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Gil Scott-Heron

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"Three Miles Down"

"Three Miles Down"


Here come the mine cars; it'sdamn near dawn.
Another shift of men, some of my friends, comin' on.
Hard to imagine workin' in the mines;
Coal dust in your lungs, on your skin and on your mind.
I've listened to the speeches,
but it occours to me politicians just don't understand;
the thoughts of isolation, ain't no sunshine underground.
It's like workin' in a graveyard three miles down.

Damn near a legend as old as the mines:
things that happen in the pits just don't change with the times.
Work 'till you're exhausted in too little spacwe.
a history of desastrous fears etched on your face.
Somebody signs a paper, ev'ry body thinks it's fine,
but Taft and Hartley ain't done one day in the mines.
You start to stiffen! You heard a crackin' sound!
It's like workin' in a graveyard three miles down.
 
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"Tuskeegee #626"

"Tuskeegee #626"


Tuskeegee #626
Somebody done got slick
When deadly germs are taking turns
Seeing what makes us tick

Tuskeegee #626
Scientists getting their kicks
When deadly disease can do what it please
Results ain't hard to predict

Tuskeegee #626
Pushed aside mighty quick
When brothers, you dig
Are guinea pigs
For vicious experiments
 
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"Under The Hammer"

"Under The Hammer"


Good advice is sure enough hard to come by
Bad advice surrounds you constantly
Good advice you just can’t put no price on
Bad advice is easy cus it’s free

But Through it all somehow we’re different
We think theres nothing to it so we plunge faithfully through it
No matter how hard it rains if we don’t profit from the change
We’re under the hammer totally

(talkin’ bout) Under the hammer from the day yous born
Under the hammer and out there on your own
Good advice don’t make it if theres no one there to take it
You’re just under the hammer totally

Now I meant to tell you something about the drinkin’
Yeah But you don’t want to hear a word I say
Naw and You don’t care what I’ve been thinking
Because you control things your own way

And since you’ve got things under control
There ain’t nothing to it ain’t no reason you should do it
No matter how hard it rains if we don’t profit from the change
You’re back under the hammer totally

Under the hammer from the day yous born
Under the hammer and out there on your own
Good advice don’t make it if theres no one there to take it
You’re just under the hammer totally

Good advice is sure enough hard to come by
When bad advice surrounds you constantly
Good advice you just can’t put no price on
And bad advice is easy cus its free

And through it all somehow we’re different
We think theres nothing to it so we plunge faithfully through it
And No matter how hard it rains if we don’t profit from the change
We’re under the hammer totally

You’re under the hammer from the day you was born
Under the hammer and out there on your own
Good advice don’t make it if there’s no one there to take it
You’re just under the hammer totally

Under the hammer from the day you was born
Ain’t no surprising you now you’re full grown
Under the hammer from the day yous born
Ain’t no surprising you now that you’re full grown
Good advice don’t make it if there’s no one there to take it
You’re just under the hammer totally

Location baby
Under the hammer [x5]
[Fade]
 
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"Vild (Deaf, Dumb And Blind)"

"Vild (Deaf, Dumb And Blind)"


I know if you been lookin' now you can see
yes and it's closer than your nose, reality.

I know if you been listenin' you done heard
how the people be cryin' out for a soothing word.
And you can give 'em the word, but now don't you despair,
ain't no rule that says they got to care.
They can always swear they're deaf dumb and blind.
It works one time.
But nothing works forever.

Offering one chance to boogie down.
Yes and the smack I got with me is the best in town.
You know everybody wanna get high every now and then.
Offering you a chance to dance and swing, come on, come on, yea.
I need you out here with me while I do my thing.
 
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"Waiting For The Axe To Fall"

"Waiting For The Axe To Fall"


Brother livin' in a cell,
Doin' time in a county jail,
Now you might think his life is hell,
But he told me, first room he ever had to himself
He's just, waitin' for the axe to fall,
Sometimes lord I think that's all,
When you're head is on a block
ain't no way for it to stop
You're just waitin' for the axe to fall.

Brother served in Viet Nam,
and found out no one gives a damn.
Agent Orange fell on his camp (but everybody went deaf)
Brother turned around on Uncle Sam.
Waiting for the axe to fall;
Sometimes, Lord I think that's all.
When your head is in the noose
and won't nobody turn you loose
you're waiting for the axe to fall.

Sister on the welfare line,
Examining the threads of her life,
She never thought she'd be cheatin' and lyin'
Just makin' sure her and her kids survive
It's gettin' tougher just, waitin' for the axe to fall
Sometimes lord I think that's all
When you're head is on the block
and ain't nobody trying to stop
You're just waitin' for the axe to fall

Last night grandma should got shook
'cause someone took her pocketbook
She ain't safe in the neighborhood
'cause too many youngin's up to no good
They're just, waitin' for the axe to fall
Sometimes lord I think that's all
When your head is in the noose
and won't nobody turn you loose
You're waitin' for the axe to fall
 
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"Washington, D.C."

