- Released: March 29, 1994
- Label: TVT
Entertainment Weekly - 4/1/94, p.54
"...with his distinctively rich voice and politicized club-jazz style, [Scott-Heron] sounds as fresh and phat as the latest from GangStarr's Guru or A Tribe Called Quest...." - Rating: A-
Audio Magazine (6/94, p.94) - "...as an artist whose talents as a singer don't hold a candle to what he does with the spoken word--thankfully captured on SPIRTS--it's pretty obvious why he survived the '80s by doing poetry readings...."
- 1.Message to the Messengers
- 3.Give Her a Call
- 4.Lady's Song
- 5.Spirits Past
- 6.The Other Side, Pt. 1
- 7.The Other Side, Pt. 2
- 8.The Other Side, Pt. 3
- 9.Work for Peace
- 10.Don't Give Up
Personnel: Gil Scott-Heron (piano, vocals); Ron Holloway, Leon Williams (saxophones); Ibrahim Shakur (flute); Malcolm Cecil (piano, bass); Kim Jordan, Vernard Dickson, Brian Jackson (piano); Ed Brady (guitar); Rob Gordon, Fima Ephron (bass); Rodney Youngs (drums); Tony Duncanson, Larry McDonald (percussion).
Producers: Malcolm Cecil, Gil Scott-Heron, Ali Shaheed Muhammed.
Recorded at Tonto's and Skyline Studios, Topango, California; Moonwalker Studios, Aarberg, Switzerland; Sorcerer Sound, New York. Includes liner notes by Gil Scott-Heron.
Personnel: Gil Scott-Heron (vocals, piano); Ed Brady (guitar); Ibrahim Shakur (flute); Leon Williams, Ron Holloway (saxophone); Vernard Dickson, Kim Jordan, Malcolm Cecil, Brian Jackson (piano); Rodney Youngs (drums); Tony Duncanson, Larry McDonald (percussion).
Audio Mixer: Malcolm Cecil.
Liner Note Author: Gil Scott-Heron.
Illustrator: "Sir Shadow".
Photographer: Andrew Baker.
With Spirits, Gil Scott-Heron made a triumphant return to the studio after a 12-year absence. Though the politically charged R&B singer's voice had deteriorated, much of his soulfulness comes through. His songwriting is consistently excellent, and songs ranging from "Message to the Messengers" (which advises young rap artists to use their power wisely) to "Work for Peace" leave no doubt that his sociopolitical observations are as sharp as ever. One of the most riveting cuts is "The Other Side," an extended remake of his early-'70s classic "Home Is Where the Hatred Is" (which describes a drug addict's struggle). The East Coaster had been battling addiction himself during his absence from recording, and this heartfelt song isn't for the squeamish. Scott-Heron had successfully dabbled in jazz over the years, and in fact, among the CD's many strong points are the lyrics he adds to John Coltrane's "Spirits." One cannot help but wish Scott-Heron still had a great voice to go with this material, but even so, Spirits is powerful listening. ~ Alex Henderson