, alongside interludes that “lend a sense of Gil’s profound and profane nature.” N

Nothing New Tracklist:
01. Did you Hear What They Said
02. Better Days Ahead
03. Household Name (Interlude)
04. Your Daddy Loves You
05. Changing Yourself (Interlude)
06. Pieces of a Man
07. Enjoying Yourself (Outro)
08. Alien (Hold On To Your Dreams)
09. Before I Hit The Bottom (Interlude)
10. 95 South (All Of The Places We’ve Been
11. The Other Side
12. The On/Off Switch (Interlude)
13. Blue Collar
14. On Bobby Blue Bland (Outro)

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