"Washington, D.C."


Symbols of democracy, pinned up against the coast
Outhouse of bureaucracy, surrounded by a moat
Citizens of poverty are barely out of sight
Overlords escape in the evening with people of the night
Morning brings the tourists, peering eyes and rubber necks
To catch a glimpse of the cowboy making the world a nervous wreck
It’s a mass of irony for all the world to see
It’s the nation’s capital, it’s Washington D.C.

It’s the nation’s capital
It’s the nation’s capital
It’s the nation’s capital, it’s Washington D.C.
(mmmm-hmmm)

May not have the glitter or the glamour of L.A.
May not have the history or the intrigue of Pompeii
But when it comes to making music, and sure enough making news
People who just don’t make sense and people making do
Seems a ball of contradictions, pulling different ways
Between the folks who come and go, and one’s who’ve got to stay
It’s a mass of irony for all the world to see
It’s the nation’s capital, it’s Washington D.C.

It’s the nation’s capital
It’s the nation’s capital
It’s the nation’s capital, it’s Washington D.C.

Seems to me, it’s still in light time people knifed up on 14th street
Makes me feel it’s always the right time for them people showing up and coming clean
Did make the one seem kind of numb

It’s the nation’s capital
It’s the nation’s capital
It’s the nation’s capital, it’s Washington D.C.
(mmmm-hmmm)

Symbols of democracy, pinned up against the coast
Outhouse of bureaucracy, surrounded by a moat
Citizens of poverty are barely out of sight
Overlords escape in the evening with people of the night
Morning come and bring the tourists, craning rubber necks
Catch a glimpse of the cowboy making the world a nervous wreck
It’s a mass of irony for all the world to see
It’s the nation’s capital, it’s Washington D.C.

It’s the nation’s capital
It’s the nation’s capital
It’s the nation’s capital, it’s Washington D.C.
It’s the nation’s capital
Got you feeling capital
Punishment is capital in Washington D.C.
 
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"We Almost Lost Detroit"

"We Almost Lost Detroit"


It stands out on a highway
like a Creature from another time.
It inspires the babies' questions,
"What's that?"
For their mothers as they ride.
But no one stopped to think about the babies
or how they would survive,
and we almost lost Detroit
this time.
How would we ever get over
losing our minds?
Just thirty miles from Detroit
stands a giant power station.
It ticks each night as the city sleeps
seconds from anniahlation.
But no one stopped to think about the people
or how they would survive,
and we almost lost Detroit
this time.
How would we ever get over
over losing our minds?
The sherrif of Monroe county had,
sure enough disasters on his mind,
and what would karen Silkwood say
if she was still alive?

That when it comes to people's safety
money wins out every time.
and we almost lost Detroit
this time, this time.
How would we ever get over
over losing our minds?
You see, we almost lost Detroit
that time.
Almost lost Detroit
that time.
And how would we ever get over...
Cause odds are,
we gonna lose somewhere, one time.
Odds are
we gonna lose somewhere sometime.
And how would we ever get over
losing our minds?
And how would we ever get over
losing our minds?
Didn't they, didn't they decide?
Almost lost Detroit
that time.
Damn near totally destroyed,
one time.
Didn't all of the world know?
Say didn't you know?
Didn't all of the world know?
Say didn't you know?
We almost lost detroit...
 
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"We Beg Your Pardon (Pardon Our Analysis)"

"We Beg Your Pardon (Pardon Our Analysis)"


We'd like to do an idea for you that was related to the H2OGaTe, Watergate blues
In March of 1973, we wrote the Watergate blues, and some 17 months later, then-President Nixon resigned
But the story didn't end there, so we didn't stop there
We have prepared a sequel, and it's called, and it's called "We Beg Your Pardon America"
We beg your pardon because the pardon you gave this time, was not yours to give

They call it due process and some people are overdue
We beg your pardon America
Somebody said "brother-man gonna break a window, gonna steal a hubcap, gonna smoke a joint, brother man gonna go to jail"
The man who tried to steal America is not in jail
"Get caught with a nickel bag brother-man, get caught with a nickel bag", says the lady on your way to get your hair fixed
"You'll do Big Ben, and Big Ben is time"
But the man who tried to fix America will not do time

Said they're going to slap his wrists, gonna retire him with 850 thousand dollars
And America was "shocked"
America leads the world in shocks
Unfortunately, America does not lead the world in deciphering the cause of shock
850 thousand dollars they said and the people protested and so they saw it like "we'll give him 200 thousand dollars"
Everybody said "OK, that's better"

I'd like to retire with 200 thousand dollars some day
San Quentin not San Clemente
Do not pass go, go directly to jail, do not collect 200 thousand dollars

