Gil Scott-Heron often uses his music to make strong statements on society. “The Bottle” shines a light on the damage that alcoholism wreaks on individuals, the people around them, and society.
The song has a upbeat, funky feel that is very much at odds with the dark social commentary contained in the lyrics. As Gil Scott-Heron later said, “pop music doesn’t have to be shit”. He created a party song with a poignant message.
The bassline, as is often the case in funk and soul songs, is the lynchpin of the song. It provides a strong yet flexible backbone for the lithe flute — played by Jackson — to spring and hop around.
The vocals are sung with lot of rhythmic variation; it almost approaches rapping at points!
The track was released in 1974, the only single from Winter In America.
Great groove, and a thought provoking subject…