16/07/2018: “The Bottle” by Gil Scott-Heron & Brian Jackson


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…

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