We beg your pardon America
We beg your pardon because somehow the pardon did not sit correctly
What were - what were the causes for this pardon?
Well now they had "flea bite us"
Rats bite us, no pardon in the ghetto
They had national security, but do you feel secure with the man who tried to steal America back on the streets again?
What are the results of this pardon though? Because remember, when there's causes, there's results and the results is always deeper still
We now have Oatmeal Man

Anytime you find someone in the middle,
Anytime you find someone who is tepid,
Anytime you find someone who is lukewarm,
Anytime you find someone who has been in Congress for 25 years and no one ever heard of him,
You've got Oatmeal Man
Oatmeal Man, straddling uncomfortably, yards and feet of barbed wire
It's hard to live in the middle all the time

Oatmeal Man, the man who said you could fit all of his black friends in the trunk of his car and still have room for the Republican elephant
Oatmeal Man
But there was no crime committed
Oatmeal Man says that "America, in 1975 your president will be a 1913 Ford"
Regressive
Circle up the wagons to defend yourself from nuclear attack
Oatmeal Man, reminiscent of 1964's AuH2O, Gold Water
Thank god he didn't win, but Oatmeal man didn't win
Did you vote for him? I didn't vote for him

But that's the first results, and the second would be the Dred Rockefeller
Doubtlessly being promoted for the job he did at Attica, 43 dead and millions of Americans once again in shock
Doubtlessly being promoted for the job he did on the streets of New York city where the pushers sell the drugs that the government allows in the country, and then they do time
They do life, and death or life, and death behind bars, while William Saxbe says he is going to dismiss the Lorton Furlough program
And brother Richard X of Buffalo New York faces 13 hundred and 65 years - did he say one thousand three hundred and sixty five years? - behind bars for participating in Attica
And Rockefeller faces being the Vice President of this country
And all is calm and quiet along the white sands at San Clemente

We beg your pardon America, we beg your pardon once again
Because we found out that seven out of every ten black men behind jail, and most of the men behind jail are black
Seven out of every ten black men never went to the ninth grade
Didn't have 50 dollars and hadn't had 100 for a month when they went to jail
So the poor and the ignorant go to jail while the rich go to San Clemente

We beg your pardon America because we understand now much more deeply than we understood before
But we don't want to take the pardon back, we want to issue some more
Pardon brother Frank Willis, the Watergate security guard, he was only doing his job
Pardon H. Rap Brown, it was only burglary
Pardon Robert Vesco, it was only embezzlement
Pardon Charles Manson, it was only mass murder
And pardon us while we get sick
Because they pardoned William Calley, 22 dead, and America in shock

And we understand all the more deeply, and we beg your pardon
As unemployment spirals toward 7 percent, and it seems like 70 percent in my neighborhood
As unemployment spirals and as we watch cattlemen on TV shoot cows in the head and kick 'em in the graves while millions are starving in the Sahel and Honduras and maybe even next door
We understand all the more deeply as Boston becomes Birmingham becomes Little Rock becomes Selma becomes Philadelphia, Mississippi, becomes yesterday all over again
We understand and we beg your pardon

We beg your pardon America because we have an understanding of karma
What goes around, comes around
And we beg your pardon for all of the lies and all of the people who've been ruined and who look forward to next year because they can't stand to look at this one
We beg your pardon America because the pardon you gave this time was not yours to give

Thank you very much. Thank you very much.
 
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"When You Are Who You Are"

"When You Are Who You Are"


You always go out of your way to impress me
Don't you know by now, ain't no need to impress me
I'm impressed every time you smile
When I feel like you mean to smile

You can be so very beautiful
When you are who you are

Every morning when you wake up you put on a new disguise
How long did you think it would take me to realize?
Girl, the things you wore ain't real
You never tell me just how you feel

Girl you can be so very beautiful
When you are who you are

People never seem to want to be themselves
So they end up running in circles confused
Yeah, confused
Just like everyone else

Every morning when you wake up you put on a new disguise
Just how long did you think it would take me to realize
That the things you wore ain't real
You never tell me just how you feel

When you could be so very beautiful
When you are who you are
Yeah, when you are who you are, yeah
Oh, when you are who you are, yeah
When you are who you are, yeah
When you are who you are
Get it, get it, get it, get it, get it, get it, get it

When you are who you are, yeah
Oh when you are who you are, yeah
Oh when you are who you are, yeah
Oh when you are who you are
 
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"Where Did The Night Go"

"Where Did The Night Go"


Long ago the clock washed midnight away
Bringing the dawn
Oh God, I must be dreaming
Time to get up again
And time to start up again
Pulling on my socks again
Should have been asleep
When I was sitting there drinking beer
And trying to start another letter to you
Don't know how many times I dreamed to write again last night
Should've been asleep when I turned the stack of records over and over
So I wouldn't be up by myself
Where did the night go?
Should go to sleep now
And say fuck a job and money
Because I spend it all on unlined paper and can't get past
"Dear baby, how are you?"
Brush my teeth and shave
Look outside, sky is dark
Think it may rain
Where did
Where did
Where did
 
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