Gil Scott-Heron's third album is split down the middle, the first side being a purely musical experience with a full band (including flutist Hubert Laws and drummer Pretty Purdie), the second functioning more as a live rap session with collaborator Brian Jackson on flute and a few friends on percussion. For side one, although he's overly tentative on the ballad The Middle of Your Day, Scott-Heron excels on the title track and the third song, "The Get Out of the Ghetto Blues," one of his best, best-known performances. The second side is more of an impromptu performance, with Scott-Heron often explaining his tracks by way of introduction (No Knock referred to a new police policy whereby knocking was no longer required before entering a house, And Then He Wrote Meditations being Scott-Heron's tribute to John Coltrane). His first exploration of pure music-making, Free Will functions as one of Scott-Heron's most visceral performance, displaying a maturing artist who still draws on the raw feeling of his youth.
The Middle of the Day
The Get Out of the Ghetto Blues
Did You Hear What They Said?
The King Alfred Plan
Ain't No New Thing
Billy Green is Dead
Sex Education: Ghetto Style
...and Then He Wrote Meditations