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Although a major across-the-board hit always eluded the poet, singer, and activist Gil Scott-Heron, this album does contains one of his best-known songs. "B-Movie," an extended attack on Ronald "Ray-gun," unleashes 12 minutes of vitriol about the then recently elected president. Beginning with the declaration "Mandate, my ass," it's a laundry list of fears about Reagan, fantasizing that his election meant "we're all actors" in some surreal film. Delivered over a taut funk groove, parts of it are still funny. Elsewhere, Scott-Heron takes an early stab at endorsing firearm control on "Gun"; slows things down for "Morning Thoughts"; and explores reggae's rhythms and revolutionary power on "Storm Music," a direction he'd pursue more fully on his next album, Moving Target. The disc also includes a pair of covers that offer varying degrees of success: Bill Withers' "Grandma's Hands" is a natural for Scott-Heron's warm baritone and a bright soul-jazz arrangement from the Midnight Band, but the version of Marvin Gaye's "Inner City Blues," while it swings convincingly, has a lengthy spoken-word riff that fails to embellish on the pain implicit in the original. Overall, Reflections doesn't capture Scott-Heron at the peak of his game, though anyone who enjoyed the other works from his Arista period certainly won't be disappointed.
Performance CreditsGil Scott-Heron Primary Artist,Guitar,Piano,Electric Piano,Vocals
Ed Brady Guitar
Carl Cornwell Tenor Saxophone
Clydene Jackson Background Vocals
Glen Turner Organ,Synthesizer,Harmonica,Electric Piano,Clavinet
Maxine Willard Waters Background Vocals
Leon Williams Tenor Saxophone
Julia Waters Background Vocals
Robbie Gordon Bass
Kenny Powell Drums
Kenny Sheffield Trumpet,Flugelhorn
Vernon James Flute,Alto Saxophone,Soprano Saxophone
Lydene Jackson Background Vocals
Technical CreditsMarvin Gaye Composer
Malcolm Cecil Producer
Gil Scott-Heron Composer,Producer
Glen Turner Composer
Donn Davenport Art Direction
James Nyx Composer
Manu Boubli Reissue Liner Notes
Victoria Rummler translation
Henri Laurence Reissue Producer