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Gil Scott-Heron

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"17th Street"

"17th Street"


I've done a lot of travellin', seen a lot of pretty faces.
I've sung my way out blues songs in extraordinary places.
I come from 17th Street and that's on the other side of town,
an' if you see me wit' my brothers
don'cha dare go no further
you know we gonna get down, down, down.

Some people think I'm crazy, they say gil,
"it mus' be in yo' mind." They tell me
"there jus' ain' no sane reazon the way
yawl get down ev'ry time."
(I trytatellemthat):
"I come from 17th Street an'
that's where the brothers don' mess around"
and if you lookin' for the music
an' we find out you can use it
you know we gonna get down, down, down.
If you lookin' for excitement you may need
only look next door
because the brothers from 17th Street
they don't all live there anymore.
Some done moved to Harlem an'
Some moved way uptown, but if you
thinkin' bout the Spirit
an' you want to get near it
c'mon, c'mon an' get down, down, down.
 
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"1980"

"1980"


Thank you very much, thank you
Thank you, thanks, thanks everybody, yes thank you

Robot dignitaries better welcome you
Aliens part as you pass on through(?)
Nourishment and encouragement for the captain and his crew
Includes a ticker tape parade down the Main Avenue(?)

And you're captured by the dream machine
you wake up and you wonder what it means
It's 1980
And there ain't even no way back to '75 or 1969
It's 1980
And ain't nobody ask me no time lately "how we gonna open the door for 1984?"

God will continue to look out for the children
But the fools will have to look out for themselves

Space is the place but you stuck on the ground
If powers continue but without the sound
A universal dress rehearsal paints the town
But boogie-woogie somewhere in the lost and found

I don't mean to say that you're behind the times
But only that the times got away from you
And it's 1980
And there ain't even no way back to '75, much less 1969
It's 1980
And ain't nobody ask me no time lately "Brother help me open the door for 1984"

God will continue to look out for the children
But the fools will have to look out, look out, look out

The robot mayor is there to shake your hand
But he ain't never seen himself no earth man
Heard a funny word he just don't understand
But he hope that it don't mean you need a piece of land

Does it seem like such a long long way to come
To end up right back where you coming from?
It's 1980
And there ain't even no way back to '75, or much less 1969
It's 1980
And ain't nobody ask me no time lately "how we gonna open the door for 1984?"

God will continue to look out for the children
But the fools are gonna have to learn to fend for themselves

God will continue to watch over the babies
But the fools who never learn, never learn

God will continue to watch over the babies
But the fools are gonna have to watch out, watch out, watch out
Watch out
Watch out
 
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"95 South (All Of The Places We've Been)"

"95 South (All Of The Places We've Been)"


In my lifetime I've been in towns
where there was no freedom or future around.
I've been in places where you could not eat
or take a drink of water where ever you pleased.
And now that I meet you in the middle of a mountain
Well, I'm reaching out from within.

And all I can think of are chapters and scenes of
all of the places we've been.

I'm not such an old man so don't get me wrong.
I'm the latest survivor of the constantly strong.
I've been to Mississippi and down city streets,
I've seen days of plenty and nights with nothing to eat.
But I'm not too happy 'bout the middle of a mountain so
soon I'll be climbing again.

'Cause all I can think of are chapters and scenes of
all of the places we've been.

I was raised up in a small town in the country down south
so I've been close enough to know what oppression's about.
Placed on this mountain with a rare chance to see
dreams once envisioned by folks much braver than me.
And since their lives got me to the middle of a mountain
Well, I can't stop and give up on them.

'Cause their lights that shine on inspire me to climb on
from all of the places we've been.

From all of the places we've been,
From all of the places we've been alot of places, yeah
From all of the places we've been,
Been down, been down, been down, alot of roads and places
All of the places...
 
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"A Legend In His Own Mind"

"A Legend In His Own Mind"


Well he loved plenty women from Canada to Mexico
They would to love to see him coming and hated when he had to go
A macho man before macho ever came to town
The only problem was not enough of him to go around

You know he had had more romances than L.A.'s got stars
He had had more romances than Detroit's got cars
He's a, a legend in his own mind and God's gift to women
On a day God wasn't giving up a thing

Well you hate to see him coming when you're grooving at your favorite bar
He's the death of the party and a self-proclaimed superstar
Got permanent Jones to assure you he's been everywhere
A show stopping name dropping answer to the ladies' prayers

To hear him telling he had more romances than doctors got bills
He had had more romances than Beverly got Hills
He's a, a legend in his own mind and God's gift to women
On a day God wasn't giving up a thing

You don't have to listen when he's rattling on, yeah
You don't have to listen, he's telling everybody else
You don't have to believe him, I don't think I'll ever believe him
Matter of fact he may well not believe himself

