An album of previously unreleased Gil Scott-Heron songs, recorded during the 2008 sessions for his album I’m New Here, will come out as a limited-edition Record Store Day release on April 19th. Nothing New contains new versions of songs from past decades that find Scott-Heron accompanying himself on piano. Available only on vinyl, the album will be limited to 3,000 copies.
Richard Russell, the owner of XL Recordings who produced I’m New Here, wrote in the album’s liner notes that he suggested making these sparse recordings in 2005, but that the sessions soon became the songs that made it onto the 2010 album. Six months after Scott-Heron’s death in 2011, Russell revisited the musician’s 15-album oeuvre, which prompted him to reevaluate these recordings. “I realized we had made the album we originally set out to, as well as I’m New Here,” he wrote. “We had recorded an album’s worth of new, stripped-down versions of some of Gil’s best (but not necessarily best-known) songs.”
The album also contains snippets of Scott-Heron’s conversations with Russell. “These give a sense of Gil’s profound and profane nature,” the producer wrote. The album, by his estimation, completes a trio of records that also includes I’m New Here and Jamie xx’s remix album We’re New Here.
Scott-Heron was born in Chicago but moved to New York City as a teenager. He put out his first record, Small Talk on 125th and Lenox, in 1970, which contained an early recording of his most enduring poem, “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised.” He went on to release 14 albums before his death in 2010 of still undisclosed causes.