Well he loved plenty women from Canada to Mexico
And they loved to see him coming and hated when he had to go
A macho man before macho ever came to town
The only problem was not enough of him to go around

You know he had had more romances than airplanes got gauges
He had had more romances than phone books got pages
He's a, a legend in his own mind and God's gift to women
On a day God wasn't giving up a thing

He's a, a legend in his own mind and God's gift to women
On a day God wasn't giving up, wasn't giving up, wasn't giving up
He's a, a legend in his own mind and God's gift to women
On a day God wasn't giving up a thing
 
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"A Prayer For Everybody / To Be Free"

"A Prayer For Everybody / To Be Free"


This is a prayer for everybody
In the world
'Cause I need you and you need me
We need each other

This is a prayer for everybody
In the world
A prayer for you
A prayer for me
A prayer for love and harmony
A prayer for light for all to see
A prayer that someday we'll all be free

'Cause...
There's a lot that's wrong
We must be strong
And not become bitter
If there's a chance
That mankind will profit
Why should we scoff at something new
Or old - if it can make us better?

This is a prayer for everybody
In the world
'Cause without you
And without me
Without love and harmony
Without courage and dignity
What would it mean
To be free?

[Instrumental: To Be Free]
 
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"A Sign Of The Ages"

"A Sign Of The Ages"


It's a sign of the ages
Markings on my mind
A Man at the crossroads
At odds with an angry sky

There can be no salvation
There can be no rest
Until all old customs
Are put to the test

The gods are all angry
You hear from the breeze
As night slams like a hammer
Yeah, and you drop to your knees

The questions can't be answered
You're always haunted by the past
The world's full of children
Who grew up too fast

Yeah, but where can you run
Since there ain't no world of your own
And you know that no one will ever miss you, yeah yeah yeah
When you're finally gone

So you cry like a baby, a baby
Or you go out and get high
But there ain't no peace on Earth, man
Maybe peace when you die, yeah
 
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"Ain't No Such Thing As Superman"

"Ain't No Such Thing As Superman"


You have understood
The riddles of the ages

Yes and you have understood
The universal nine

You have placed your footprints on
The everlasting sands of time

Yes so tell me why
Can't you understand that there ain't no such thing as a superman?
There ain't no such thing as a superman

You was on the Nile
You went to see great Egypt fall
It fell down to the ground

Yes, and you was out there on the corner
When being cool went blind
Oh, you alone understand that if we gonna win
We've got to get together, stay together, be together, stick together

So tell me why, can't you understand
That there ain't no such thing as a superman
There ain't no such thing as a superman

You alone consider mercy after it seems like all you get is pain
It seem to me that you have found the courage that others could not find
You alone have the wisdom to take this world and make it what it need to be, want to be, will be, someday you'll see
The day, the day you understand
That there ain't no such thing as a superman
There ain't no such thing as a superman
 
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"Alien (Hold On To Your Dream)"

"Alien (Hold On To Your Dream)"


Midnight near the border trying to cross the Rio Grande
Runnin' with coyotes to where the streets are paved with gold
You're diving underwater when you hear the helicopters
Knowing it's all been less than worthless if you run into patrols
Hiding in the shadows, so scared you want to scream
But you dare not make a sound if you want to hold on to your dreams

Hold on. Though it may not be a lot, you got to
Hold on. Cause you know it's all you got
No matter the consequences or the fear that grips your senses
You have got to hold on to your dreams.

City of the Angels with its bright light fascination
Only adds to the confusion that your mind must now endure
The gringos take advantage when they know that you're illegal
Bot you void la policía like a plague that can't be cured
Paying la mordida you find out just what pollo means
But you dare not file complaints if you want to hold on to your dreams

Hold on. Though it may not be a lot, you got to
Hold on. Cause you know it's all you got
No matter the consequences or the fear that grips your senses
You have got to hold on to your dreams.

Down at Western Union sending cash back to your family
Or drinking down cerveza where the lights are very low
Your mind may start to wander when you think about your village
Or the woman that you love so much who's still in Mexico
At just two bucks an hour there is little to redeem this life
Except that in your mind you're tryin' to hold on to your dreams

Hold on. Though it may not be a lot, you got to
Hold on. Cause you know it's all you got
No matter the consequences or the fear that grips your senses
You have got to hold on to your dreams.
 
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"Alluswe"

"Alluswe"


Like the weight he's got to ride on
On the scene he must came in
Like the answers to every question
That's what he needs - They'd understand
Black man come down
And sit beside us
You can share all that we have

And like the stage he's got t play on
Like the road he's pinning down
Life attacts him just like a magnet
Or was that the other way around
Black man come down
Come on down and sit beside us
You are welcomed to all we own

Upside the walls and in the corners
Of the rooms where we live
Love is stronger with every heartbeat
And this love we gladly give
Just come on down
And sit beside us
Can your mind believe your heart
Black man come down
Yea, come on down, down
 
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